Fancy a drink?

Last week was all about beer, so to even things out a little, this week is about wine and cocktails. But of course, we need some food to go with that. Here is my round up of food and drinks events that you really should check out.

Would you like wine with that? 

Any excuse to go to Darcy’s is a good one, so I am delighted to hear about the Introduction to Wine lunches that are happening there. The Hertfordshire Wine School will be on hand to improve your knowledge of wine. You start at 11.30 with a glass of champagne, learn about wine, have a fab three-course lunch, and learn more about wine until you leave at 4.30. David Rough from the HWS will take you through a tutored tasting of ten wines, so you can justify the whole thing as being educational. You should come away with a better understanding of what food and wine goes well together. Ruth Hurren, the chef at Darcy’s is Australian so I would imagine there will be some very good Oz wines to try. The June one is sold out, but the next is Saturday 16th July (cost £75).

The Hertfordshire Wine School is a gem. Courses start at just £20, and the courses are un-pretentious as well as excellent value. I went to the Intro to Wine course, and one of the things I really liked is that many of the wines you try comes from local shops, including Flagship, Cellar Door and Rollings. Everything we tried was delicious, and cost under £10 a bottle. It proves that you don’t need to buy wine from a supermarket, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. We tried 8 wines, and were told lots of information about regions, how to taste, ideas for food matching and what wines are great value at the moment. David even threw in some book and film recommendations.

The HWS can help you work towards your Wine & Spirit Education Trust exams, or you could try the 4-week Tour de France course that starts on 7 July in Harpenden (£45). You will taste wines from all the major wine-producing regions including The Loire, Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Burgundy, Rhone and Bordeaux. I think that must be the perfect Father’s Day gift (THIS SUNDAY!). You can buy gift vouchers for any course. For more info call David Rough on 01582 768716 or go to

Rollings Wine Company in Harpenden is hosting an Italian Food and Wine tasting on 30th June. Look out too for their Royal Ascot Picnic Collection that contains Champagne, Pimms No 1, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir for £73.40. They hold tastings every weekend.

Our very own vineyard 

Our nearest vineyard Frithsden is holding a Food and Drink Festival on Saturday 9th July 12-5. You will be able to buy their rosé and solaris wines, and there will be lots of food stalls including a bbq, cheese, eggs, apple juice, homemade lemonade, cupcakes, chutneys and jams. Leukemia Research will be selling teas and cakes. The Village Flapjack Company will be there too. The vineyard is near Hemel and right next to The Alford Arms, which is a terrific gastro pub (winner of the Hertfordshire Dining Pub of the Year for the sixth time in The Good Pub Guide).

Frithsden do homemade cakes and tea on Saturdays and Sundays, and starting from Saturday 18th June (until early September) they will sell light lunches too. The vineyard is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11-6. Well worth a trip over there.


Mokoko and Heaven is a Cupcake are joining forces for a Cocktail and Cupcake Night on Tuesday 28th June 7.30pm at Mokoko (Verulam Road, St Albans). You will learn how to decorate cupcakes and make your own cocktails to accompany them. The cost is £30 and you will have cakes to take home. Heaven is a Cupcake are well-known for their cocktail cupcakes including Strawberry & Raspberry Daiquiri, Chocolate Mojito, Frangelico and Pina Colada, so I can see why the two have come together. Lucy is working on a special Mokoko cupcake too. Email to book your place.

Stirred not shaken

I am making my own summer cocktails at the moment mixing fruit syrups from Childwick Preserves with Prosecco. I’ve popped some borage flowers grown from Earthworks in there too. Elderberry and Blackberry is my favourite; I’m not sure if it has a name – perhaps a Bramble? Andie Hill makes the syrups using fruit from the Childwickbury Estate and sells them at the annual fairs, as well as her fruit sweets and jams. The next Arts Fair will be 1-3 July.




About thelocalfoodie

Food writer for The Herts Advertiser.
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