My First Gourmet Life Event: Loire Valley Wine and Food Event at Brockencote Hall

A few posts ago, I told you about a scheme called Gourmet Life that allows you to support local producers and lets you save money on while you are doing it. Every so often, Gourmet Life hosts special foodie events at locations across the Midlands and Stuart and I were lucky enough to go to one such event last Thursday night.

This event was to celebrate Loire Valley wines which all came from one family, Domaine Cady from St. Aubin-de-Luigine. It was hosted by local esteemed food and wine writer, Philippe Boucheron at Brockencote Hall in Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire. All the wines that we drank were matched to a wonderful four course menu created by the head chef John Sherry.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Philippe who gave us a glass of Domaine Cady Crémant du Loire NV, which was a crisp and refreshing sparkling wine that tasted better than most champagne in my opinion. We tasted a few glasses of this, just to check it was lovely of course! After relaxing for a short time in the hotel lobby, we were invited to take our seats in the private dining room.

Once seated, we were given an Amuse Bouche of chilled pea soup with smoked olive oil, served in an espresso cup. I forgot to take a photo of this but I can tell you it was very yummy and was devoured by everyone on our table quite quickly. We were then served the wine to go with our first course which was, Domaine Cady Anjou Blanc 2008 which was a full bodied wine from the Chenin Blance grape. This was to accompany:

Crottin* de Chavignol Coulant Salade de Céleri branche, btterave et noix caramelisées


Soft Centre of Chavigon goats cheese with a salad of celery, beetroot and caramelised walnuts

*Crottin is local slang for tiny black goat’s droppings

Stuart and I are not great fans of beetroot, walnuts or goats cheese so this dish was not exactly our favourite, however we felt the wine complimented the dish perfectly as it was strong enough to shine through the goat’s cheese. The next wine for the fish course was then brought out, which was Domaine Cady Anjou Blanc Cuvée Cheninsolite 2008 which is another Chenin Blanc from a single select hectare on the Domaine Cady estate. The wine was golden in colour with fruit aromas and hints of vanilla, which accompanied:

Lassagne d’ Araignée de Mer à la Truffle et Soupe d’ Asperges


Spider Crab and Truffle Lasagne, Asparagus Soup

This dish was one of my favourites of the evening. It was a triumph. I have never tried spider crab before but in this dish, it was perfect. So light and full of flavour which the truffle and the asparagus soup complimented beautifully. The wine brought all the flavours together and let them all shine through on your palette. Two wines were then brought out to accompany the main course. The first and the cheaper of the two was, Domaine Cady Anjou Rouge 2007 and the second was Domaine Cady Anjou Villages 2006. Philippe wanted us to try both wines before the food and tell him which we thought was best and it was the second one. The first one was nice but not as smooth on the palette as the second one. These were to accompany:

Grenadin de Veau de Lait rôti et sa joue croquante

Galette de pomme de terre, petit legumes primeurs, créme de Morilles


Roast Fillet of Veal, Crispy Cheek

Potato cake, young spring vegetables, Morille cream

This dish was fantastic. The veal was cooked perfectly and the veal cheek was incredible. I have never tasted anything so good. It crispy and crunchy yet soft and sweet in the middle. I could eat an entire KFC style boxful of these beauties. It was the surprise of the entire evening and I loved it. The wine choice also changed as well as the less expensive bottle of wine tasted better with the main than the more expensive one did. This is strange but it does show how much food can affect the way you taste wine. A dessert wine was then brought out to conclude our meal which was Domaine Cady Coteaux du Layon St. Aubin 2007 which was another wine from the Chenin Blanc grape. I am not very keen on dessert wines but thought that this one was quite good as it was not as sweet as some of the other dessert wines I have tasted previously. This was to accompany:

Tarte aux Poires et aux Amandes

Ave Glace au Roquefort, Gelée de Muscat Noir et Caramels Salés


Pear and Almond Tarte Fine

With Roquefort Ice Cream, Black Muscat Jelly and Salted Caramel

I forgot to take a picture of the pudding as I think the vast quantities of wine that were going round had started to affect my head. Unfortunately, there were not too many things on this dessert that I liked. I loved the tart and the caramel. They were superb but I dislike blue cheese and I hoped that its flavour might be slightly muted as it was in the ice cream. However, it was not to be and the ice cream along with the harsh Muscat jelly took over everything else on the plate in my opinion. This was a shame as the other dishes were so good but I think Stuart and I were in the minority for disliking the dessert.

We had such a fabulous evening that I was even inspired to cook something from the meal at home over the Bank Holiday weekend. I decided to cook asparagus soup using some of the last of the current season’s asparagus. I roughly followed this recipe from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver and it was delicious. It was not quite good as the one I had at the restaurant but still very tasty and it will be my lunch at work for the next few days.

I would like to thank Philippe, James, Alison and all the rest of team which made the evening a great success. I will definitely be going to another Gourmet Life soon and I really want to go back to Brockencote Hall for another meal too.

Until next time, Happy Cooking! :-)

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5 Responses to My First Gourmet Life Event: Loire Valley Wine and Food Event at Brockencote Hall

  1. Thank you Jo for your very kind article on the event held at Brockencote Hall. A very informed and honest review, and hopefully gives a good ‘flavour’ of the sort of events we like to encourage and promote. We look forward to seeing you at our next Gourm-e vent, and offer your readers to keep in touch by joining our newsletter on our website – keep up the good work on behalf of the Midlands’ foodies! James Day, Editor.

  2. Good review Jo, detailed and very informative. Wish I could have joined you but cupcakes were on the menu! ;-) Hopefully we’ll both make it a future event so we can have meet again. x

    • Thank you Louise and James for your lovely comments. Louise, your review of Weston Park was fantastic too. James, Louise and I are planning something good for the Mids Food Bloggers meet up so we can hopefully see each other there too. :-)

  3. Hi Jo

    Thank you for an enjoyable read, Very sorry some items where not to your taste, but please feel free to mention next time you are in if theres something in a dish not to your liking. We are not all ogres in the kitchen at Brockencote, I’d like to think we try to come up with something special for every guest.

    PS if you would like the Asparagus soup recipe i will gladly share it.


    John Sherry
    Head Chef
    Brockencote Hall

    • Thanks for visiting my blog John. I loved the meal and I loved the tour of your new kitchen yesterday. I would like the soup recipe please. Stuart and I are already planning another visit to come for a meal again soon. :-)

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