It’s in our nature to grumble about the seasons, but if there’s one thing autumn is, it’s reliable – and that’s what makes it so beautiful. While we can never, ever be sure of a hot spell during the Summer holidays we can always be sure that at this time of year the leaves will turn, fall and blow into big welly-friendly piles. We know we’ll get wet, wind-blown and weary from our cliff-top walks, but also that the tea, toast and hot bath will be there waiting for us.
Mr. Kipling had us believe that we needed ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ to be happy at this time of year – bugger that! I want not some limp, tender apple pie but earthy aroma, punchy flavour and a chunky dose of the hard stuff.
As reliable as autumn comes November 5th: parkin, sausages and sparklers. This year I will be insisting again on Beaumont’s Ginger Beer – made by our good friends down at Westnorth Manor Farm: Cornish Orchards. Cloudy of course (look with suspicion at the clear types) and hardly sweet at all, it has a well-focused flavour of bright, fragrant ginger. It’s easily found in Cornwall at around £2 to £2.50 for a 500ml bottle from shops around the county or you can order it direct from Duloe at £24.84 per dozen although you’ll pay a bit more for delivery – worth it though to send up Guy Fawkes in fiery style.
In my oven this evening is yet again Coq au Vin – I love these French dishes full of flavour and endless tasty sauce – it’ll be Cassoulet in my pot next week. Sadly the bottle of Côtes du Rhône I tasted on Monday has all gone….but I have another! This is the 2011 vintage from Domaine Chapoton and is an utterly affordable £11. Harvested from 40-y-o vines on this small family estate, it’s showing all the depth and complexity of a real grown-up. The grapes in it are the traditional mix of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan, but it’s the intense, peppery Syrah and dry, leathery Mourvèdre that make me come over all cosy-log-fire. Very deep, very long, very satisfying. I think my Coq might be ready now.
David McWilliam, binTwo email@example.com @binTwoPadstow f: binTwo