My most memorable meal: Helen McGinn, wine expert
March 12, 2013
Posted in Memorable Meals
So, I’ve narrowed down my most memorable meal to one of three. It could be the first time I tasted scallops, hand caught off the west coast of Scotland and cooked simply in butter, washed down with a dram (I was in Scotland, after all). Or, it could be the time I had the most beautiful bowl of bolognese in Bologna, with my husband. The restaurant was a recommendation from an Italian winemaker, and it was indeed full of Italians. Always a good sign when the restaurant is full of locals. But instead, I’m going to go for a meal that is memorable not just for the food, but for the people and the place.
It was in our garden last year, and we had six adults and seven children round the table, all family. It was a very last minute Sunday lunch outside – unexpected sunshine – so I threw two chickens in the oven, covered in butter, with a lemon up each backside (sorry). There was a lentil & tomato salad, a huge green salad and a pile of new potatoes from my mother-in-law’s garden. The wine was red, English (I know!) and served in small tumblers, slightly chilled. After lunch, the children ran amok catching (imaginary) robbers and we chatted on into the afternoon until the sun disappeared behind the trees. I felt very at home.
Helen McGinn writes the brilliant, award winning Knackered Mother’s Wine Club blog – which won her International Wine & Spirit Blogger of the Year 2012 and a wine column for one of Britain’s best selling newspapers. Pan Macmillan has just published her first book, which was inspired by the blog. She also runs Helen McGinn Associates, a wine marketing agency that offers everything from brand development to PR, wine writing and retail strategy. Busy, busy.
Helen’s blog is a refreshing and entertaining guide to accessible wines. Each week she recommends an affordable bottle of red and white that are easy to find in supermarkets and wine merchants across the UK. She writes beautifully about them too; she did spend the best part of a decade travelling the world as a wine buyer, she knows her way around the wine rack.
I described her blog as refreshing because it really is. She clearly understands, loves and respects wine yet doesn’t boggle the reader with jargon, or choose wines that are too expensive for the casual, bottle of wine at the weekend drinker. She shares her extensive wine knowledge in a casual and easy way and I’ve followed her recommendations and bought wines from Asda, Aldi and Waitrose, they were all winners.
If you want to learn a little bit about wine or just avoid doing what I usually do and stand looking half sharp in the wine aisle then I thoroughly recommend a visit to Helen’s blog. Or better still, buy the book.