Following on in my little mini series about Booths Christmas, I absolutely simply must tell you about their Christmas spirit. Well, ok, not spirits, but certainly their wine and beer range. During the Christmas preview evening, there was a chance to sample some of the fine tipples, and the first supplier was particularly focusing on a sweet wine. As I like my white wine drier than the Sahara in a heatwave, I politely declined sampling the Paul Cluver, Noble Late Harvest Reisling. Instead I chose a sample of the rather drinkable red wine, Rustenberg RM Nicholson, which was spicy, rich and plum-y – all the things I enjoy in a red, and I could easily imagine sitting in front of the fire with a
glass bottle, whiling away the evening with a cheeseboard and good friends. Having previously turned the dessert wine down, listening to supplier David Cartwright extol its virtues I was intrigued enough to give it a go, and I am certainly glad that I did! Although undoubtedly sweet, the wine was very natural with honey and apricot flavours seeping in, rather than the syrupy sweetness that has put me off dessert wines in the past. For me, it would be a wine to have instead of dessert, rather than alongside, but the hint of lime that cut through the sweetness made it a very pleasant tipple indeed.
Having had a little of the Rustenberg, it would be rude not to follow it with cheese, and thankfully for me there were not one, but two cheese suppliers in attendance at Booths. First up, Wensleydale Creamery, from nearby Hawes, with their signature Kit Calvert, a creamy, buttery cheese, which is so smooth it virtually melts in the mouth. What’s not to like? This was followed by Dewlay Cheesemakers‘, from Garstang, who were showcasing their Tasty Lancashire cheese alongside the Garstang Blue, and new Garstang White. I have always thought of Lancashire cheese as being crumbly, but the award-winning Tasty Lancashire is much firmer due to the 8-12 months maturing process it undergoes, and, for me, this makes it a far better cheese. I’d definitely recommend trying it yourself if you’ve been put off traditional Lancashire cheeses due to the crumbly-ness (whats the point of ending up with half the cheese on the board, not the cracker?!) and the maturity makes the flavour better too, in my humble opinion.
If you aren’t a wine and cheese type, (and if not, why not?) Booths also offer an extensive range of beers, with a tendency towards local ales that isn’t usually seen in other large supermarkets. Mr will often make up an excuse to visit Booths, and I feel sure it has something to do with the otherwise hard to find craft ales! Unfortunately I didn’t get much time to chat to the lovely lady from Moorhouse’s Brewery, but she did manage to make me a “Black Witch” cockt-ale (see what I did there?) using half Black Cat and half Blond Witch. It was delicious, and a great one for Halloween this weekend, if you are planning a party. The Lancashire-based brewery certainly knows their stuff, and with a brewing history dating back to 1865, it’s not hard to see why they regularly rack up new awards. If you prefer your ale dark and rich, Black Cat is perfect, or for a lighter beverage, I’d recommend Pendle Witches Brew. A glass of that is the ideal way to celebrate over the festive period, best enjoyed with a selection of snacks, or better still, leftovers from the fridge!
Booths beer ranges vary over the year, and Christmas is a particularly good time to pick up special festive ales, perfectly crafted to drink alongside your turkey and sip with Christmas pudding. They also offer vintage ales, designed to be stored and the flavour allowed to develop, as with a fine wine. Give it a try, and taste the change in flavour between the years.
Please remember to always drink responsibly! www.drinkaware.co.uk