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Tonight we did a Glasshouse Wine Tasting dinner. We’d seen them advertised last year on Azura but had never quite got round to doing one – for some reason the fact that we were on Club dining seemed to be a dis-incentive. This time we’re doing Freedom dining and therefore eating where and when we feel like, and we grabbed the chance to do this meal.

There were a total of 20 places available of which 12 were taken, so it wasn’t oversubscribed or too busy. In fact, as regards the talks about the wine that we were given, table by table, I can’t help feeling that 20 people would have been too many – that would have been five tables, whereas we were three tables last night. We were paired with two Scottish ladies (although they have lived in England for many years), sisters, who occasionally take cruises together.

The dinner consisted of five courses. Other than a choice between the standard option or a vegetarian option there was no choices for the courses. Given that the whole point of the meal was to pair food with a specific wine, that neccesarily means that the food choice has to be restricted. We had the non-vegetarian selection, and the courses were as follows:

  • starter – Tartare of cured Scandinavian salmon, with a poached quail egg and seeded sourdough rye bread. The salmon was made up into a cake, and there was some lemon and dill(?) garnish on the plate. The wine with this was a Canadian methode champenoise sparkling wine – ‘Ice Cuvee, Peller Estates, VQA Niagara Peninsula’. This was not too dry with some good fruit tastes, and a reasonable body as well.
  • main course: Rosette of herb-crusted grain-fed beef fillet with Perigourdine sauce, woodland mushrooms and parsnip rosti. With this we drank  a Portuguese red wine, ‘Douro Red, Quinta do Crasto’. One of our table companions was a Port drinker and she said she could detect the same taste tones in this red wine as she finds in Port.
  • cheese: a selection of regional French, Italian and British cheeses, with wafers and grapes. The cheeses included a Brie; another softish cheese; a cheddar; and a blue cheese. With these we had two wines! – a white wine with the soft cheeses, ‘Money Spider Roussanne, d’Arenberg, South(?) Australia’, and a Pinot Noir, ‘Carmel Road, Monterey, California’ with the cheddar and the blue cheese.
  • dessert: ‘Assiete of golden pineapple’ with olive pistachio cake and home-made elderflower ice cream. With this we had not the expected sweet dessert wine but a different style of white wine – a wine with a touch of sweetness and even a bit of spritz, but not a sweet wine. This was Little Eden Moscato, Murray Darling, Australia.
  • coffee and bonbons to finish.

We really enjoyed the whole meal, and yes, the wines did indeed complement the food. The only one we were a bit uncertain about was the Pinot Noir with the cheddar and blue cheese. we felt that perhaps the Pino Noir was a bit under-bodied for this – I would probably have preferred something like a Cabernet Sauvignon. But the Pinot Noir was perfectly fine as a wine, just perhaps not quite the right wine for this task. One thing that surprised me was how much I enjoyed the white wines. I’m not normally much of a white wine drinker, and often when I have a glass on its own it can seem rather anonymous. This evening’s meal showcased some very good white wines with appropriate food and we both enjoyed them enormously. And I ought to say that the food was delicious throughout. Altogether we had a great evening.

Tomorrow (actually today as I finish this) we’ll be in Gibraltar for half a day. We’re going to do our own thing and get the bus to Europa Point, and then go on a Malt Whisky hunt in the duty-free shops along Main Street.

3 Responses to “Azura 2015 – a Food and Wine tasting meal in the Glasshouse”

  1. Janet says:

    We always take the opportunity of doing the wine paring dinner. I hope it will be offered on Britannia as we are on her next month. The Pellar ice wine is one of my favourites and I always look forward to a glass or two.

  2. Linda says:

    No change Tom from when we last did it and the time before. Only 12 passengers did the tasting with us the last time. The first time there were at least ten tables and the atmosphere was buzzing. Perhaps if they rang some changes with the menu they might get more repeat bookings. Have to say we were disappointed and thought some of the wines were poor. We had far better wines with other meals. Had hoped you were going to report more changes and more passengers taking up the option. You didn’t mention the cost .. I remember thinking another meal in Sindhu or 17 (Epicurean) being a better deal .. Think we paid around £40 per person but can’t be sure. It was so popular at one time you had to book early to ensure a place. Can’t understand why they haven’t realised passengers want variety. To keep churning out the same menu and wine is crazy.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Linda.

      The cost was £30 per person. Given that it included 5 glasses of wine, we thought that was reasonable.

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