A few weeks ago I was very kindly invited to attend an evening of wine and food at the Birmingham Mal ! This was a Banfi wine dinner hosted by the charming Dante Cecchini of Castello Banfi , a vineyard in the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany, and the amusing David Manson of Bidendum … Well you all know me .. and after ascertaining that th’usband could come along too .. well a girl needs a chaffeur .. I jumped at the chance ! Ever ready for a good feed and a glass or 2 (or 3 .. 4 .. 5 …eeeek) of good wine !
So with babysitters in situ , lippy on and a tummy ready for feeding we headed off down the motorway towards Birmingham for a very rare classy night out !! We arrived at the Mal in good time which was a good job as Chris and I then attempted to find where we should actually be and a very amusing Benny Hill style chase ensued .. involving Chris and I zipping up and down in lifts , staircases and reception areas ! All our own fault for being a bit dim at times … as the staff were extremely helpful ! So we arrived where we should be .. ever so slightly early … to be greeted by a lovely young man , Greg, who offered us a drink and chatted easily about the evening and the wines ! Having visited the vineyard himself he was most enthusiastic about the evening ahead ! And so it began , me with a crisp , excellently chilled Pinot grigio in my hand .. I knew this was going to be a great night !
After meeting up with Jules from www.butcherbakerblog.com and finally meeting the butcher of the combo , and Jo & Stuart from http://joskitchen.wordpress.com/ we took our seats and eagerly awaited the evenings charms
The menu was as follows :
Canapés; Pinot Grigio Toscana San Angelo – an easy drink , crisp and refreshing . perfectly mayched the cold meats and vegetables which were light & refreshing with a lemony kick.
L’ antipasto; Mediterranean vegetables & cured meats
Le Rime Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio – This wine was a heady combination of the two grapes and complimented the expertly made pasta ! The pasta was soft and light , with a sensationa; pumpin & sage filling sitting in a foam .. It was quite simply BELLISIMO !
Il primo; hand made pumpkin & sage tortellini
Rosso di Montalcino & Beinero Sangiovese/Merlot _ Here we were given 2 different wines to drink with our main course an absolutely stunning Osso Bucco .. the meat quite literally fell off the bone and melted in your mouth ! Sensational … everybody agreed and there was more that an little bone sucking forthe marrow going on at the table ! Superb .. a dish to be very very proud of !
The wines were both red .. Now I’m not a red wine drinker ( Let’s just say I got put off after a very drunken Passover feast with a gaggle of Nuns … Sister Bridie in particular ) but I decided to give it a go … I much preferred the beinero Sangiovese/Merlot .. again a mix of two grapes to create a smoother finish !
Il secondo; Veal ‘osso bucco’, puré de patate, olio d’olivia
Brunello di Montalcino – Another red , expertly complimented the amazing Bra Formaggio .. a strong cheese with a look similar to parmesan but with a taste which is out of this world … A cheese you just have to keep returning to ! Served with a selection of bisvuits , bread and chutneys .. a most welcome addition to the menu ! The wine for me was too red .. if thats possible and was perhaps just a little too strong for my uneducated palette .
formaggio corso; Italian cheese board/ Bra formaggio
Florus Moscadello di Montalcino Vendemmia Tardiva 50cl – The dessert was Tiramisu .. a moist sponge with an excellent hint of coffee ! I tasted the wine without dessert and an involuntary shiver occured at the intense sweetnes .. similar to a favourite liquer of mine, cuarenta y tres … however paired with the dessert , it’s magic began to work .. a perfect combination !
Il dolce; classic tiramisu
By the time we had eaten , drank and listened to the wonderful tales and slightly predictable jokes of our hosts , it was time for us to hit the road … I needed my beauty sleep as I was to be transformed into a star of the screen the very next day … but that’s a whole other story !!
We had a fantastic evening with great food , superb wines , fantastic hosts and lovely lovely company …..
Malmaison Birmingham holds many events like this throughout the year and if you get a chance I would definitely recommend attending ! I for one will be looking out for more and perhaps treating me and himself to another night out …… You can check out their website at www.malmaison.com
Many many thanks to the team at Malmaison Birmingham for this complimentary evening .