An evening of vibrant flavours with the nation’s favourite Rioja; Campo Viejo & the East Dulwich Supper Club

When our head chef left to return home to Spain it was a sad day in the kitchen here at 11b.  We miss you Natalia Pererrio, you know we do… much in fact that in a bid to feel you are still here with us, we partnered with Campo Viejo and produced an almost authentic Spanish meal which we know you would have been proud of.  Had you been in London, I am sure we would have brought Spain to Dulwich for the day!

Canapes were served on arrival with Campo Viejo Tempranillo Blanco Viura a fresh white wine whose acidity and tropical notes balanced the spiciness and richness of our canape selection perfectly. I especially enjoyed it with the Chilli, Garlic Prawn Skewers, the combination of flavours was stunnning.

Having made croquettas the Spanish way with a very thick béchamel sauce and the most delicious salted cod (Bacalao) we served these delightful delicacies with Romesco Sauce and Campo Viejo Garnacha; a red wine, not the white that most of us default to when eating fish.  However, the savoury Romesco sauce and salty cod balanced perfectly with the freshness, juiciness and red fruits of this wine, a really pleasant surprise for me and definitely a lesson learnt!

For our main course, the Pork was rubbed in fennel seeds, salt and pepper and left to infuse overnight before being rinsed and cooked for 4 hours in a little stock, fennel, onion, carrot and celery on the base.  My cheffy secret is that I often a cheeky potato or two which I gleefully enjoy at the end of cooking as it contains all the salty flavours of the meat.

To add a nod to the date – Halloween Eve – we used some of our home grown allotment pumpkins to make a puree and had that as a base.  Red Cabbage (my absolute favourite) was braised for a couple of hours and served as a side and bowls of crispy roast potatoes were the finishing touch, crunchy on the out side, fluffy on the inside – too good to only be seen on a Sunday roast!  This was served with Campo Viejo Reserva whose complexity and structure perfectly complemented these autumn and winter flavours – this pairing was looooooved by everyone.

Our dessert of Quince and Apple Crumble with pouring cream was offered the Spanish way – with a Cava, for us Brits this may feel strange, but it worked perfectly and made me wonder why on earth we don’t serve it with every dessert?  The biscuit buttery topping on the Apple and locally harvested Quince worked perfectly with the elegant and complex bubbles of Campo Viejo Cava Reserva, refreshing the palate after this most luscious and warming of desserts.

For me, as a chef, this was an incredibly exciting and interesting evening, and unlike most events, I was cooking, eating AND tasting the wines throughout – to the stage where at one point I did think dessert might not happen! But like all professionals, and in the words of Keith Floyd, the show must go on and it did in fine style and high spirits!!

I managed to remember to take lots of photos – juggling pots, pans, wine glass, knife, fork AND phone – not sure how I managed it – hope you enjoy them. and feel tempted to join us on the next one as Campo Viejo was born from a desire to create a wine for sharing! Three entrepreneurs, Juan Alcorta, Jose Ortiguela and Jose Bezares came together with a passion to create a wine that would bring families and friends together to enjoy wine, laughter, stories and food, and there is no doubt that they achieved just that at our evening!