"Sorry for the absence, my mother passed away and I have needed some time to recover from this sad loss. Mooiman and I missed the planned demonstration we were to do at Addington Manor during the Brightwells Auction because of my recent bereavement. Sometimes things happen and you suddenly take a step back and reevaluate the importance of life.
On the home front, all of a sudden winter is upon us. I feel I have gone back in time to the beginning of the year! Taps are frozen and we've got hose pipes coming from the utility room to the stables; the walker's doing overtime and we are catching up on all those little jobs that never get done like oiling the tack, pulling manes, clipping, de-cobwebbing and cuddling the newly weaned baby horses.
A new project recently arrived for me to ride. He is seven year old Ferdie who has come from Holland and been scoring 69% over there. We think he will be a very interesting prospect for an ambitious young rider to enjoy some medium level success. Barinka hfd qualified in her first two outings for the winter regionals, so we more to look forward to after the Christmas break.
Mooiman is enjoying a little rest period now and I'll lighten his work for a few weeks - just enough for him to stay physically fit without losing muscle tone, so short sessions with rhythm changes with collection and loosening work for very short periods, then a nice long hack around the arena is his current regime.
With Santana hfd making the highest price at the Equine Elite Auction we have been able to introduce some new blood to the stallion barn for the 2011 season. The new boy is a coloured stallion called Spyder hfd. He is AES Licensed by Sanyo x Sambuco B. He's a beautiful coloured German Warmblood with great breeding for both dressage and jumping.
The AES system explained
For those confused by the different terminology of the different studbooks, when referring to stallions successful at grading with the AES studbook, these are the categories:
Registered: This is the basic level of grading and normally young stallions attending their first grading would enter at this level if graded. Registered Grade stallions can cover up to 10 of their owner's mares per annum.
Licensed: At this level a stallion should be competing in age classes and can cover up to 30 mares per annum and strand at public stud.
Approved: This is the maximum level of grading and usually applies to stallions competing or that have competed at an International level. Also with proven offspring. Approved Grade stallions can cover an unlimited number of mares. Mooiman hfd is Approved.
Approved Elite: Stallions are given Elite status subject to the judges' discretion and based on proven competition and offspring success at the highest level.
The passports issued for the offspring are exactly the same and are equal in quality.
Ongoing online wrangling
In the blogosphere the war of words continues (the you-know-who blog realy unearthed a can of worms, or should I say a bucket of boa constrictors!). Any of you who read breeders thread regarding our new stallion Spyder hfd on the Horse & Hound forum can be reassured by the statement we made on the hfd Facebook page. We chose not to join the H&H debate as it didn't really carry any very interesting or thought provoking topics, but we did get quite a lot of free advertising for dear little Spyder. His message is well and truly on the airwaves - we have eight bookings for 2011 resulting from the forum.............GREAT!
Maybe we should all go on Jeremy Kyle? I might give him a call.
Meanwhile we keep our ponies warm, cosy, watered and fed. A little piece of advice: Don't forget to take the chill off water buckets - we don't want colicy ponies as well as these arctic temperatures. Keep warm everyone!"
“I am typing this blog instead of fishing a match at Hartleylands due to the current cold snap freezing over the lakes at the Kent venue and other options on my fixture list have also been iced off. With the cold snap being forecast for the next few days or so I have decided to put back the Bury Hill Christmas Open for two weeks until the 15 December, when hopefully conditions would have improved for the better. Fishing is still going on at Bury Hill with at least 35% of the pegs fishable thanks to the pumps keeping the lake water moving around so that is good news for the predator anglers still wishing to chuck out a dead bait or two.
With next week’s club match in the balance at Monk Lakes where it will be the semi-finals of the pair’s event, I will be keeping my options open for a visit down the river should the intended match be called off. Cold weather does not bother me and while there is every chance of my float going under then my enthusiasm is still as passionate as in the summer months. One plus of being out in the countryside on cold winter and frosty days is the fantastic scenery and some of the views take for some superb photographs. I always take my camera with me for a shot of a bonus fish but also for the winter scenes that I regularly witness on my travels in the Surrey, Kent and Sussex countryside. Another plus is I get to see on many occasions my favourite bird the Robin Redbreast which I always feed with a few maggots and there is no better site when one of the friendly chaps perch themselves on the end of my rod tip as I sit quietly by the river’s edge waiting for a bite.
Over the Christmas period I am hoping to take advantage of some winter filming for The Obsessed Angler series down my local river and if it is a frosty day then some of the scenery will be fantastic to catch on film, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the conditions I want will present itself.
Here are some photographs I have taken that capture fishing in the winter time, as you can see there are some stunning scenic shots.
“Another adventure on Saturday meant that I loaded up a small demonstration team of dogs into the truck and drove to Southampton ferry port to make an epic voyage across the water. Well, epic for me anyway. Our destination was the Isle of Wight. Once again, I went by myself. My last trip to London ended in tears and resulted in me missing my train, so setting off on a channel sea crossing without supervision was probably not a good idea! Sir Frances Drake eat your heart out. Not only did I get myself onto the correct ferry but successfully made the sea crossing and navigated my way to Scats in Newport. Marvellous!
An amazing headliner
We were there as part of a pet and equestrian day with the legendary Olympic event rider Mary King headlining the show. Mary gave a presentation about her life to date and what an amazing woman! Event riders (check out H&C’s own Sharon Hunt) have got to be the toughest, most hard working, courageous and dedicated sports men and women in the world. Having evented horses myself as a total amateur, my admiration for them is immense. In fact, when you see the fences that they take on at the top level, I sometimes question their sanity - no offence meant!
Apollo, Sid, Kizzy, Jig and Henry were fantastic. Our demos were delivered in a really small arena; this type of demo is very different to the much larger game fair arenas that we usually work in. The audience are right there with you, its very personal, and on the occasions when I get it right, very rewarding.
Our bronze and silver Gundog Training Courses came to a conclusion and assessment day last Sunday. We do every thing possible to get these guys to feel good and relax as they arrive at the Mullenscote Training Centre. Tests, assessments, exams, competition change our whole demeanour; I know from my own experience just how much these pre-exam nerves can influence a dogs behaviour. Managing these nerves is very much part of a competitors skill, get it right and it could enhance you and dogs performance. Too many nerves and this could well be picked up by your dog and be the reason for a negative transformation.
Working alongside clients and their dogs is fascinating; the roller coaster ride that many of the handlers experience can wear really heavy on them midway through the course. These guys have worked so hard over the last six weeks to improve their handling skills, the results from the assessments are proof of the pudding. Congratulations to all of you, ‘great job’ as they would say in America.”
"I am writing this in the half hour window I have in the morning before I have to go and pick the children up and all hell breaks loose again at 10am!
I didn't think I was exciting enough to write a blog, but H&C have told me otherwise and persuaded me to give it ago. Do let me know if I bore you!
My big news this week is that Mr President ('Rimmer') and I will be competing at Olympia. I found out I had got in by email and before I had even replied to say yes, the news was up two minutes later on the British Dressage website, so they must have presumed I would say yes, which of course I did.
But at the moment Mr P does not look like a grand prix horse. He is in the field and resembles a shaggy mule. He hates being clipped with a passion and actually squeals like a pig throughout, so if we weren’t going to Olympia I was hoping to get away with not clipping him this year. But the deed must be done now and I have three weeks to turn the ugly duckling into a swan.
I took him to Richard Davison’s yard to be shod yesterday (I have used Richard’s remedial farrier ever since Rimmer’s suspensory ligament injury in 2008) and I made him promise not to look at the hairy thing in the corner having his shoes done.
The children think Richard is “scaaaary” because he says hello to the horses but doesn’t talk to them. A squeak from one of them during a lesson can get daggers, so Simon very much has his work cut out there!
Other than the more-than-fulltime job of getting the children through each day, my job is as a minewater geochemist. After all the coalmines closed, the groundwater pumps were turned off and the mines flooded, and the water became contaminated. Our job is to work out how to clean the water before it gets into the rivers and streams.
I’ve always kept up the day job (so to speak), which is why I've always classed myself as an amateur. I'm still working now, though a lot of it is from home and I just go into the office for meetings. The flexibility suits my generally hectic lifestyle!
Horses at home
We have six and a half horses at home at the moment (pregnant mare counts as one and a half!) including my three year old daughter Annabel’s 10hh black Shetland, and Simon and I are up at 5.50 each morning to get them done and exercised by 8am.
I can’t wait to see the Shetlands at Olympia, they are like Christmas come early. I’m always amazed by how much tinsel and sparkles they pile on them – if I put all that near any of my horses’ stables, they would eat the lot.
A reformed character
The other horse I ride at the moment is Mr Hide. As in Jekyll and Hide. He is Hide because that’s the evil one. This horse has pushed us to the limit. We couldn t have sold him as no one would have bought him. He put Simon in hospital when he kicked him and has floored me six times, I’ve had some truly incredible bruises. Even the local farmers talked about ‘this nutty horse’.
When he was at his worst, i told Simon he had to go, even if it was to the knackers. After a particularly bad fall from him which stopped me riding for over a month, I didn’t even want to look at him.
Simon believed in him and got on him and hacked him for five months. I had nothing to do with him; I wouldn’t even turn him out in the field. But Simon was cunning and eventually got me down to the school. I finally got back on and since then we have grown closer and closer. He is instinctive like a mustang – act now think later. The journey this horse has come on is amazing; if you think the leap from prelim to grand prix is big, this horse has made an even bigger leap than that already.
He is now five and we have just qualified at medium. ‘Clyde’ will now trust me even if he is truly terrified. He came from the same yard as Mr P and I was hoping for a similar horse, but no! He is sharp as stink and neurotic as hell but we always said that if we could get past elementary without him killing us then he could go all the way to grand prix. He is now turning into a lovely horse – he has so much energy. This is one horse where YOU DO NOT KICK!
A champion in the making?
The other horses at home are youngsters and we have a broodmare in foal too. She is a Dutch harness mare and she’s in foal to Waldemar, the champion Dutch harness stallion.
Hopefully she will have a colt as I think it would be the only Dutch harness stallion in the UK. Obviously he would have to have the right movement and temperament, but if he did, we would plan to keep him entire as I think the breed has so much to offer to the dressage world in terms of movement. They have a huge amount of cadence with really good hocks and high knee action. Or it could be a filly!
The mare has already had a foal by Donnerschwee. She’s now a yearling and is really fabulous – she has the ability to come up through the knee but has the grace of the dressage horse too.
She’s big and brown with hardly any white – mum has four whites and dad is black so I had ordered black with four white socks but it wasn’t to be. This time I’ve threatened Ancie and if the foal doesn’t have four whites, there’ll be trouble!
Dare to demo
The other thing going on at the moment is something that cropped up on the BD forums on a thread about who people would like to have a demo with. I never thought I would be of interest for that sort of thing as I just do what I do with my horses, and have never really thought about doing demos. I am no Carl but it’s an idea that’s been circulating. I’m not sure if I am brave enough to put myself and my horses out there (and pray they behave themselves!) but it might happen.
Anyway, I must go as I have to do the food shopping before picking up the children!”
"As a keeper I get asked what is expected of my dog on shoot day, that really depends on what they are doing.
For beating I like a dog that is under strict control at all times; a dog that runs amuck in the line can be devastating with birds flying every way, but a good dog man is worth his weight in gold. This is particularly true towards the end of the season when the pheasants are sitting tight and can easily be walked over and, at that time of year, sometimes every bird counts; a good dog will not let you down and on some shoots, the dog man is paid a premium wage for his expertise.
Picker ups dogs
Picker ups need to have dogs that are game finders, there is a big difference between a good picker up's dog and a field trail dog. The trail dog if worked by a trailer will only pick one or two birds that the handler knows are down and dead, and that’s it! You might ask, why? Well, if they let their best dog hunt too much for too long, it will ruin them for trailing. Picker up dogs are never going to win any trails, but they do what I and every keeper in the country wants - they are cast out and they hunt, find a birds, and every bird found is money in the bank for the estate or farmer.
The gun dogs can really do no wrong as they are paying for the day. Over the years I have seen some fantastic peg dogs that do what is expected of them, sit throughout the drive without moving a muscle and then when the drive is finished they are worked onto each and every bird the gun has shot. Then there is the dog that runs from bird to bird during the drive often dragging a cork screw peg or the guns seat or once I saw a dog with another younger dog attached to it and its owner believing it would keep the younger dog safe from bad habits! As I have said, that is their prerogative. As long as the dog does not end up in the drive, or the next one that’s fine with me."
"As I still hadn’t completed all of my qualifications, and with only a couple of weeks left to qualify, I was starting to get a little bit tetchy! I still had to get Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) qualified at elementary freestyle to music and medium, and Dante (Headmore Downtopia) at elementary freestyle to music so we took them both for a bit of a road trip around the M25 to Essendon and Epping Forest in Essex! The organiser was incredibly helpful and fitted us in, and she also made our first time as late as possible so we had enough time to make it there.
Well worth it
Thankfully, we arrived with plenty of time to spare and Bracks came out full of life and raring to go despite having done a lot of competing. The Dengie nutritionist suggested that I feed my competition horses a Dengie supplement, performance vitamins and minerals, to ensure that they are getting the correct nutrients to keep them on tip top condition, and they are definitely feeling the benefit as both Bracks and Dante had more than enough energy despite all of the competing they had done and the fairly long journey down. Her medium test went well and there were no mistakes, although there were a few green moments as it was in a short arena so everything came up much quicker. However, it was good enough to score 70% and win, completing her medium qualification. We then had our freestyle to music tests. Dante went first and there were a couple of mistakes although I was very pleased with his way of going. It was then Bracks’ turn and she felt like she really enjoyed it. Dante scored just under 70% and Bracks scored 71.8%, finishing second and first respectively, completing both of their qualifications, making it well worth the journey.
Lightening the load
Following Essendon on Wednesday, I had the practical part of my CPC test on Thursday morning. I had to be at Bypass driving training for 7o’clock in the morning so that I could learn everything I needed to know before my test at 8:45. It was, I am very pleased to say, fairly straightforward and I passed it, not quite with flying colours but well enough for a pass! I now know how to safely load my lorry up so the load is evenly distributed and how to check for any illegal immigrants or drugs that may have been hidden on my truck before a cross channel ferry crossing!
Champion of champions
It was also the Brightwells auction last week and Del (Headmore Delegate) and I had been asked to compete in the Champion of Champions classes at medium and advanced medium following our success at the Nationals. They were very small and select classes and it was held in the main arena, which was very spooky and full of atmosphere. However, I had been feeding Del Nupafeed to help him cope, and he was fantastic. We were last to go in the medium and Peter Storr had scored over 79% on his advanced medium national champion, so we knew we had to go for it. Despite Del getting a little worried in the atmosphere, my trusty Nupafeed did its job and he answered all of my questions. The judges were Francis Verbeek and Peter Engel, two top International judges, and they fell in love with Del. As it was in front of an audience, after every test they spoke aloud to give some feedback. They said that they loved us as a partnership and we had such harmony, but Peter’s test was just that much more difficult, which was the difference. We scored just over 77%, finishing just behind Peter, but still a good effort nonetheless.
The following day it was the advanced medium, and Del went even better than in the medium. I made his test quite difficult so we had one small mistake in a change, but other than that the test was foot perfect and the judges comments were fantastic. They said that we had such harmony and they had been waiting for a freestyle test like ours. They loved the music and said that Del always had such swing in his back and looked like he was doing it all without me asking. We scored a massive 79%, winning by 5%, and the audience clapped when our score was read out, which I found very touching. It’s lovely to know that the foreign judges love Del more than our British judges, so roll on next year!"
Here is a round up of recent events at Contessa by Assistant Yard Manager, Sarah Jackson.
"Even though the children have gone back to school, Contessa is a still very busy with plenty of events having taken place… On Monday 6th September we hosted a BHS CPD day taken with FBHS Nick Turner, focusing on indoor eventing. There was a good turnout and Amy, Sarah and regular client Sharon rode Jaya, Real and Charly respectively. This was a great opportunity for all those involved and a valuable day's training. Later in the month we had a John Bowen dressage clinic. All horses and riders went very well and we will see if they have done their homework for the next clinic on the 24th November. We would like to welcome Jo White to the Contessa team, who is here as a working student training towards her BHS exams. The horses and ponies want to thank Amy for making them more comfortable now it’s colder by giving them a clip and getting their winter rugs out. In October we had day courses focusing on other equestrian disciplines, including western riding and adult only vaulting. They proved very popular and so may be a more frequent feature in our calendar. During half term we ran pony days for our younger riders and at the end of the week held a Halloween themed pony day. This was very popular and all the children had a great time riding, playing games and dressing up the ponies. A big thank you to all the staff that ran the day, it was a great success! On Saturday 30th October we had the championship show for our 2010 dressage season. The horse and rider combinations had qualified throughout the season that resulted in a strong warm-up class followed by the walk-trot and “pick your own” championship classes. C Redman on Ridgewood High Five won the warm-up class with an impressive 68.4%. In the walk and trot championship all riders and horses performed very well, but Heather Rowe riding Contessa’s own Solo came out on top with 66.6%. Mark Phillips and Harry Chandler on their own horses came a close joint second. In the final class the standards were very high and we are pleased to say that Contessa’s yard manager, Amy Wright and Jayanti came first in Novice 34. As winners of the championship classes both Heather and Amy came away with a trophy, one of which was kindly donated by regular client, Steve Machin. We would like to congratulate all riders and thank you for your support throughout the season. We hope to see you all next year! In the weeks ahead we will be looking forward to our John Adams jumping clinic and John Bowen dressage clinic and start our preparations for Christmas, including holding the Contessa Children’s Christmas Party, information for which can be found on our website or by calling the office.”
“I think I’ve had two of the most challenging weeks in a very long time. Sadly, Jasper has sustained an injury that will mean he can't go to Badminton. This is sad as this would be his last time probably. Hopefully he'll be okay for Luhmuhlen or Burghley, but we shall see. He has started in 12 4* so if he doesn't do another three day, then he has still achieved an amazing record and I can't tell you proud I am of him. He obviously wanted to share his pain though as he kicked me so hard, just above the knee cap and I haven't felt pain like that for a while and hope I don't have to soon either! The legacy of this is still there now - a damn great bruise. Thankfully it didn't affect my riding.
The young boys Flash and Buddy are really coming on now, they are schooling well, ready to do a test. They are also jumping well, Flash is a little further on already jumping around a course over a water tray, fillers, etc. He is incredibly bold, as is Buddy but he is jumping grids for now as his canter is not so established yet. This is due to the fact he is considerably bigger than Flash and will take a little while longer though will be jumping around courses soon. We have a clear round every Wednesday so the fences are set up for a course which I can practise over. It’s incredibly handy!
We also have dressage competitions at Bedgebury, affiliated and unaffiliated. I competed Red in two affiliated novice classes on Saturday. His dressage is really improving; in the warm up he does some fantastic work and next year will be very competitive eventing. He performed well in his first test but still had moments of tightening so I aimed for more consistency in the second test which he duly did. We scored 67% and I was happy with the test, he has lots of tests over the winter planned so he will be competing higher at dressage ideally than he is eventing so he feels his tests are easy next year.
Red and Harry on Equine Pathway
I am delighted to say that both Red and Harry are back on the Equine Pathway (2012) for next year as they have both met the criteria. This means we will attend a training day over the winter with them so they can be assessed and followed throughout the season. Here's hoping for a good 2011! I have big plans for these two horses, hopefully will have done a 3* by the end of next year but we shall see.
Gift days at my yard
We have had a gift experience day, Gaynor came for the 'Budding Groom' day as she was keen to learn more about how we run the yard and look after the horses from a professional angle which she informed me was incredibly helpful! Gaynor also enjoyed meeting the girls and seeing things from their side on the yard as far as day to day duties and organising what to do next. Over the winter I have more free time so if this is something you would be interested in please contact us!
A day teaching
I spent a day teaching at the Lee Valley Riding Centre too; the weather was incredibly kind to us as it was forecast to be incredibly bad with gales and rain but was only a little windy in the end. I was there all day teaching all standards which was great. I really enjoying teaching now and find it very satisfying when I achieve good results! There was an enormous difference between London and my yard - the noise level surrounding it [was huge]. You could hear the trains from all directions which is something I would need to get used to. However there was a very good indoor school which would be an asset to any yard...
Last weekend though saw the sad end to Sophie’s time with me here. We had a good night out in Maidstone to suitably send her on her way with a few close friends. We shall all miss her dearly, me, staff, owners and my family but I wish her well and hope that she will have an amazing wedding soon. This means I am looking for a head girl so please any applicants get in contact, my team needs you!
This brought the end to a rather tough week. Amazing how quickly things can go from easy to hard! All character building stuff, but I’m a great believer in ‘as one door closes another one opens' so I look forward to the future.”
I like to think of myself as a positive person. I have to, I support West Ham United but I have to admit that as we go into winter with last year’s snow still etched in the back of my mind, a repeat would prove fatal to the angling fisheries and tackle shops around the country.
Ruing the winter
Referring back to my last blog where hard core anglers make up a small percentage of the total anglers that fish all year round, a bad winter would be curtains for the industry. The year its self has not been great as it took four months at least before anglers picked up their fishing rods again after a winter that virtually stopped the whole nation in its tracks. It was not until mid-summer that the fisheries and shops were trading normally but it was still not good enough to make up for lost sales the months before. I still believe there are as many anglers on the banks as before but there is one big difference, the anglers are more split in the clubs they join, the places they fish and the amount of times they spend on the bank side. I was pleased to see that there were more new anglers looking to get involved in fishing but the downside was the passion from what I saw in 80% of them was missing. I can spot a true angler or someone that is keen to learn the sport as they walk towards me, it’s like I have an in built radar system.
Enjoyment vs. particiapation
The open match angling scene is nothing like it used to be years ago and I am afraid it never will be as team fishing and club fishing has taken over. Some club matches can boast turnouts of over 30 anglers where most open matches are lucky if they hit 20 unless there is a big pay-out carrot dangled in front of them. It seems the social side of angling is more important than fishing in open events where you could be in a section of ten and not know one of the anglers whereas fishing matches within the club would mean you would know virtually all of the rods sitting around the lake. A meet up in the morning for a fried breakfast and cup of tea would kick off the friendly banter and that would then continue onto the lake for most of the duration of a match. The weighing in of the fish would again kick off the banter again as side bets were won and lost depending on weight and to be honest enjoying the sport is far more important than winning at all costs.
Spread too thin?
There are seemingly new fisheries springing up all over the place and that in itself spreads the anglers around even further as quite rightly they want to try out somewhere new in the search for a good days sport. Although from an angler’s point of view it is great to have more options to choose from, it is the fisheries themselves that suffer as fewer day tickets are sold due to the fact anglers are going around trying out venue after venue each week instead of fishing a regular fishery as that once used to.
Being a keen follower of racehorses, especially the National Hunt scene which I have a great passion for since a small lad, I can see similar patterns in angling and horse racing. For me there are too many horses in training from a quality side of the sport and many races that they are competing in are for peanuts, angling has too many holes in the ground with a sign up saying 'Fishing day tickets available'. In my opinion neither is good for the sport from a professional slant where quality should be first over watered down quantity that provides too much mediocre racing and below par fishing.
I am running a Bury Hill Christmas open on the Old Lake on Wednesday 1st December with limited pegs available, cost is £25 all in with a draw time of 8.30am fishing 10-3pm. You can book in by calling me at the onsite tackle shop on 01306 883621
"As luck would have it, the week that Prince William and Kate Middleton announce their royal engagement, I had already been preparing a blog on sparkling wine, specifically Prosecco. With this fizz becoming increasingly fashionable, I have been talking to Tony Stones of ChampagneWarehouse.com about the dos and don’ts when raising a glass of Italian bubbly.
Raising a glass and the profile of bubbly
In 2000, Tony established the web retail business to seek out quality European sparkling wines and Champagnes from lesser known vineyards and make them available to buy online in the UK.
These include La Jara, with Massimo Marion and his brother Paolo breathing new life into the land with their application of biodynamic principles. Then Vignarosa, its name derived from the colour of the manor house, which during Napoleonic times was pink (and it retains a similar hue to this day).
On why Prosecco is currently growing in the popularity stakes, Tony suggests: “It’s much softer than Champagne and so easier to drink; it also costs less to produce and has a good price-quality ratio." So popping a cork is lighter on the purse strings and the palette.
“We aim to capture the fresh fruitiness of the Prosecco grape,” says Mauro De Marchi from Vignarosa. Explaining the classic taste that sets it apart from Champagne and Cava, Tony says: “Prosecco is recognised for its elegance, a soft floral scent and smell of apple and bread crusts rather than the more complex flavours that develop in Champagne and Cava over time.”
When it comes to food matching, Prosecco is very versatile. “Prosecco is ideal as an aperitif. Try extra dry Prosecco with appetisers, dry Prosecco with desserts, and Frizzante with any light dish that is not too elaborate, like soup, salad or a simple pasta dish,” recommends Tony.
If this has whet your appetite then Tony has some suggestions for serving to your guests. “For the ultimate drinking experience Giovanni Iaconis at La Jara recommends a Riedel Vinum Extreme. Otherwise most people agree a Champagne flute is a good compromise, but only fill it two thirds full to appreciate the aromas that will gather in the top third of the glass.”
So can Prosecco claim any health benefits compared to other alcoholic drinks? “Not so to speak, no,” answers Tony. But there is some good news for the waistline. “It is slightly lower in alcohol than Champagne – so has slightly fewer calories.” And if you are a fan of organics then the Proseccos that Tony imports from La Jara are organic and have lower sulphite content.
Sweet and dry
One last tip from Tony: “When choosing Prosecco bear in mind that Extra Dry is actually sweeter than Dry, which is the opposite of Champagne and other wines!”
I haven’t heard in the news (yet) how William and Kate toasted their engagement, but Giovanni from La Jara advises, “Champagne is prestigious and noble; the Prosecco is for the everyday and ever popular!” While there is nothing “everyday” about this week’s regal celebration, it has made me thirsty for some party Prosecco."