Written for the Monthly Wine Writers Challenge #23: “New”
I remember when the wife and I first picked up our dog Alfie. He was 8 weeks old, just this little ball of white fluff with two gigantic ears! When we got him home and let him loose on the flat his favourite thing was to bark at the annoying copycat in the mirror that kept mimicking his movements. I have a sad life, so this was one of the funniest/cutest things I’d seen in a long time.
It made me think about how exciting new stuff is. Stuff you’ve never experienced before. Sadly none of us can remember what it was like to be a young kid, experiencing everything for the first time. To be honest, most of the “first time” experiences I can remember I rather wish I couldn’t! But being part of the wine and food world, in no matter what guise, means that you get the opportunity to try new stuff all the time.
From a food point of view I’m having an absolute blast down at the Primrose Hill Market every Saturday. The lad on the stall behind me is Mr Fruit & Veg, and he’s been sorting me out with some stuff that’s been blowing my mind! Sticking fresh root horseradish into your mashed potatoes? Amazing! Golden beetroot in salads? Who knew? I love new things I’ve not tasted before, cos it just adds to the repertoire when you get into the kitchen later on.
The best thing in the wine world is that for 99.9999% of us, we’ve tried so much less than there is on offer, so we can always find something new. I love Italian wines cos there’s always some random grape that some convent has been harvesting for 100s of years that no-one’s ever heard about. Down in comes, all bottled up and ready for your first taste.
And when people in the wine press look for the next “big new thing” for us to go crazy about then we’re spoilt for choice. UK sparkling wine has been great for years, but I have to remember to the rest of the world it’s still a new thing. Enjoy people! For me it’s now having a go at Eastern Europe’s offerings. I had a belting Pinot Grigio the other night. Now I never thought I’d say that in my life, but step forward Hungarian winemakers! Nailed it boys and girls!
People who wonder what it takes to be classified as a foodie or a wine-o think it’s all about knowing all these facts and figures and all that. To me it’s just about an enthusiasm for the product, and a willingness to always try new things. It’s one of the reasons I’m most proud to be from the UK. We’ve got grub and booze here from all over the world and I try and eat and drink all of it if I can!
Keep enjoying new things, keep pushing your experience of what you put on your plate or in your glass. You won’t go far wrong!