To stay on top of the wine and food pairing game, Carolyn Martin and Daniela Messina recently jetted off again, this time to explore some of the hottest cuisine spots in the UK and Europe. The trip brought them into contact with an exciting diversity of influences, both cultural and culinary, which says Carolyn, always triggers the imagination and is a wonderful source of inspiration. Last week she reported on the first leg of their trip; here is her account of their visit to Prague.
I’m always a little sad when waving goodbye to London, it was after all my home for almost ten years during the 90s. The prospect of Prague as our next destination however perked us up and we were certainly not disappointed. Starting with our accommodation – Hotel Josef in the centre of the Old Town – beautiful, vibrant Prague was as always a rare pleasure!
Hotel Josef is really the perfect accommodation when visiting the city. They have a great little guide called ‘Taste Prague’ in each room and the concierges are super helpful. Navigating the fascinating streets and alleyways was therefore no problem and of course in Prague all roads lead to Charles Bridge …
Being one of the few cities in Europe that escaped the bombings of World War II, Prague still has much of its original architecture intact. My favourite is Charles Bridge which, completed at the beginning of the 15th Century, is adorned with Baroque-style statues erected during the 17th Century. What stories this bridge must have to tell considering the millions of people having passed over it!
Evening One saw us presenting a tasting at Café Louis Výtoň and how rewarding to see our wines doing so well in this new trendy restaurant. It has a stunning deli with a superb charcuterie and cheese counter and serves the best galettes you can imagine – just perfect when paired with our wines.
Prague really made an impression on us. It seems to be the drinks capital of the world whether you’re enjoying homemade lemonade, gin, tonic or other types of infusion or brew. It also seems to be a city of young people, showing enormous growth potential. Statistics tell us that some 1.3 million people live in Prague while over 8 million tourists visit the city each year. The food scene is blooming and there are two 1-star Michelin restaurants. We had the pleasure of visiting Field, where the dress code is smart-casual and the cuisine amazing. When I looked at the wine list I somewhat impulsively decided: seeing that I was lucky enough to taste many of these wines with our friends in the wine industry around the world in situ, I was going to try Field’s non-alcoholic pairings. This was done not only for my own diversion but with a view to developing Creation’s non-alcoholic offerings. And what an inspiration! From this experience we have now developed a range of six cordials with which I am experimenting and will be testing on clients willing to play along in the Tasting Room. Many of our clients enjoy getting involved and their feedback often serves to drive our innovations.
But back to Prague. The last restaurant we visited is the superb Nejen Bistro where the menu is impressive yet at the same time unpretentious. A delicious example is the unusual mushroom dish, served with an egg in the centre, croutons, juniper berries, pine needles and shallots. Desserts range from sorrel ice cream to a strawberry and rhubarb tart with white chocolate cream, chocolate cake crumble and flowers.
And on that delectable note we had to pack our bags again, bidding a fond farewell to Prague the next morning and saying a happy hallo to the Netherlands that afternoon.