Monday, 20 April 2009

Of Pike Sniggling, Real Wine and Chilli

I was on a farm at the weekend, and narrowly missed going "pike sniggling". Not that I had the slightest clue what that involved. Having served my time in rural Australia, whenever confronted by such alarming expressions, I know very well to conceal my ignorance, lest one ends up the butt of a well-planned practical joke. With the poacher's visit in "Withnail and I" in mind, I merely bade my host the very best of luck. But, today I Googled the expression, and landed upon this helpful tome:

Amongst "Hunting, Dogs, Ferreting, Hawking, Trapping, Shooting, Fishing and Other Miscellaneous Activities" Mr Cameron (no relation, I'm sure) deals with "Wiring jack and pike Sniggling and spearing eels...". My search also revealed this enthralling exchange on I'm not entirely sure where this fits in the liberal firmament, but doubtless someone will help me out in the comments.

Meanwhile, with summer on the way at last I've finally got round to placing an order for a Prosecco from Serre I tried at a recent quiz night, now available through The Real Wine Company. There are three in the range, with the Valgres winning a Silver at last year's Wine Challenge in London. For a clue as to whether this stuff is worth drinking, Mark Hughes, founder of the Real Wine Co, explains his approach thus:
"I have spent my entire professional life in the Wine Trade as, amongst other things, Wine Controller for Safeway and UK Sales and Marketing Director for Hardy's Australian Wines. The Real Wine Company was the result of a Victor Meldrew-like rant against the impossibility of finding real wines which make you sit up and take notice. Over the years I have discovered gorgeous wines from around the world made by individual wine producers passionate about their wines. We created The Real Wine Company to showcase these wines and winemakers."
Good enough for me. As is the Wine Society, where I also buy a bit. Okay, okay, a lot.

And while I'm on authentic rural pursuits, I note that the Benington Chilli Festival is happening again in August. Now in its fourth year, it's proving something of a magnet for the chilli cognoscenti, with stalls featuring every incarnation of the fiery fruit - from seed to plant to lacing chutneys and other harmless looking concoctions, and cooked in all manner of dishes - all amidst the glorious setting of the Lordship Gardens. Great day trip. See you there.

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