Recently we received an invitation to a pop-up event in Stanley & Ramona at which there would be a variety of French-themed food and drink pairings available. The people organising this were ‘a pair of dirty pigs’, two friends who decided that the next step their shared love of food should be offering their expertise to was staging a pop-up. I have to admit to having doubts about the choice of Stanley & Ramona as a venue. While it’s forged an excellent reputation in its own right for serving fantastic coffee and notably good gluten free cake, it’s undeniably small and doesn’t have a loo. Still, the pair, Tom & Warren to name them, clearly had enthusiasm, so I accepted their invitation and I found myself fighting through the racecourse’s disgorged populous which was clutching, variously, high heels, luminous drinks and shreds of dignity.
Shoe-horning myself onto a table to share with the illustrious Jill Turton, I grabbed a look at the menu and decided to start with the Fourme d’Ambert with lavender honey paired with a Pinot Gris. The plate was garnished with a few pine nuts and was absolutely delicious. The combination of blue cheese, sweet honey, soft lavender and light Pinot Gris was wonderfully judged so I didn’t hesitate in selecting another pairing: venison with eucalyptus and sage paired with a Beaujolais gave a lovely combination with an interesting mystery ingredient, the identity of which will remain secret of course!
Before long Jill made her way into the evening between the heavy showers and I was joined by the Puboholic, who provided enough appetite to get through the majority of the combinations on offer. Each of the pairings we tried demonstrated a deft ability to combine flavours and textures with the accompanying drink. It must be said that the event didn’t run entirely smoothly, yes it was a crush and a few minor things were overlooked, but equally so, the offering was extremely enjoyable and prices fair. I don’t doubt that the A Pair of Dirty Pigs guys have learnt a huge amount from this experience and that they’re already plotting the next event, which I’m equally confident will be a great success.