Le Chapitre…

I’m spending some time living with my grandparents in this run up to my visiting Australia. Yesterday I got an insight in to what they do during their extremely busy social lives. My first “grown up” wine do’ at Vintner’s hall in London. I almost wore a dress, but didn’t in the end. I’m not a dressy person. Thankfully, whilst the men wore black tie, the women dressed in a more smart/casual way.

Vintners hall

They had organised a group to travel in to London by minibus. I could get used to door-door service! We arrived in London as the sun was setting, passing the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and Billingsgate, before eventually arriving at the hall.

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Vintner’s is a grand building which dates back to the 15th century 1446 to be precise, though the current building was built (reopening in 1671) following the destruction of the original during the Great fire of London. Once used by Henry VIII who believed he was above paying for its use (though I wouldn’t have disagreed…), so instead promised the licence to hold swan uppery…and is still one of the only places in the UK where it is legal to eat swan.

Anyway, we left our coats before having a nose around the empty dining hall. It really is a beautiful building!

After making our way upstairs, I was introduced to many friends of my Grandparents and Parents – all members of Sacavin.


Champagne flowed, trumpets played, ceremony carried out, more trumpets played and before too long we were ushered back downstairs in to the dining room. Grandad – Sacavin’s Chef de Cuisine – gave a brief talk about the wine and food we were about to enjoy and, well, then we enjoyed it…



Crab and saffron panna cotta, with a crab and black petter tuile, lobster jus and samphire.

(Served with Menetou-salon Blanc Domaine Teiller 2012)



Roast fillet of beef and braised ox cheek, with Dauphinoise potatoes, red kale, heritage carrot ribbons and a red wine jus.

(Served with Chatea de la Roulerie Anjou Rouge Les Merances 2011)



Brie de Meaux, Bleu d’Auvergne and Ste-Maure Caprifeuille, grapes and celery.

(Also served with Chatea de la Roulerie Anjou Rouge Les Merances 2011)



Pear and Almond frangipane tart, with almond ice cream and caramel.

(Served with Coteaux de l’Aubance Domaine de Haute Perche 2013)


Coffee and chocolate



It was certainly an experience – food was delicious and the wine accompanied it perfectly. The servers obviously assumed that, because I was drinking the wine served to me, I wanted more. And more. And just a bit more. They kept refilling my glass! I do enjoy a glass of wine or three with a meal, but this was something else. We had to stand up to all toast someone/something…well you can imagine.


I’m slightly ashamed to say that my recollection of the rest of the evening is a bit patchy, so I’ll summarise:

Met some really nice people – was good to see one or two other “youngsters” (who am I kidding…). A petite lady called Shirley appeared from nowhere and took it upon herself to compliment my skin! Apparently I have perfect skin. Received a crash course in taking care of it. Oh Shirl.

Abandoned shoes.

Retrieved coat.

Was questioned if I was too young to be there, by someone who then gave me his life story. He was probably in his 40’s. He decided to say goodbye the French way (awkward, but what do you do in that situation?!) and was then jeered by our bus group who told him I was only 16. These people are nuts.

I was expecting a quiet bus ride back…seeing as we left the hall at 11:40pm and the average age on the bus – not including me – was about 80. Nope. Noise. Grandad walked down bus to talk to driver…on motorway…! LAD!

EVENTUALLY got home, having dropped everyone else home first (which involved a rather painful drive by of our house…).

Few glasses of water and bed. Grandparents still nattering away in to the early hours as I was falling unconscious in the front room. How do these retirees do it!?

I was rather smug this morning as I felt completely fine. Four hours later, the headache kicked in. Bugger. I blamed it on a busy day yesterday. Grandma suggested otherwise. I wasn’t drunk, just enjoyed [insert number here] glasses of very nice wine at a wine event.

Spending time with family and friends is so important to me before I go to Australia, particularly as I am not sure when I will return to the UK. Last night turned out to be far more enjoyable than I had imagined it would be. The company may have been generations older than me, but they were some of the friendliest and certainly the most interesting people I have ever met. I would definitely recommend joining, to anyone who is passionate about French wines. I’ll definitely be signing up as and when I return home.

Em xx

(PS – 25 days to go!!) 



One response to “Le Chapitre…

  1. Pingback: World’s Smallest Macaroons…. | Feeding the Travel Bug

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