Champagne Ayala SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year 2019
Mentzendorff is very proud to announce that Skye Gyngell is the winner of the 2019 AYALA SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year award. Renowned for being one of the most forward-looking chefs in the country Gyngell was presented with her award at a Champagne reception at The Goring in Belgravia for the shortlisted chefs, which coincided with the UK launch of the AYALA Le Blanc de Blancs 2013.
The award was launched last year to celebrate the huge contribution female chefs are making to the UK restaurant industry. Commenting on Gyngell’s win, SquareMeal editor Ben McCormack said: “Skye Gyngell is no stranger to London diners, having won a Michelin star at Petersham Nurseries Café and then making a solo success out of Spring for the past five years. Recently, however, she has proved that she is much more than a chef by leading the way on environmental issues such as eliminating single-use plastics, reducing food waste and committing to sustainable farming methods.”
Commenting on her win, Gyngell said: “I am so honoured and thrilled to receive this award. There are so many wonderful creative and talented women working in our industry and it’s just so wonderful to be even included among them, thank you!”
Gyngell has championed sustainability since she pioneered the use of local and seasonal ingredients when Petersham Nurseries Café opened in 2004. Spring stopped using plastic straws in 2017 before then eliminating single-use plastics altogether. The restaurant’s early-evening Scratch menu serves up three courses of food that would otherwise go to waste for £20. Heckfield Place, the luxury Hampshire hotel that opened in 2018 where Gyngell is culinary director, will soon have the largest biodynamic farm in England as well as orchards and woodland.
Bodegas Hidalgo – La Gitana and the Carreras de Caballos
Every year, the second and fourth weekends in August see the famous Carreras de Caballos held on the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, so what better excuse to arrange a press trip to Bodegas Hidalgo.
When we arrived on the first day, we met Fermín Hidalgo who took us on a tour of the Doñana National Park, the biggest wetland in Europe. The humidity from the marshlands combines with the cooling sea breeze to create a unique micro-climate to Sanlúcar which ensures the flor in the Bodegas can survive all year round, which is essential to Manzanilla production.
On day two we travelled out to the El Cuadrado vineyard, the highest point in Jerez at an altitude of 110m.
Fermín explained the concept of a double terroir, the first of which starts in the vineyards with the palomino grapes grown on the white limestone Albariza soil and a cooling sea breeze from the Atlantic Ocean.
The second crucial stage in creating the wines comes down to the location and structure of the winery where they are stored and aged, the second “terroir”. When we arrived at the winery in Sanlúcar, Fermín talked to us about the solera system before we tasted the different sherries directly from the casks. Fermín uses a rod with a deep narrow cup attached to the end called a venencia, which is swiftly dipped into the barrels through the flor, before pouring into our waiting glasses without spilling a drop.
That evening we head to the Carreras de Caballos. The origins of the races are unclear, but one story is that fish buyers raced the horses along the beach as they waited for trawlers to bring in their haul to the port. What is known is that a horse racing society was established in Sanlúcar in 1845, creating a tradition that would become a part of the city’s cultural fabric.
The racing takes place along a 1.8km stretch of beach at the mouth of the Río Guadalquivir during the month of August, where racehorses thunder across the sand watched by huge crowds of spectators.
Champagne Bollinger & England Rugby
Sunday 11th August saw the 2019 Rugby World Cup warm up matches kick off with a great game between England and Wales. England were victorious, coming away 33-19, meaning Eddie Jones’ side and put an end to Wales’ 14-match winning streak and giving the England supporters plenty of reason to celebrate in the Champagne Bollinger tent after the match.
A fantastic start for England which puts them in good stead for the next warm up which will take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on the 17th August. This is certain to be a sterner test and the Welsh team will be keen to pull it back to one all before September. England’s warm up matches will continue with a game against Ireland at Twickenham and then against Italy in St James’ Park, Newcastle before the tournament starts proper.
Sadly our team and guests pre-game warm-up was not held in the Cardinal Vaughan Car Park as is the norm but just down the road from the stadium. Guests were treated to Bollinger Special Cuvée on their welcome, after all what match-day experience at Twickenham would be complete without it, along side a range of wines from the Mentzendorff portfolio.
The first match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday September 20 with the hosts Japan taking on Russia. England’s first game in the Pool stages will be on the 22nd against Tonga and Eddie Jones’ side will be keen to start as they mean to go on but will face some stiff competition from the team from the South Pacific.
The opening stage of the Rugby World Cup will see 20 teams attempt to battle their way out of four Pools. Each contains five teams with only two advancing into the knockout rounds. England’s Pool is somewhat tricky having been drawn along with Argentina and France. This means at least one upset with one of the tournaments bigger teams set to suffer the ignominy of heading home early. Something England will remember all too well having experienced it at their home World Cup in 2015, the first host nation to ever have done so.
Last week also saw some of the Mentzendorff team travell to Twickenham for the Rugby Players Association Dinner in aid of Try For Change. Try for Change aims to improve the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged people in England and across the world through projects and programmes using rugby and its core values for positive change. As the Official Champagne of England Rugby the evening naturally started with Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée being served on the hallowed turf at Twickenham. A dinner with the England Squad and auction followed which included a special Mathusalem of Special Cuvée signed by the England team with the proceeds going to help continue the great work at Try For Change!
Britain’s Most British Bike Race?
Saturday 3rd August saw Prudential RideLondon host the 2019 Brompton World Championship for the fifth year and once again it managed to capture the spirit of British cycling at its very best!
The race starts on the flag lined Mall with a Le Mans-style dash and entrants frantically unfolding their Brompton’s before taking on the 10 mile circuit around St James’ Park. The riders are all dressed to impress and there is a strict no Lycra policy. While it may just seem like good fun and the embodiment of British eccentricity, down at the start line dormant competitive instincts bubble to the surface and the racing is fast and furious! The Brompton World Championships also features some familiar faces among the cycling community with ex-pro cyclist David Millar and some equally serious competitors and teams in the mix.
Team Bollinger, consisting of Andrew Hawes (138th) and Alan Montague Dennis (209th) from Mentzendorff and Simon Ransom-Tester (124th) of The Champagne Company, put in a fantastic effort in a dramatic final that saw it all. The lucky winners were presented by Jeroboams, Magnums and bottles of Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée (some of which made it off the podium)!
The inimitable Brompton folding bike was designed and built in London by Andrew Ritchie in 1975 in his flat in South Kensington, opposite the Brompton Oratory. Still made in London today, Brompton is now the UK’s largest bike manufacturer with each bike handmade by highly skilled craftsmen and women, many of whom took part in a 236 mile, 3-day ride in June 2018 from London to Champagne Bollinger.