Win a Case of Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Win a Case of Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Hilarious comedian, consummate talk show host, and now world class winemaker, Graham Norton’s latest hit is his own Sauvignon Blanc made in collaboration with Invivo Wines in the Marlborough region of New Zealand.

Graham has been making wine in collaboration with Invivo Wines of New Zealand since 2014. His 2015 Sauvignon Blanc sold out (all 400,000 bottles it). Now he’s back with his 2016 blend and it promises to be just as fresh and vibrant. If you like an easy drinking white wine, you’ll love Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc by Invivo 2016. I just recently had my first taste and found it to be a perfect sipper for a sunny day. Continue reading

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Feeling Fino | Outro

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As I wrote in my introduction to this series of posts, visiting Jerez felt like a dream. Being able to experience the city with hometown hero Tio Pepe made it one of the tastier dreams to come true for me as a writer since I started this blog.

I now rank Jerez among my most favourite destinations. Continue reading

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Woodford Reserve Lounge at Sager + Wilde Paradise Row

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The Woodford Reserve Lounge at Sager + Wilde (at Paradise Row restaurant/bar/terrace not the Hackney Road wine bar) offers a subdued earth tone retreat from the world with a lofty perch above the Bethnal Green bustle.

I dropped by recently for an elbow bend at the new lounge with Head Bartender Marcis Dzelzainis – recently nominated for the International Bartender of the Year award at the Tales Of The Cocktail Awards in New Orleans – and Woodford Reserve Brand Ambassador Tom Vernon. Marcis shared a few of his more notable Woodford cocktail recipes while Tom informed about what’s doing over in Versailles, Kentucky – home of the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Continue reading

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Recipe: San Daniele Wings with Grana Padano Sauce | #WingingIt

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Love ham and cheese? Love chicken wings? D’ever consider combining these two awesome foods into one dish? I did. It works.

More than works, this recipe rocks. I was floored by the flavour and plan to make this mega treat again when I’m hoping to impress some of my more gourmand friends. Continue reading

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The Admiral Codrington

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Chelsea mainstay, The Admiral Codrington, is a smart pub to keep in mind for a low-key rendezvous in an upscale atmosphere.

The pub has a rather resplendent dining area. But keen to soak up the sunshine on the especially sunny Sunday we visited, my friend and I dine outdoors on the deck (with pretty much everyone else at the pub that day). Continue reading

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Badolina Brings Big Flavour to Bishopsgate

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Juicy marinated meats full of moreish Mediterranean flavours and grilled over charcoal for a quick-serve, healthy and delicious takeaway? Badda bing! Badda boom! Badolina brings it to Bishopsgate.

Badolina is part of the triumvirate of eateries owned by Uri Dinay. His other two – Pilpel and Barraka – I have expressed much love for in the past (most recently about Barraka). Same story here with Badolina. And I’m not alone. Continue reading

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How to Use a Kitchen Blowtorch

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For a finishing touch and a final flourish, nothing makes an impact quite like the kitchen blowtorch. Using a handheld blowtorch takes a little bit of know-how to make sure you’re doing it safely and effectively, but once you’ve mastered it you will be able to add a professional edge to your cooking.

With the help of Nisbets catering supplies specialist, I’ve created a guide to how to use a kitchen blowtorch. Continue reading

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Get Stoked! Great Cocktails at Victory Mansion

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Stoke Newington bar, Victory Mansion, serves ambitious cocktails in a cozy setting.

Named after the protagonist’s home in Orwell’s 1984 (check out the CCTV spotlights on the bar’s exterior signage) and co-run by six mates (including two awarding-winning mixologists: Stuart Binks and Benji Purslow) who refurbed the venue by tapping into their own reserves of savings and elbow grease, Victory Mansion is a neighbourhood bar in Stoke Newington.

Phew! What a run on sentence! Continue reading

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Great Day Out + Great Wines Too | Hush Heath Estate & Winery

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Hardly an hour out of London by train (via Charing Cross to Staplehurst) is Hush Heath, a 400 acre estate in the heart of Kent with vineyards, orchards, grasslands and ancient oak forests. The estate also owns a few pubs. Two are within earshot of the Hush Heath vineyards, in the villages of Goudhurst and West Farleigh. Both offer overnight accommodation. The others are in London, near Liverpool Street Station and Smithfield Market.

I spent an early – and extra sunny – Friday touring the estate recently. Now sitting at home typing up my notes and going through my photos on a meh Monday morning, I wish I were still there. Continue reading

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Recipe: Walnut Chicken Tacos

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Old El Paso’s invitation for me to attend the media preview of its “mini cantina” pop-up at the South Bank a few days back was coupled with an offer to try the newly launched Mini Stand N Stuff tortillas for myself and come up with my own recipe of stuff to put in them.

I took the offer as a chance to create a sort of deconstructed and pared down (read: quick and easy) version of the classic Mexican dish: chiles en nogada (chillies with walnut sauce). Before I get into how to make my recipe though, it’s important to note that there are vast differences between the original dish and my mini taco version. Continue reading

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Difference Coffee Company

Difference Coffee CompanyPhoto by Martin Behrman / Behrman Photography

Coming soon to a Nespresso machine near you (if you happen to reside or frequent some of London’s tonier quarters anyway) is a selection of the highest quality, most award winning, and rarest coffees on the planet – all of single estate origin and offered in the form of limited edition, Nespresso-ready capsules.

Entrepreneur Amir Gehl is on a mission to create the “ultimate terroir-led coffee collection” not to mention what’s got to the be the world’s most expensive collection of coffee capsules, with his new venture Difference Coffee Company. Continue reading

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Buckling Up Abroad: Tips for Taking a European Road Trip (Going Places)

Fotografiecor.nl / ShutterstockFotografiecor.nl / Shutterstock

According to a recently published study, more and more Americans (and Canadians) are renting cars while abroad, especially in Europe. In the first five months of 2016 alone, the number was up over 7% from the previous year. And while that might not be definitive proof of a new travel trend — it got our interest piqued.

So sit back as we take you on a scenic drive to look at a few tips and itinerary ideas to help you arrive at your desired European driving destination safe, sound, and satisfied.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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Feeling Fino: Win a Bottle of Sherry, Retro Poster and More from Tio Pepe

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COMPETITION IS OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Hola! I hope you’ve been enjoying my series of posts about visiting Jerez de la Frontera in the sunny south of Spain to discover what makes Tio Pepe such a flavoursome and refreshing drink. Would you like to discover the taste for yourself? Keep reading?

Yes mis amigos, I brought back some souvenirs from Jerez to share. Continue reading

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Free Tacos | Old El Paso #MiniMexican Pop-Up at Gabriel’s Wharf

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To celebrate the launch of Mini Stand N Stuff Tortillas, Old El Paso is giving away free tacos at a two-day pop-up on the Thames near Gabriel’s Wharf.

Old El Paso’s “mini cantina” will run today and tomorrow. Free meals featuring Mini Stand N Stuff Tortillas served to guests during 20-minute seatings will be offered on a first-come-first basis. Entertainment will be provided by a mini mariachi band, and a “Mini Danny Trejo” will be on hand working as maître d’ alongside an equally diminutive staff (all volunteer children). Continue reading

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Voyage de Fromage: One Last Wedge

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Here’s one last wedge of Comté to consideration before I bid adieu to this series of posts about this distinctive cheese and the beautiful mountains where it’s produced.

I had a wonderful time visiting the Jura Mountains. Although I was only there for a couple of nights, I feel like I was able to get a good sense of the place. Continue reading

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Recipe: Karma Cola Wings | #WingingIt

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Have you ever used a soft drink as a readymade marinade to give your food an edge?

Cola can be an excellent and easy flavour booster for all sorts of dishes, especially meats. Coca-Cola cake is a famous dessert back where I grew up. Slow-cooked pork with cola is another popular dish. I remember my dad basted a ham with Dr Pepper once and the results were delicious.

This recipe uses cola as a marinade for chicken wings. Continue reading

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Good Stuff #59

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Good stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip, savour and more – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy.

Continue reading

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Feeling Fino: Bars and Restaurants in Jerez

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I ate, drank and propped up bars with such pleasure during my short stay in Jerez. For a town of hardly more than 200,000 residents and not an overwhelming lot of tourists passing through, there’s an awesome lineup of dynamic restaurants and bars. With memories of authentic Spanish food and drink, served with warmth and pride in evocative settings, my heart (and appetite) remains in Jerez.

There must have be something particular in its air (or was it in the sherry?) as I was raring to go with more second wind energy than I usually tend to muster when out and about anywhere else. Shutting down the bars and reveling into the wee hours of the morning – I was indeed feeling fino. Maybe I was simply so keyed up aware of being surrounded by so many great bars and restaurants within such a short distance? Continue reading

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Pure Chablis? Merci!

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An expertly curated drinking session featuring Chablis wines paired with a dynamic range of dishes created by a trio of locally celebrated supper club hosts and presented at the swank digs of Studio by Andaz proved a delightful and delicious way to experience a taste of this most expressive of white wines.

My invitation to this press-only affair came via wine writer – and sommelier for the occasion – Douglas Blyde. So I knew at the very least an RSVP would lead to the chance to sip a quality selection of wines. Continue reading

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How to Plan an Affordable Destination Wedding (Going Places)

How to Plan an Affordable Destination WeddingNicoElNino / Shutterstock

When it comes down to tying the knot, cost is always a major factor. Throw in the fantasy of having a destination wedding, and couples may have to face a bloated wedding budget. But does saying “I do” in a beautiful locale have to be out of reach?

Check out these tips on how to go about planning an affordable destination wedding.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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Feeling Fino: Montesierra Jamon Iberico

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Since the late 1800s, family-owned Montesierra has been sourcing free range, acorn munching Iberian pigs from the dehesas (wooded scrublands) of the Sierra Morena mountains and curing them without additives or preservatives (just salt and mountain air) in the village of Jabugo and the city of Jerez.

I paid a visit to Montesierra’s Jerez cellars during my Feeling Fino trip for a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the drying and curing rooms, followed by a tasting and an extremely tempting browse in the shop at the end. Continue reading

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The Ultimate List of All the Best Filet Mignon Spots in America (Going Places)

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August 13th is National Filet Mignon Day, a day to indulge and to savor the most tender cut of beef.

Here’s a rundown of a few of America’s best steakhouses known for their filet mignon.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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Voyage de Fromage: Win a Comté Hamper Worth £50

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COMPETITION IS OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Indubitablement, I had a delectable time on my Voyage de Fromage in the Jura Mountains of Eastern France. But in case you can’t getaway to enjoy your own cheesy Jura jaunt, here’s an opportunity to experience the great taste of Comté without even leaving your home.

That’s right! I’ve teamed up with Comté Cheese UK to run a fun and friendly competition offering the prize of a free hamper worth £50 filled with an assortment of treats and a variety of aged Comté cheeses. Continue reading

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Feeling Fino in the Viñedos and the Bodegas of Jerez

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Key to understanding what makes a great wine so distinctive is discovering where it’s grown, produced and aged. In the case of Tio Pepe – that means discovering the wonders of Jerez, from the vineyards on its outskirts to its cellars in the heart of town.

My first full day of ‘feeling fino’ commenced with a drive to Viña la Canariera, a vineyard just beyond the city limits of Jerez. Situated upon slightly lilting upland bordered by vast fields of sunflowers with a commanding view of Jerez on the horizon, the vineyard was an evocative setting for my premiere lesson in all things Tio Pepe. Continue reading

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Jim Beam “Tastes of Kentucky” Menu at Joe’s Southern Table & Bar

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Jim Beam and Covent Garden restaurant, Joe’s Southern Table & Bar, have teamed up to create a Tastes of Kentucky menu pairing Jim Bourbon cocktails with classic American comfort food favourites.

I dropped by Joe’s over the weekend for my own taste of this Tastes of menu. Continue reading

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Eat Ethical Chicken at H.en, Upper Street

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Now that H.en has opened in Islington, the next time you’re schlepping down Upper Street hankering for some chicken, you won’t need to fly the coop.

Brighton based ethical source chicken shop, H.en (which I guess you pronounce as “hen” – but no actually said the name to me or explained why there’s a full stop after the H), has launched an outlet on Upper Street in collaboration with Masterchef finalists Billy Wright and Jack Layer. Continue reading

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Voyage de Fromage: Jura Food and Drink

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Every meal of my Voyage de Fromage was an extremely enjoyable experience of saveur locale presented with regional pride and kind hospitality. I can highly recommend the Jura as a delicious destination for even the most finicky of gourmet travellers.

Here’s a look at the best bites of my trip. Continue reading

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Cane to Cocktail: Cheers

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Does having firsthand knowledge of what goes into a product and what’s behind its story enhance how we enjoy it? I certainly savour more fully every sip of one of my favourite rums with an increased understanding its origins and the fond memories made touring Jamaica with Appleton Estate and seeing how and where this top shelf spirit is produced.

Yep, my Cane to Cocktail trip to Jamaica was as insightful as it was fun. I hope, through my coverage, I was able to convey at least a taste of what it was like to be there and why Appleton Estate Jamaican rum is a quality choice. Continue reading

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Gourmet Goat Re-Veals New Menu Item

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Borough Market traders, Gourmet Goat, just got a more gourmet and less goaty with the introduction of a new meat on the menu: rose veal.

High-welfare British rose veal is now on offer at Gourmet Goat, winners of “Best Street Food Trader or Takeaway” at the recent 2016 BBC Food & Farming Awards. As is the case with Gourmet Goat specialty, kid goat meat, the veal is sourced from ethical dairy farms to reduce food waste and curb at-birth culling of thousands of dairy bull calves that can’t be reared for milk production. Continue reading

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Voyage de Fromage: Discovering the Comté Difference

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Chief aim of my Voyage de Fromage (aside from eating lots of yummy cheese while checking out a part of France I’d not been to previously … oh and drinking gorgeous local wines) was discovering what sets Comté apart from the many other wonderful cheeses of France.

Comté has been produced in the Jura Mountains of Eastern France for more than 1,000 years. In and of itself, old-timey cheesemaking isn’t all that unique anywhere in Europe. But what’s particularly special (and so very French as well) about Comté is that all these hundreds of years it’s been made by cooperatives. If it’s not from a member dairy farmer member of the collective, it ain’t Comté. Continue reading

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BBQ Hacks Video Series

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Here we are at the height of summer. So far so good, right? As much as we might love to complain about the weather here in Britain, we must admit there have be some pretty decent stretches of absolutely wonderful sunshiny summer days. BBQ season is in full swing. Have you fired up your grill yet?

Are you planning to host a back garden BBQ and feeling a bit of trepidation about it going awry? Or have you already done some outdoor grilling this year and found your results to fall on a spectrum of disappointment somewhere between meh and massive disaster? Continue reading

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Feeling Fino in Jerez with Tio Pepe

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Warm summer nights with a cool breeze coming in from the Atlantic, rapturous flamenco performed live and rumbling from the stage of an age-old bar with a reverberant and heartfelt wallop, irresistible tapas after irresistible tapas devoured al fresco with ample sherry to wash it all down – Jerez de la Frontera is a dream.

To be sure, I revelled in my visit to this far south Spanish city. Hosted by the good folks from sherry brand, Tio Pepe, I was there in mid June for a tour of the town and the countryside. Before and after that trip though, I was amazed by how often I had to explain to others why getting to go there was such a pleasure for me. Continue reading

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Win Italian Ham and Cheese | Prosciutto di San Daniele + Grana Padano

Win Italian Ham and Cheese | Prosciutto di San Daniele + Grana Padano

It’s a match made in heaven, or at least one of the more delectable corners of Northern Italy: a thin slice of Prosciutto di San Daniele and a thick chunk of Grana Padano. Keep reading for your chance to win a generous taste of this delicious ham and cheese combo delivered directly to your door for free.

Prosciutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano Cheese have been recognised by the
European Union as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products since 1996. So, they’re the real deal when it comes to tradition, origin, and flavour – and hold their own against all the great Italian hams and cheeses. Continue reading

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Escape the Election! 10 Destinations to Help Avoid the Onslaught of Political News (Miles Away)

2j architecture / Shutterstock2j architecture / Shutterstock

There are fewer than 100 days to go until America votes for a new president. And while Trump vs. Clinton is THE hot topic, not only in the US but also around the world, you likely need a break from the rancor and a timeout from the attack of never-ending news (and non-news) coverage, right?

… preempting conversations about the election or avoiding them all together is going to be easier to do in some places than in others. With that in mind, here are 10 suggestions for trips near and far to get you off the campaign trail.

Read my complete post at Miles Away.

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Cane to Cocktail: Master Blender Joy Spence

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The highlight of my Cane to Cocktail tour of Jamaica was the opportunity to experience a slice of island living with Appleton Estate Master Blender, Joy Spence, and to savour the rums she created with her there to discuss the science and the craft that goes into making them.

So, my visit to distillery (as mentioned in the preceding post of this series) wasn’t all that special. I don’t get me wrong; I loved it. I’m just saying it’s something that’s open to the public and one of the top attractions in Jamaica. What made my time distillery so extraordinary was having Master Blender Joy Spence as guide. Continue reading

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