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Meeting 394 -" Trafalgar Day Dinner"

Hosts: Carol and Ted Roffey
Friday 21st October 2016: Neville Hall, Waltham St Lawrence

              Celebrating Trafalgar Day

       It is good when a plan comes together: an offer from two of our longstanding Branch members, Carol & Ted Roffey, of wines from their cellar combined with the scheduling of a normal Branch meeting on the 21st October, allowed us to hold a very special dinner to celebrate the Victory of Lord Nelson over the French Armada in 1805. The original suggestion came from our Chairman, Colin Mair, who is himself an ex-naval officer. He met another member, Frank de Mengel, when they served together on HMS Apollo.
       From a historical perspective Trafalgar was a very important victory. It established the superiority of the British Navy and provided the basis of a hundred years of stability. This led to the growth of the Empire and the Industrialisation of the United Kingdom which makes Britain what it is today. Worth celebrating I'd say!
        We are very lucky that two of our Branch members, Charlotte Parratt (née Turner) and Frank de Mengel, agreed to prepare and cook the dinner itself. Charlotte used her cordon bleu abilities to produce fantastic canapés, starters of smoked eel & scallop salad and a delicious main course of Beef Wellington which is often served at such dinners. Meanwhile Frank used his chocolatier skills to present a magnificent "ships of the line" model of Nelson's flagship Victory complete with sails in white and dark chocolate, essential if we were to follow Naval traditions. Chocolate torten & raspberry desserts and rum truffles with coffee completed the dining element.
       To the wines from Carol & Ted, which were the starting point for the event, we added, as an aperitif, the Hope & Harrow, Brut Reserve, made by Henry Laithwaite. This is the first vintage released by Henry from his new vineyard & winery in Marlow and is a lovely full and fruity English sparkling wine which stands up extremely well against more traditional fizz and is already winning prizes.
       With the eel & scallop we served a Corton Charlemagne from Reine Pédauque, Grand Cru 1990 which was just about perfect, exhibiting some difference in maturity between bottles, but still excellent. There were two reds, both double decanted, with the beef: Château Prieuré Lichine, Margaux 4ème Cru Classé 1995 and a Chateau Cantemerle, Grand Cru Classé Medoc 1985. The Margaux was still young and fresh and might age for a few more years yet whilst the Medoc was probably at its peak for drinking, having a lovely dark red/brown colour and filling the mouth with complex flavours.
       The cheese course featured Bath Soft, as sent to Horatio Nelson by his Father, and Binham Blue from near Nelson's birthplace served with Pickled Pears and Homemade Oatcakes. Accompanying this course were a Beaune, Cru Champs-Pimont, 1990, from Joseph Faiveley and Dow's vintage port from 1983 in decanters, passed to the left of course!
       Many of the 48 members, including one guest, assembled for the event dressed up in DJ for the men and Cocktail outfits for the ladies. On display were a selection of medals including some from WW2 (one member), an MBE ( one member) and several IWFS 25 year medals. The glamour and decorations all added to the sense of occasion which ended with everyone singing traditional naval songs and raising toasts to the Queen and The Immortal Memory led by Colin. How soon before we can do this again?

       This article was written by Chris Graham and has been submitted for publication ib the IWFS Magazine
The Menu