The Midland Hotel was the chosen for our 30th Fête d’Anniversaire and we had all the ingredients for an excellent birthday party; and enjoyable celebrations they were too!
This iconic hotel and its great entertaining spaces were well used by Commandeurs, and our guests from France (despite significant travel disruption) and across the United Kingdom.
The venue was ideal with its generous space, high ceilings, large windows and history since its Victorian creation, as the venue where Mr. Rolls met Mr. Royce, and (somewhat later) where David and Victoria Beckham had their first date, and described by some as a “20th century Palace”.
We at least had the privilege of the High Sheriff rather than Royalty!
The party gathered a little earlier than normal to take advantage of the interesting tasting of kindly donated wines from our friends in the Cru Bourgeois and some very good quality St. Emilion wines from the Jurade. The charming wood panelled room enabled members of the Commanderie and their guests to meet and discuss the merits of the wide range of wines on offer.
We also had the pleasure of welcoming back our previous Vinothecaire, who everyone was pleased to see back; with David and Di both looking so well!
The party then moved to the Trafford Suite where the main ceremony and meal were held.
A small procession of the Maîtres then led to welcomes and hearty congratulations on our increasing maturity within the growing family of Commanderie chapters.
The food and the wines lived up to the importance of the occasion with each course and wine having the opportunity to star; with even the lime and basil sorbet worthy of a mention.
To start with, the richness of the Smoked salmon millefeuille was very well matched to the oakey and unctuous Clos Marsalette Blanc 2012, A.O.C. Pessac-Léognan to get the meal off to an excellent start.
The venison was also richly flavoured but not so as to spoil the delicious Château Léoville-Barton 2002, 2ième Cru Classé A.O.C. St-Julien
Mrs. Kirkham’s cheese made it’s customary appearance and went exceedingly well with the Château Brane-Cantenac 2009, 2ième Cru Classé A.O.C. Margaux though the Lancashire cheese perhaps was not as special as the “very sexy” (as described in the notes) wine!
For those whose highlight of the meal is the desserts with the desert wine, the excellent Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2001, 1ière Cru Classé A.O.C. Sauternes provided a fitting and high-quality end to the meal with the acidic bite of the raspberry desert.
It then remained for us to thank the staff at the Midland and give the customary toasts.
Manchester, the Commanderie and the Midland were in good heart and look set for many more happy years of collaboration, as we made our way home after a very enjoyable evening, despite the traditional rain that accompanied us!