Friday, 24 July 2009
Camino - The Art of Good Taste Masterclass
I managed to bag a couple of tickets to the Art of Good Taste Masterclass at Camino this week which is Spanish for path. Ironic really considering you have to venture off the beaten track to find it, King's Cross is not my favourite area of our city to be honest but I was really delighted by this venue. Once we found the place we head inside not knowing entirely what to expect.
Upon arrival we were given a glass of Tio Pepe which was constantly topped up. I've never been a huge fan of sherry, only succumbing to the occasional trifle laced with the stuff but Tio Pepe is great, very dry and served chilled, throughout the evening I learned that it can be consumed alongside most foods unlike a lot of wines.
First up my group visited Lorna Wing's table for some top tips for easy dinner party food. For starters there was a delicious dip of hummus, feta (my fave) coriander and pomegranate seeds. This was delicious and so simple. A brilliant flavour combination, plenty for us to nibble on with a good selection of crackers and breads.
Then there was a Big Tom gazpacho, served as a shot with a Tio Pepe ice cube, genius! Then came a simple interpretation of Pa amb tomaquet. This was a revelation, toasted rustic bread, rubbed with a garlic clove and a halved cherry tomato, finished with a drizzle of good olive oil and some sea salt. Delicious.
Lorna also made some skewers, both veggie (with peppers, artichoke and onion) and meaty ones (chorizo, sundried tomato and olive). I really enjoyed Lorna's presentation, she was full of great ideas. You can see read some more here.
Then we moved onto the wine tasting. The foods are always the highlight for me to be honest and I don't pretend to know anything about wine. I tend to stick to white wines because I'm not a huge fan of the tanic notes of red but the smooth oakiness of the 2006 Rioja Elaboracion Especial from Beronia converted me and this was by far my favourite of all the wines selected by Peter McCrombie.
There was a selection of nibbles here too including tender marinated slices of pork with apple sauce, nicely presented on spoons. There were some great octopus and new potato skewers too, we really were spoiled with the variety and quantities of the snacks.
Next up it was onto Darren Brown (of Shellseeker fame) and a quite dazzling display of fish. There were scallops, oysters and mackeral, all caught that morning off the devonshire coast. This was so fresh and delicious and brilliantly Darren had brought along plenty of scallops for the Camino guys to cook after the demonstrations. You can't get better than fresh shellfish in my opinion, I love Darren's stalls at Borough Market and The Covent Garden Food Market, he also supplies many London restaurants.
We were shown how to fillet the mackerel and then how to shuck oysters, and given one each with shallot and red wine vinegar. They were unbelievably good and the passion and expertise exhibited by Darren about his catch was amazing, I could have listened to him all evening!
Next for us was a presentation by Richard Biggs, owner of Camino, who demonstrated some excellent cocktail making skills accompanied by plates of manchego cheese, olives and a magnificent jamon. I was a little tiddly by this point but I remember being very impressed by the cocktails and the ham was seriously good stuff. For a few hundred pounds one can be yours and will last you around a year. I suppose that depends on how much you eat but it's certainly one of my aims in life to have one of these!
After this we were free to roam and chat, I saw a few familiar faces and made some new acquaintances. There was beer and more of the octopus, some prawns, blue cheese and steak canapes as well as a chance to chat to the experts. I enjoyed the evening immensely and have actually been converted to sherry, well Tio Pepe in any case. Unfortunately I got rather too involved in the festivities and had to trot off home to bed early so I missed out on my goodie bag, drats. This included a discount voucher for Camino but I had such a great time that I shall return nonetheless. Thanks Camino and Tio Pepe for a most enjoyable night.
3 Varnisher's Yard
The Regent Quarter
King's Cross, N1