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31st Féte d'Anniversaire at the Hilton Hotel

An evening of wine wine and food together with the intronisation of two new members….

It scarcely seemed a year since the splendour of our 30th birthday celebrations but the Fête d’Anniversaire came round again and some 80 Commandeurs, partners and guests gathered on a fine April evening at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester to enjoy an evening of fine wine and food.

We started in style with Taittinger champagne – one of the Commanderie’s favourites – and a plentiful supply of tasty canapes which threatened to take the edge off everyone’s appetite!

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The attendees then moved into the banquet hall followed by a procession of the Conseil in full robed grandeur for the ceremony of intronisation where two new members were formally inducted into the society. We are very happy to welcome Commandeurs Sophie Garside and Anthony Parker to our group.

After this ceremony we moved on to the chief business of the evening – the dinner. To start we enjoyed a smoked fishcake with capers, cornichons and lemon mayonnaise and very well matched with a lovely fresh white from Blaye – Chateau Beaumont les Pierrieres 2017. This is a recent discovery by our Vinothecaire,  and a very welcome one too! 

The main course was rump of lamb with kale and black pepper mash, heritage carrots and broccoli – well cooked and an excellent complement to what was for many the wine of the evening – a top chateau (La Lagune) from a stellar year (2000). Inevitably there appeared to be some bottle variation but all were enjoyed and the overall view was that the wine was probably at its peak.

Also close to its peak was the second red served with the cheese – Chateau Carbonnieux from another outstanding vintage – 2005. The chateau is unusual in Bordeaux in producing almost equal quantities of white and red wine and probably being more famous for its white. However the red showed elegance and length and was much appreciated.

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The food highlight of the evening was, for the writer at least, the dessert which was a very pretty raspberry and honeycomb cheesecake which unlike many such puddings tasted as good as it looked. The accompanying wine was from one of the great Sauternes estates Chateau Coutet, again from a good year – 2007. It was rich and long – very enjoyable on its own but not perfect with the dessert – matching wine and raspberries is nearly impossible but there was a perfect solution- eat the pud and drink the wine after!

At coffee the most social part of the evening took place as people moved round the tables to greet those who they hadn’t had a chance to see earlier – and then outside to cabs and trains, filled with memories of a splendid evening.

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Earlier Event: January 26
Bistro Night
Later Event: June 6
Annual General meeting and Dinner