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THE PERFECT TIPPLE FOR THE END OF AN EVENT PACKED CHRISTMAS DAY There’s a myriad of spirits and wines that are too often (in my opinion) overlooked. Many of these are the perfect tipple for the end of an event packed Christmas Day, here’s a few of my favourites explored. TARIQUET ARMAGNAC VSOP Armagnac is a brandy made in France from the Gascony region near the Pyrenees foothills. Armagnac has been distilled since at least the 14th Century. The difference between Armagnac and Cognac is the distillation process, Armagnac is distilled once and Cognac twice. Armagnac is made from a blend of varieties; this particular one is made from 40% Baco and 60% Ugni Blanc. VSOP stands for Very Superior Old Pale and whilst one of the youngest of the brandies that Tariquet make from Bas-Armagnac, it is aged for at least seven years in oak barrels. It’s a beautiful shade of amber, smooth and well rounded on the palate, it has a nice oaky taste with stone fruit on the finish. Armagnac is best served straight at room temperature, like single malt it can be cut with a little water and or ice, to release more aromas. DROUIN CALVADOS Calvados is a pear brandy made in Normandy, in the North of France, Drouin is a wonderful producer that starting making Calvados in 1960, with no fewer than 127 Gold Medals for their Calvados since then. Calvados like Cognac is double distilled and then aged in oak. Calvados can be served straight at room temperature and is also an excellent ingredient for cooking.

QUINTA DE LA ROSA VINTAGE 2000 – VINTAGE PORT 10 YEARS ON Quinta de la Rosa is a magnificent port house, located near the Pinhao Township on the banks of the Duero River in Portugal. Relatively small, this port house focuses on quality production. A vintage port is one that comes from a specific year, in this case, all grapes from the 2000 vintage. For Christmas 2010, Quinta de la Rosa have released a small amount of their vintage 2000 from their cellars, describing it as perfect 10 years on for drinking this Christmas. VALDESPINO PEDRO XIMENEZ SHERRY Most Sherries are made from the Spanish Palomino grape variety, there is however one sherry made from another variety – Pedro Ximenez, and this variety produces sweet rich wines. This sherry is perfect after dinner served at room temperature or chilled, can be poured over ice cream as a sauce, used to marinate strawberries or as we do in our Didas tapas bars in a sauce for lamb or duck. Valdespino are one of the best houses in Jerez, recently purchased by Jose Estevez, they are now located just outside Jerez in their expansive cellars, the prestigious house is in good hands. (LIZ WHEADON)

NEW ZEALAND’S LARGEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT OPENS 29-31 JANUARY 2011 THE ANNUAL AUCKLAND SEAFOOD FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR A 5TH STRAIGHT YEAR. The largest seafood festival in New Zealand is the main event during Auckland’s Anniversary Weekend celebrations. At a fantastic new venue in the heart of the BIG little city on Te Wero island in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. And for the first time a festival SEAFOOD MENU will be produced, showcasing the range of delicious seafood on offer. This will be available from our sponsor & media partners in the lead-up to the event. Held over three days the Auckland Seafood Festival is New Zealand’s premier seafood experience, a celebration of the best seafood dishes that New Zealand has to offer. Visitors can treat themselves to a huge variety of fresh, local seafood along with music over three stages, entertainment, competitions plus a great selection of New Zealand wine and beer. The Seafood School also returns to conduct cooking classes every day, open to all visitors with no additional charge. Tickets are only $15, with no booking fee, visit We are proud to announce the event charities – Kiwi Can for Foundation of Youth Development and The Stellar Trust. The 2010 event raised $103,000 for charity. BREAKING NEWS: Festival organisers announce the launch of the Electrolux Restaurant Alley at the event. Four great Auckland restaurants – Sails, Kermadec, Two Fifteen and Café Hanoi - present their signature seafood dishes. Choose your favourite restaurant tasting pot, match it with wine or beer from the bar in the Alley, and grab a seat on the lawn under the shade and enjoy music from the nearby acoustic stage. PN

94 PONSONBY NEWS+ December 2010


DECEMBER/JANUARY '10/ '11 Ponsonby News  

Christmas issue - covering December and January - news/views and all that is happening in and around Ponsonby

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