Friday, August 25, 2006

A poser

Fresh from another Thursday night's exploits in the world of grappa, this little question crossed my mind. Which of the following makes for the best night out?

1) Great food but awful service with grappa available.

2) Great service but awful food with grappa available.

3) Good food and good service but no grappa.

Now, I ask the question because it is one which is becoming more and more of an issue for my giovedi sorties. I think I end up going for option one on the basis that I love food and grappa and am willing to put up with shoddy service. On the other hand, why should I? Sometimes I get tired of it. Whatever happened to the customer is always right? I don't know. Maybe I worry too much...

Monday, August 21, 2006

I finished a book...

It is not strictly a grappa related issue but, hell, I thought you would like to know. About five months after the birth of my son (my second child, daughter already in situ) I have actually managed to finish reading a book.

To get this in context - I love books. I love reading, just losing yourself in the pages etc but, with a young family, it is one of the first things you give up. It's hard enough to find time to watch a half hour television programme, never mind read 350 pages plus. In addition, after a day of work, entertaining kids, making meals, bathing, etc, you hardly have the energy to pick up a book. Excuses, all of them, you can judge their validity.

Anyway, the book I finished was Fantasyland by Sam Walker which I can unreservedly recommend to anyone who ever played fantasy sport. This one is based on baseball and it shows just how sad and obsessed players of such games can become. As my current portfolio includes two fantasy baseball teams, a fantasy golf team, a fantasy Premiership team AND a fantasy celebrity news portfolio I think I know where he is coming from. Anyway, check it out if that is one of your interests...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The curse strikes again

On Saturday night I was at the wedding reception of a former colleague at a small hotel in south west Scotland. A lovely, informal gathering and chance to catch up with a few people I hadn't seen for a while and dance about like a fool to a couple of Buddy Holly songs.

So what? I hear you ask. Why bother us with this tale? Show me the GRAPPA!

Well, I'm getting to that. As a habitue or whatever the word is, of hostelries across Scotland my expectation of most hotels is that either 1) They will not stock grappa or 2) They will charge you most of your monthly paypacket for it. Imagine my surprise then when, as I got the first of several rounds in, my eyes were drawn (like a moth to the flame or some such) to a dusty bottle of grappa.

Two questions flitted through my mind. Firstly, can grappa go off? And secondly, does it improve with age? Having answered in the negative to both I decided to bide my time, slurp a little more of the house Shiraz and work my way up to the grappa moment after the buffet (ample with the highlight a hefty Melton Mowbray pie).

So, I approached the bar with an order for a round of four drinks with a couple of them being grappas. I watched with concern as the delectable barmaid (that's probably no longer in any way politically correct) totted up on the cash register. It came to the moment when all grappa drinkers hold their breath. How much am I going to be stung for? £1.90 x 2 flashed up on the screen. Result!

Yes, just for you Edinburgh and London readers that's £1.90 for a grappa. Try getting that in your wine bars and brasseries or wherever you go! If you get change from a fiver you count yourself lucky. I could nearly get three grappas for that.


That was the message flashing through my mind but it was tempered by the brand of grappa up for grabs. It was a Nonino and any regular reader will know my reservations about that little baby. Still, it was a Vuisinar which, my guide book reliably informs me, is "delightful in both taste and finish".

Let me tell you, that is not what my windpipe was telling me at three o'clock this morning. It was asking me why I had decided to gargle with bleach the night before! I am out of practice, of course, but it came as a nasty shock. Undoubtedly the guide writers do not make their judgment on the kind of quantity of the stuff I had consumed...

So, that's my story from the weekend. It was just like old times, really, until my son woke up at 4.30am and decided it was morning. Grappa and a young family don't mix - unless you slip some in his formula the night before and he will sleep until noon. (That's just a joke by the way in case anyone is thinking of phoning social services).

Apologies for rambling, feeling a bit loquacious tonight...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Forgive my rudeness

I was asked a little while ago by one of my more regular readers, the Spangly Princess, if there was anything in my bible about the Roner grappa she had recently imbibed. For reasons too boring to go into, I never got around to answering but I have delved further into my grappa bible.

Roner, apparently, is the market leader in fruit brandies in Italy with the Bianca and Gold being their more bog standard mixed grape varieties. Their gewurztraminer (try saying that drunk) has apparently got a nutty finish. Oh, and the distillery was established after World War 2 by Gottfried Roner and is now owned by his widow Luisa. Hope this goes some way to making up for my previous lack of response.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The three horsemen of my holiday

Three grappas, each of a very different style from my recent trip to Italy. The giant Trentino bottle came from my old favourite the Bugno, the dark image comes from another old home of mine at La Mocchia with the last one at Il Pozzo. All in all, a cracking good time. I shall possibly pen more later but my son sounds as if he is trying to scream the house down and I had better go and show some fatherly concern.