Wild Garlic is in season

I love this time of year when wild garlic is in season. The white flowers are really pretty and I love the soft garlicky flavour they produce when cooked; it’s not as strong as the everyday garlic you’ll find in supermarkets. The flowers are not only fantastic with salmon and lamb, but are also great in salads. You can also eat the leaves and the stem, both of which can be used in cooking.

Found near streams, wetland areas, in nature reserves and also funnily enough you will find it growing in woodland areas amongst bluebells. It’s great to be able to walk through the woods and smell the wild garlic.

There’s so much that goes well with wild garlic, but my particular favourites are cooking up a garlic veloute and a small parmesan espuma, parfait! Look out for wild garlic infused dishes at The Vineyard soon.

I am also hosting the Magnificent Seven Dinner on Friday 20th March together with seven of my very best suppliers all providing one ingredient that will be used in each dish.A wild garlic veloute and morels Fricassee is the first course matched with a fantastic Rioja. The garlic is kindly being supplied by Mash Purveyors.  Discover more about the dinner and view the full menu online

I’d love to hear all about what your wild garlic recipes so please message me on Twitter @danielgalmiche.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Daniel Galmiche
Executive Chef at The Vineyard

Events in Berkshire this February

Events in Berkshire this FebruaryLadies’ Lunch – Colour Consultant

Monday 2nd February – 12pm to 3pm
Kate Jones is a Star Consultant with House of Colour and specialises in personal styling and colour analysis to the stars. She will explain how colour analysis and styling works, and give guests hints and tips to take away from the event.

Three course lunch with matching wines

£60 per person
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Wine School – Rhône Valley

Wednesday 4th February – 6.30pm to 8pm
In all of the classic French Viticultural regions, it is probably the Rhône Valley that offers the most diversity of style. This school will take our guests down through the valley and showcase the classic regions and styles. A school for the classical drinker!
£30 per person
Wine school & two courses with matching wines in our California Bar- £55 per person

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Wildlife Art Exhibition at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre

Saturday 7th to Sunday 22nd February – 10.30 to 4pm
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife trusts present the Wildlife Art Exhibition. An exhibition of local artist Jonathan Pomroy will be on display at the Nature Discovery Centre during February.

Jonathan has staged a number of very successful exhibitions at the Nature Discovery Centre (NDC) over the last 20 years, and was in fact the Centre’s very first visitor when they opened the doors on 15th January 1995.

Jonathan has gone on to become a very well known and collected wildlife artist, regularly exhibiting at venues across the country, and has shown at the Mall Galleries with the Society of Wildlife Artists. He has a passion for painting wildlife & landscapes from extensive field work in all weathers.

This exhibition will include 25 of Jonathan’s most recent works including a number of wetland landscapes and bird studies.

Jonathan will also be running a sketching workshop on 7th February.

Price – donations welcome.

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The Secret Adversary at Watermill Theatre

Thursday 12th February to Saturday 21st March
There are many events in Berkshire this February that are not to be missed including this performance. The Watermill Theatre in association with Eleanor Lloyd Productions are showing Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary. A Tommy & Tuppence Thriller. Adapted by Sarah Punshon and Johann Hari.

Agatha Christie’s gripping thriller follows the daring and dizzying adventures of Tommy & Tuppence through 1920s London.

Home from the War, flat-broke and unemployed, our twenty-something heroes embark on a daring business scheme: ‘The Young Adventurers Limited’… willing to go anywhere, willing to do anything. But their first assignment plunges them into more danger than they ever imagined and they quickly find themselves sucked into a perilous world of political intrigue, criminal conspiracy, murder and mayhem.

Launching as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the author’s birth, The Secret Adversary takes to the stage for the very first time in this inventive new adaptation shot through with fast-paced action, comedy, live music and a dash of romance.

Tickets from £14.50 to £26.50

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Bordeaux Wine Dinner with Vine Trail

Friday 27th February – 7pm onwards
Vine Trail are specialist importers of artisanal, small domaine French wines. Using no agents or brokers, Vine Trail have developed a very individual selection of wines, and for this dinner they will focus on matching organic wines of Bordeaux with Daniel’s dishes.
Five course dinner with matching wines
£95 per person
Stay the night with breakfast from £173.50 per person

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Champions of Magic at The Corn Exchange

Saturday 28th February – 7.45pm onwards
Join our award winning team of tricksters for a spectacular night of mystery that’ll keep you guessing for a long time to come.

Witness stunning illusions including disappearances, teleportation, levitation and a heart stopping finale that sees one performer walk through the spinning steel blades of a giant industrial fan, all presented with lighting and pyrotechnics to rival the biggest arena productions.

Champions Of Magic, the UK’s largest touring magic show, features 5 of the world’s finest magicians, including –

‘Young & Strange’ – Grand Illusionists as seen on ITV’s ‘Penn & Teller: Fool Us’
“Fantastic, just amazing” Jonathan Ross

‘Fay Presto’ – Queen of Close-up magic, having performed for every member of the Royal Family

Alex McAleer – Master Mind Reader as featured on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’

Edward Hilsum – IBM International Champion Of Stage Magic 2014

Prices – £16.50 to £21

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Jay Antiques Fairs in Hungerford

Saturday 28th February – 8.30am to 4pm
Events in Berkshire this February include the Jay Fairs, which will be visiting Hungerford Antiques Market again where there will be 40 quality stalls for the antique enthusiast. When you have finished visiting the Antiques Market why not enjoy Hungerford, which is fortunate to maintain a traditional high street that is crammed with independent shops ranging from three Antiques arcades and numerous other dealers through to bespoke clothing, pretty home wares and destination shops for countryside pursuits and jewellery.

Prices – £1

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Celebrate Valentine’s at The Vineyard this February

rosesandsuitcase-914x437Valentine’s is all about spending time with your loved one, and with many of us having busy schedule, it’s the perfect reason to treat yourself and partner by booking a spa day or evening, having a couples massages, enjoying a romantic dinner for two or Champagne afternoon tea.

FacialVoted the most romantic retreat by the Good Spa Guide, The Vineyard Spa is the ideal place to come for a romantic day with your partner. Relax in the tranquil surroundings and enjoying spending time with just the two of you. We have plenty of spa days and evenings to choose from whatever your budget and the time you have to spare. From our pampering evening where you’ll be treated to a 25 minute treatment, a main course from our spa menu and use of the spa for four hours during the evening to our Ultimate Spa Day, which includes three relaxing treatments of your choice, a Bento Box lunch, light refreshments throughout the day and full use of the spa pool, Jacuzzi, steam, sauna rooms and poolside area.

We are lucky enough to have a couple’s treatment room, perfect for a romantic massage or facial. Choose from our range of Darphin and VitaMan facials and massages, or choose a treatment from our signature selection. Browse our treatment brochure for our full list of treatments.

For 13th and 14th February, our Executive Chef, Daniel Galmiche has created a special fiveCheese board with wine - 377 x 221 course tasting menu with matching wines and a special sharing dessert for Valentine’s at The Vineyard. This time of year is always popular with our guests, but we do have limited availability. Browse the menu and call us to reserve your table if you’d like to celebrate with us and why not stay the night?

Think delicious cakes, pastries and mini sandwiches, plus a glass of chilled Champagne in luxurious surroundings and you have Champagne afternoon tea at The Vineyard. Delicately created by our Head Pastry Chef, Anthony Millon, you’ll be in afternoon tea heaven. Browse our sample menu to whet your appetite.

The Best of Winter Wines

glassesinarow - 580 x 288Well, Christmas has passed, New Year celebrations are done, however winter is still firmly here with all it’s cold, dark mornings and evenings…makes you really fancy a glass of wine!

I’ve always been quite a seasonal drinker, trying to match season to wine style, and rich, heartwarming  winter wines are in my focus this month, along with fortified wines to banish the chill. Here’s a selection of what I’ll be opening over the next few weeks now that my 24-hour detox is over…

2011 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California (£21.12 per bottle)

Rich, blackcurrant-led fruit, spice and vanilla from the oak. This remains one of the best Sunday roast bottles in our house, and works just great with a decent rib roast. Of course, a nice rare T-Bone would accommodate this also!

2004 Vina Bosconia Reserva, Lopez de Heredia, Rioja, Spain (£26.04 per bottle)

My favourite Rioja, made in a timeless, old-school manner. Tempranillo fruit allied to extended oak ageing gives a very classy wine indeed. A classic partner to lamb, but venison is a superb partner too.

NV Sugrue Pierre, Goring Brut, England (£29.87 per bottle)

Can’t exist on red wine alone? Well try this “frankly better than many Champagnes in my opinion” fizz made not that far away by legendary winemaker Dermot Sugrue (he of Nyetimber fame). Loaded with biscuity, brioche notes, citrus flavours and a lovely finish. You all need a bottle of this in the fridge to banish winter blues.

2012 Talley Estate Chardonnay, Arroyo Grande, California (£21.56 per bottle)

Another is our good friend and probably the world’s most revered critic Mr Parker has showered praise upon this winter wine so it probably won’t be around for long! However, if you do get to us in time, you’ll experience a lovely balance of citrus fruit and vanilla – just perfect with chicken dishes and quite highly spiced foods.

1998 Justino’s Colheita Madeira, Madeira (£21.17 per half-bottle)

Finally, a favourite fortified…vintage dated Madeira in very useful halves. Liquid Christmas pudding is the bast tasting note I can think of, with surprisingly high acidity. It’s the perfect end to dinner or as a warming post prandial late-evening…

If food and wine pairing is your thing, why not join us for our Bordeaux wine dinner on 27th February? Discover more

Enjoy!

James Hocking
Director of Wine

January Events in Berkshire

January Events in Berkshire

January Events in Berkshire

9th to 30th January – Basildon Park – Lift the January Blues

10am to 3pm
There are lots of January events in Berkshire that you can enjoy including this great trail to explore in Basildon Park. Blow away the cobwebs with a motivational trail around the 400 acre historic parkland as you get ready for the year ahead. Take a tour around the Georgian Manor that was lovingly restored by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the mid 1950s. And why not treat yourself to a cream tea and experience the nostalgia of their 1950s kitchen?

Suitable for all ages. Normal Admission Charges Apply.
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23rd January – Lee Nelson – Suited and Booted at New Greenham Arts

National tour warm-up – 7.30pm
Lee Nelson is back with a brand new show and will be warming up for us highly anticipated nationwide tour with a series of intimate gigs! He’s hosted Live at the Apollo and you may have caught him trying to join the England Squad as Premier League footballer Jason Bent.
“Never lost for words, never less than ingenious. . . a seamlessly entertaining touring show” The Times.
Tickets – £15
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25th January – WSET Level 1 Award in Wine at The Vineyard

9.30 to 5pm
Improve your wine knowledge with this informative and fun January event in Berkshire. Learn all about wine and gain an internationally recognised qualification in one day. Plus, enjoy a three course lunch with matching wines. This course is suitable for anyone who has an interest in wine and would like to know more about the different wine styles, food and wine pairing, and the correct way to store and serve wine.
£199 per person
Please contact us on 01635 589407 to book and for further details see our website


25th January – Bolshoi Live – Swan Lake at the Corn Exchange

This is a not to be missed January event in Berkshire. Live and Encore performances by the Bolshoi Ballet on screen at the Corn Exchange direct from Moscow. Swan Lake tells the tragic love story of Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried. With Tchaikovsky’s famous, lyrical score, Swan Lake depicts the tragic love between Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried, and will no doubt be performed to perfection by the unparalleled virtuosity of Russia’s great Bolshoi Ballet. This universal and enchanting masterpiece of love, deception and drama is a must.
Tickets from £12
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Festive Wine Recommendations

glassesinarow - 580 x 288Sparkling_Summer_HeaderWith some many sparkling wines and Champagnes to choose from, which would be your favourite picks for a festive drinks party or as an aperitif on Christmas Day?
For my festive wine recommendations for Christmas Day, I think I’ll play a classic game here and head for Champagne. I’ve always been a fan of the fuller-bodies styles, so Bollinger would be on the hit list, as would Krug subject to lottery winnings! One thing I have tried recently and been very impressed with is sparkling Shiraz (Magpie Estate, Australia). This has enough body to cope with a decent roast dinner, whilst still having all the fun of bubbles…See our wine list for our extensive range of Champagnes and sparkling wines

With the festive season well under way, which varieties of wine are great for mulling and is there a special ingredient you would include?
I guess with mulled wine I would just choose a full-bodied red and keep the price down as you are distorting the flavour so much. Oranges and cinnamon would go into my mix, but I have to say that mulled wine is not quite for me…

Which wines would you be pleased to be given as a Christmas gift?
I’m hopelessly addicted to Riesling, especially that from the Mosel Valley in Germany, so I guess anybody bringing a bottle of Haag, Prüm, or Von Schubert Maximin Grünhaus would be especially welcome! In the wine business, the pros take estate-bottled olive oil to give as gifts. If you’re looking for more gift inspiration, our gift vouchers can be emailed to you instantly. Browse our selection

Are there specific wines or grape varieties that you’d recommend with the traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings?
I usually serve red and white concurrently with “event” meals like this, so my red choice would be Pinot Noir-led. This year, I will be pouring Gevrey-Chambertin En Jouise from Domaine Harmand-Geoffoy in the very heart of Burgundy with all that earthy, elegant red fruit intensity. For white wine would head to my beloved Riesling grape, and I think that maybe something from the Alsace region in France would fit the bill admirably. Try a producer such as Weinbach or Zind Humbrecht.

Most Christmas lunches finish with a Christmas pudding, so what dessert wines would you recommend to match?
Tawny Port is a time-honoured classic – try something like Krohn’s 20-year old Tawny. Australian Liqueur Muscat is another choice. However, this year, I’ll be serving the pud with Argyros Estate Vinsanto from Santorini, Greece. The grapes were sun-dried for around 10 days prior to the fermentation starting, then aged for four years in oak. Trust me – it’s sensational… Browse our fortified and Port selection we serve by the glass

Cheers and have a very merry Christmas

James Hocking
Director of Wine

Top Ten Spa Tips this Winter

The Vineyard - spa poolside - 580 x 257

Our spa team have put together some top ten spa tips this winter that will help your skin through the party season as well as some great spa offers this December and January.

1. Drink plenty of water each day. Hot squash is great alternative for tea and coffee

2. Use an oil at night such as Darphin’s aromatic face oils under face cream to help combat tight skin

3. Prepare your skin for the party season using Darphin’s Age Defying Dermabrasion followed by Darphin’s camellia mask for radiance

4. If all the Christmas stress is getting too much try using some lavender oil on your pillow to comfort and calm your mind

5. For fresh looking skin, make sure you remove your make-up each evening before going to bed

6. Our therapists’ top tip is use Darphin’s Purifying Balm at night to detox and cleanse skin

7. We recommend using coconut oil as a great natural alternative to a conditioning hair mask

8. When your shoulders and lower back are achy, try using Aroma Home herb pillows

9. As a real treat, why not spend the day with us at The Vineyard Spa and relax be pampered?

10. Even though the sun may not be as strong and shining every day during the winter months, it’s still important to apply an spf cream on top of your moisturiser to prevent the UVA and UVB rays from damaging your skin.

We have some great last minute offers that you can take advantage of:

1. 20% off our Luxury Spa Day on 16th to 19th December 2014. Visit our spa days page to discover more

2. As a Christmas special, why not treat yourself to a 25 minute chocolate and orange scrub for just £30. It’s a full body exfoliation with the delicious smell of Jaffa cakes. Your skin will be left feeling soft and smooth perfect for the party season or before applying self tan.
Only available on 16th -19th and 24th, and 26th December. Discover more about our treatments

3. January Spa Day Offer
Relax after the hectic festive season and enjoy a half day spa day for two for £120 saving £20. This could also be a great Christmas present if you’re still looking for a pampering treat. Discover more

To book any of the above, please contact the spa team on 01635 589415.

We hope you’ve found our top ten spa tips useful. To purchase any of the Darphin products mentioned above, please pop into The Vineyard Spa.

Have a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Kirsty Hughes
Spa Manager

Fantastic Festive Wines for 2015

Glasses in a row - compressed

With some many wines to choose from and enjoy over the festive season, Romain Bourger has selected five of his favourites.

Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, Napa Valley, 2010
One of the festive wines for 2015 recommended by Romain is  from Schramsberg estate. Owned by J. Davies Estate and established back in 1862, it was one of the pioneering vineyard to produce a sparkling wine using the second fermentation in the bottle, such as Champagne. Blanc de Blancs means white from white and is made from Chardonnay grape. The wine shows a creamy foam and delicate bubbles. The nose has notes of ripe stone fruit, toast, fresh almond and citrus, the palate is creamy with a fresh finish. Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs gained international recognition in 1972 when President Nixon served the wine at the “Toast to Peace” in Beijing, China.

View our selection of sparkling wines and Champagnes by the glass


Peter Michael Winery, L’Après Midi, Knights Valley, 2013
Sir Peter Michael long had a great interest for wine, he established his winery in Sonoma in 1982 and released his first wine in 1987. L’Après Midi, the French for “the afternoon”, is a Sauvignon Blanc based wine blended with a touch of Sémillon which was first produced in 1991. It undergoes its fermentation in oak barrel bringing to the wine a hint of smokiness and a riche texture. It develops aromas of ripe tropical fruit such as passion fruit and fresh mango with a touch of pink grapefruit. The palate has a lovely minerality very well balanced with the oak character. This wine is very well suited for a poached Salmon with a Hollandaise sauce.

Discover more about the Peter Michael Winery


Langhe, Poderi Colla, Bricco del Drago, Piedmont, Italy, 2008
A wine made from a local grape called Nebbiolo, a very delicate and light coloured red wine. This Langhe is a very juicy wine full of plums, red cherry as well as a touch of violet petals. The palate is delicate and perfumed with soft and silky tannins. It shows more dark fruits such as blackcurrant and blackberry with a touch of pepper and leather. This wine is a more wintery wine and goes well with game such has a fillet of venison or cheese.

Discover more about our Italian wine school in 2015


Tio Pepe, Palomino Fino, Jerez, Spain, NV
Unfortunately, sherry is not used enough in gastronomy, however, it is an incredible style of wine because of its diversity and versatility with food. This light and dry Sherry made from Palomino grape is perfect for an aperitif due to its citrus aromas bringing a lively freshness. Its hint of nuttiness makes it well suited for veloutés and soups. Also, a richer style such as an Oloroso or a sweet Pedro Ximene would work very well with cheese or a Christmas pudding.


Tokaji, Disznoko 5 Puttonyos, Tokaj, Hungary, 2007
Since 1992 Disznoko is part of Axa Millesime. This sweet wine is made in a very traditional way. It is produced from a local grape called Furmint. This great pudding wine develops aromas of cooked tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango as well as some acacia honey and a great acidity. The balance is great and the wine shows an amazing balance. This is a fantastic wine to have with Christmas pudding or a trifle.

Discover more about our more unusual wines on our Long List 

Events in Berkshire this December

Sparkling_Summer_Header

Monday 1st December – Christmas Fair at Elcot Park
9.30am – 5pm
With over 40 stalls selling unique and affordable there are gifts for all the family, including a wide variety of gifts, stocking fillers, beautiful clothes and jewellery, engraved glassware, festive flowers, wrapping paper and ribbon, creative cards, country gifts, delicious cheese, scrumptious cakes and original liqueurs and lots more. The event is in aid of locally based Pelican Cancer Foundation. Parking is free. Entry is £5

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Wednesday 3rd December – Wine School – Bubbles Galore at The Vineyard
6.30pm to 8pm
Begin the festive season with a sparkling wine school. Discover more and indulge in Champagne and other popular sparkling wines from around the world.
£30 per person

Discover more about our wine schools in 2015


Friday 5th December – Taittinger Champagne Dinner
7pm onwards
Now recognised as one of the greatest Champagne Houses, Taittinger has been producing Champagne since 1932. Join us for a lively evening and enjoy a five course dinner with matching Taittinger Champagnes from a variety of different styles and vintages.
£120 per person

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Sunday 7th December – Christmas Crafts and Carols at Shaw House
11am – 4pm
Visit the craft fair and get your Christmas gifts sorted with some locally made, soaps, jewellery, cupcakes and candles. Get in the festive spirit with a Christmas carols sing-along led by Speenhamland Ladies Choir. People young and old will be delighted to hear that they have a special guest making an appearance, yes Santa will be popping in at the end of the children’s Christmas parties, after some fun and games, to hand out some presents. £1 Adults, free to children

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Monday 8th December – Christmas Ladies’ Lunch
12pm to 3pm
Another event in December not to be missed. Begin the Christmas festivities in style and enjoy a glass of Champagne, a three-course lunch with two matching wines and a glass of bubbles to finish.
£60 per person


Friday 12th December – Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza
5pm – 10pm
One of the events in Berkshire that is definitely one to attend.The day starts with local dignitaries in Victorian garb, braving the elements, and eating a large breakfast on the steps of the Town Hall. Throughout the day a mixture of all sorts of stalls will begin to form throughout the streets. By 5pm the town is alive with steam engines, organs, side stalls, street entertainment, the big wheel and other fairground rides.

Crowds can see Punch and Judy shows, stilt walkers, clowns, jugglers and for the children. The shops will be open with their staff in Victorian dress, some giving out mulled wine and mince pies. Many local charities will be there with a variety of stalls, tombolas and even hot soup.

At 7pm the Grand Parade starts at the North end of the town and comes up the High Street with the mighty steam engines, the skirl of the pipes, the triumphant blast of the brass bands, all the street performers and, as a bonus, Father Christmas along with the year’s Carnival Queen. After this there follows the prize giving for the best dressed shop windows, the best dressed shop assistants, and the best dressed stall holders.

At 9pm, the evening’s activities will be brought to a close by the firework finale and for those not wishing to head home, many pubs and restaurants are busy well into the night.

Free entry and free parking is available at Charnham Park and is clearly marked from all directions.

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Friday 19th – Sunday 21st December – Swan Lake at Arlington Arts Centre
7.30pm (Saturday – 2.30pm)
Join Ballet Theatre UK with their spectacular new production of this timeless classic Swan Lake. This immortal tale tells of a Princess held captive as a swan by the spell of an evil magician, a spell that only can be broken if the Prince swears true love to her.
Tickets £17 (concessions £15, family £50)

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Monday 29th December – Festive Family Fun Raceday at Newbury Racecourse
See out the year in style at at Festive Raceday at Newbury Racecourse! Racegoers can enjoy a festive atmosphere with lots to see and do with fantastic racing, including the Grade 1 Betfred Goals Galore Challow Novice’s Hurdle and six other thrilling contests. Off-the-track there will more competition with the Festive Family Treasure Hunt and live music from the house band, Global Cafe Music.
Prices from £14.40

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