On Sunday I attended my first wine and craft spirit tasting festival. I was invited by Teresa and Mark Harrison of Ely Wine Events. With an impressive 30 years experience between them in the food and drink industry I was excited to see what a wine tasting festival entailed. Admitedly my experience with wine is limited, don’t get me wrong I can confidently tell my Lambrini from my Prosecco but still I have a long way to go to becoming a wine connoisseur. However after a brief but successful career as an events organiser and attending many exhibitions in the past I appreciate the organisation and attention to detail at these types of events in terms of hospitality.
On the day, a good friend of mine, who has a particular expertise in different types of Gin accompanied me. Basically she likes drinking, I will refer to her in this post as the Gin Queen. We were greeted warmly by Teresa, Mark and the team who spoke to us about what the event entailed and gave us our guide and complimentary wine glass. The whole team were friendly and welcoming and I noted as I wandered around trying to decipher where my next taster would come from, that throughout the event they circulated speaking to their guests creating a relaxed, personal feel to the day.
Armed with our glasses, the Gin Queen and I began our journey around the many exhibitors. I made a promise to myself (and to my parents/husband) that I would not taste any of the craft spirits, rose wine or white wine. Mainly due to a history of outrageous antics which I have always blamed on certain drinks. By exhibitor number 1 I was trying my first dram of marshmallow flavoured Gin and by the end I had dabbled with many different flavours of Gin, all types of wine, Sherry, Port, Brandy, Vodka and mulled wine. Along with the alcohol there was also a cheese tasting section and chocolate tasting. It was at this moment in which I realised how much I loved my new-found career as a blogger! Below are some of my favourite exhibitors and the products that the Gin Queen and I rated our top picks.
Poetically described as “growing under the sunshine of the Norfolk barley fields” Nelson’s Caramel Vodka is the taste of liquid gold. The bottles and packaging are striking with their raised gold emblem depicting Norfolk’s very own naval commander Lord Nelson’s ship. The caramelised Vodka is made from a delicate blend of locally grown sugar beet and has a deliciously, smooth taste. The Gin Queen hastily jumped off of her Gin ship and purchased herself a bottle. We were advised by the wonderful Steph and Matt Brown that the Vodka also tastes amazing in a glass of Prosecco. I could not let this opportunity pass, so a little later we sneakily took a taster of Prosecco from one exhibitor and sought out another drop of Nelson’s Gold to add to it. The result was sensational!
Along the beautiful Ely high street sits a quaint wine merchants called Anglia Wines, owned by Kate and Matthew Street. I met this wonderful team at the event, dressed jovially in Christmas attire, full of laughter and happiness. I immediately liked them. I liked them even more once they introduced me to a sparkling red wine called 47 Anno Domini, Marsecco. Served chilled, this was how I would describe a red Prosecco (sorry wine connoisseurs – I know my descriptions are appalling!) Sadly I have just heard that Kate and Matthew are closing their shop to move closer to family however a closing down sale will begin on the 12th December. I wish them the very best in their future adventures.
Novel wines introduced me to Moonshine. Moonshine was something I thought prisoners made in films from potatoes and although not made by prisoners this is actually made from sweet potatoes and Gin. The Sweet Potato Spirit Co. have a whole range of Moonshine inspired spirits including orange, plum, raspberry, toffee apple and marshmallow. However my favourite by far was the Chilli Chocolate. I wouldn’t say I could taste chilli but the smell alone was divine. Beautiful, chocolatey textures, which left a warm feeling in my stomach. It has most definitely made it onto my Christmas drinking list and I recommend it to any fellow chocoholics. Orders can be placed at the link above.
When entering the venue I noticed Archangel Gin immediately. Their advertising campaign was striking with their towering archangel posters and labelling. The enthusiastic exhibitors told us about their Norfolk distillery and the Gin Queen was in her element, falling in love with a rhubarb gin which she revisited several times throughout the afternoon and adding another purchase to her bag!
Another gem of Ely, sitting within the cathedral walls is Cherry Hill Chocolates. The exhibitors were not fooled as I pretended many times to have just found their stall for the first time that afternoon and sneak another chocolate taster. Beautifully packaged and even better in taste these chocolates would be the perfect Christmas gift. I recommend the raspberry flavoured chocolate.
Unsurprisingly I thoroughly enjoyed my first wine tasting event. The Ely Wine Events company created a fantastic afternoon full of fun and laughter. The hosts were charming likewise were many of the exhibitors. I urge you to visit their website and book one of their events and find out more about the work they do. Many thanks for the kind invite and from myself and the Gin Queen – Cheers!