Join the Scarlet Book Club
Friday, 20 August 2012
The Library at the Scarlet - home to the new Scarlet Book Club
Scarlet manager Nikki Broom has had an – ahem - novel idea: start a book club at the Scarlet.
We’re inviting any fiction fanatics that may be lurking in the environs of Mawgan Port – and further afield for bibliophiles prepared to travel – to join us in the Scarlet Library once a month for some literary loquaciousness.
Relentless reader Jane Costin has volunteered to facilitate the meetings.
She said: “I worked at many different jobs before I discovered my passion for English literature, which I studied as a mature student.
“While I really enjoy reading and writing about books, these are both solitary occupations giving me no opportunity to discuss what I have read with other, like-minded people.
“So, I was enthusiastic about Nikki’s idea of starting a book club at the Scarlet. I thought that talking about books in the comfortable surroundings of the library would be a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.”
We would like to suggest the first meeting at 2pm in the Scarlet Library on Thursday 27th September 2012.
Jane will help the group agree a reading list and agree times for further meetings and the format you might like them to take.
There is no charge to join or attend the Scarlet Book Club, but you might treat yourselves to some tea and cake whilst you are here.
Please RSVP to email@example.com and let us know if you are able to attend on the 27th September.
Please bring suggestions for the reading list to the first meeting.
Friday, 06 August 2012
by Ruth Huxley
Cornwall Food & Drink
What could be a better treat than an evening at The Scarlet, perched on the North Cornish coast, just as the English summer finally decided to arrive?
With the sun bathing the hotel in a magical light and pouring through every window as we arrived, it was the perfect backdrop for the hotel’s Natural Wine Evening, the first in a series of informal, topical get-togethers for residents and non-residents.
Not knowing quite what to expect – “What is a natural wine exactly – isn’t all wine natural?” “And what happens on a natural wine evening? “ - we soon found out that there was much more to the subject and the evening than we had expected, with an informative tasting session to be followed by dinner created by the talented new Head Chef Tom Hunter.
If we had worried that the evening would be dominated by very ‘worthy’ types who take life very seriously (there’s nothing wrong with that but it’s not necessarily what you look for on a night out), we needn’t have done so, the announcement from some of the other guests, “We’re not your normal eco-warriors,” proving to be the under-statement of the evening.
These were gals who clearly liked to have fun and managed to provide plenty of entertainment!
So what are natural wines and why are they worthy of their own special evening at The Scarlet? In the first part of the evening led by the hotel’s wine specialist, Meeche Hudd and co-hosted by Lucy Cornes of Ellis Wharton Wines (specialists in natural wines and suppliers of all the wines for the evening) guests learned that, typically, they are made by natural methods with minimal intervention, in small vineyards.
Some of the winemakers may employ organic methods; others follow biodynamic principles; while others simply use time-honoured practices - and many merge all these processes together. The result is often a wine that much better reflects the individual characteristics of the terroir and is light on sulphites.
Logically, one can assume their carbon footprint and environmental impact is also light, but this subject is such a minefield (is it environmentally friendly to import relatively small volumes of these wines to Cornwall rather than them being consumed closer to their place of production?) that it tends to be less of a focus than the quality and individuality of the wines.
Guests were then treated to a blind tasting session, comparing natural wines with some of their more mass-produced counterparts. Of the two reds and a white that were tasted, amazingly all the natural wines came out as the preferred choice. And the wines used for comparison were the best equivalents too. This is a really forceful argument against those who claim that commercialisation, mass production and ‘modern’ methods have produced better quality, more quaffable wines.
Next it was time for the fizz - and wow, this was the moment we decided we were glad we’d come! The first was Mas de Daumas Gassac Frizzant, from the Languedoc region, made entirely from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. A naturally sparkling rosé bought in 1971, this was an absolute delight to the senses, the bubbles just lightly tickling the tongue and flavours perfectly balanced. This was (for me) like trying on a dress that you fall in love with immediately because you know it’s such a perfect fit and you could happily wear it (drink it) all the time.
The second, Champagne Philipponnat Le Clos des Goisses Brut, was served alongside Tom’s exquisite canapés – smoked salmon and crème fraiche; spring vegetable tempura; Cornish crab arancini. From one of few surviving walled vineyards (this is what the ‘Clos’ within the name means, although most other ‘Clos’ you come across retain the name despite having lost their walls), the anticipation attached to the opening of this Champagne was palpable. The vineyard is just 5.5 hectares and has a huge reputation, using the knowledge acquired over generations to make wine that is aged in their caves for 8 to 10 years before being released.
We were trying a bottle from the year 2000 and neither Meeche nor Lucy had tried the wine previously. I have no idea what the price of this wine must be but I’m sure it’s not something you just open a bottle of to make sure it’s OK. It didn’t disappoint, despite being a complete surprise. Very truffley and earthy on the nose, it was much lighter on the palate than I’d anticipated; all Champagne of this quality that I’d tried previously had been much richer and more lingering in flavour.
Dinner followed, each course created by Tom to match the wines rather than the wines being paired with the food. In this, he really excelled. Little touches, like the crisp green apple flavour accompanying the wonderfully cooked scallop starter reflecting the sharp crispness of the Verdicchio, made all the difference. Even the belly pork and venison main course, which we at first thought too rich for the rather light and slightly chilled Frappato that accompanied it, proved to be exactly right – the lightness cutting through the fattiness of the pork where something heavier might have had us sliding under the table by that point.
Finally, the dessert wine, a lovely fruity and sparkling Moscato, proved a much better bedfellow for the vanilla panna cotta with raspberries, pear and a little touch of thyme than a more typical fortified pudding wine such as Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. This proved to be one of the hits of the evening, due to its sheer drinkability, despite its sweetness; Meeche’s claim that she could “drink this all night” being echoed around the table.
So, how would I sum up the evening?
− The fact that we nattered all the way home meant we’d discovered lots to chat about.
− We found The Scarlet a really relaxed place to dine and all the staff are extremely welcoming.
− Tom Hunter is now top of my ‘one to watch’ list of Cornish Chefs.
− Natural wines can be fantastic – but I have no idea how much they cost.
− Taking some time to match a wine well with food (or getting someone to do it for you) makes all the difference to your enjoyment of both.
When’s the next evening?
Friday, 06 August 2012
By Genevra Fletcher
Our Strawberry Tea at The Scarlet - organised by our fabulous food and beverage manager Meeche Hudd - proved a perfect afternoon.
Ladies galore turned out in the best attire to enjoy tea and cake on The Terrace and raise money for Breast Cancer Care into the bargain.
Here are a few of the said lovely ladies enjoying a lounge on The Terrace.
The champagne, conversation and laughter flowed.
While the ladies coiffed champagne and sipped their Tregothnan tea, they all got to listen to some great music from Jonny Fenner AND raise money for a very important cause: Breast Cancer Care.
The strawberry cream cakes proved a big hit too.
Thank you Meeche for organizing such a brilliant afternoon.