Leiths School of Food and Wine looks to put an end to wine snobbery
Spittoons, glass swirling, slurping, aroma wheels… the world of wine has long been seen as confusing and exclusive, especially for those who can’t taste Jilly Goulden’s famous ‘absolute mangoes’ or ‘hot tarmac’ in their glass.
Yet approximately 8000 years since wine-making began, our thirst for knowledge is finally growing, with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust seeing a 17% increase in wine diploma applicants over the last academic year.
More than 70% of UK adults now drink wine as their alcohol of choice, making it the nation’s favourite drink above spirits and beer, and sales of specialist British sparkling wines are soaring.
“We’ve noticed increasing demand for no-nonsense wine knowledge,” says Camilla Schneideman, Managing Director of Leiths School of Food and Wine. “People want to learn how to choose a bottle that will bring out the flavours of their cooking at home, as well as how to navigate a wine list to find delicious options that will not break the bank.”
In response to this trend, Leiths has launched a new food and wine pairing class in partnership with Amelia Singer, who presents The Wine Show on ITV television.
Spending Saturday lunchtime at Leiths School of Food and Wine, students will watch as Leiths chef David Gee prepares an exclusive four-course menu, while Amelia selects complementary wines. Tasters of both food and wine will be presented to guests, as Amelia explains her choices and shares her extensive knowledge in her naturally clear, straightforward manner.
“We’re extremely excited to be part of this renaissance in the wine industry,” says Camilla, “Amelia has such a refreshing approach and teaches with clarity and a great sense of humour. It is exactly what’s needed to inspire a change in perception.”
The menu for 12th November has been designed by Leiths chef David Gee, who trained at UK number one restaurant L’Enclume which is well known for its exceptional wine list and pairings. It will include a mouth watering Scallop ceviche with sweet potato and sweetcorn, and tender Sea bass with Jerusalem artichoke puree, roasted garlic and oyster mushrooms.
Amelia’s Top Tips on Pairing Food and Wine
- What grows together goes together! This gives a good context and will get you at least 50% of the way to finding the perfect pairing.
- You have to listen to your mouth. Think about the foods having sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. Wine has sweetness, sourness, bitterness and also alcohol, oak and tannin. Work out which pairing gives you the most joy.
- Pair to compare or pair to contrast. For example think Oreo cookies and milk, which is sweet and sweet; or salted caramel pretzels and beer, which salty and bubbly. Pairing contrasting flavours is riskier but worth it for those eureka moments!
- Come to your senses – let your 5 senses guide your choices. Weight, volume, texture and temperature all need to be considered, complemented and possibly contrasted.