13. Weekly wine tasting for a Fiver...in Kensington!?!

For about 3 years now, every Thursday evening I go to the Whole Foods Market for an event they call “Thirsty Thursday”. I believe it started as a marketing ploy but has slowly turned into an un-missable London Social Event.

The premise is simple. For £5, you get to try 5 small glasses of wine and 5 small plates of food. The evenings are usually themed and generally try to promote different goods available in the store, trying to get you to taste things you might ignore, or might not realise were available.

Last week we had a Valentine’s themed evening. The menu was quite simple. We started off with a Strawberry, Almond and Goats Cheese Salad served with a Chilian Fresita. The salad was tasty but we agreed that it would be better with a slightly stronger cheese but the strawberry worked better than we anticipated.

Following the fusion salad concoction we were treated to oysters. These were freshly opened for us in front of our eyes and served with a variety of different condiments. The extra hot habanera tobacco sauce was quite something and went surprisingly well with the fresh shell fish. This was served with a Cloudy Bay New Zealand White which cut through the fishy taste, nicely clearing our palate for the next treat.

Traditionally speaking, the third station is always my favourite. This is the meat counter, run by the delightful, flirtatious and friendly Italian Sylvia. This week she is approached by a man who mistakes her for French. She has a very nice conversation with him in French before kindly letting him know that she is in fact from the other side of the Alps. Wholefoods take meat seriously. They only source lives-stock from farms which adhere to strict codes of ethical conduct. None of the meat stocked will have had any contact with antibiotics for example. The variety of meat is extraordinary with a meat counter some 15 meters long! This week we were served a Hamburger with Chicken Liver Pate alongside a French Red wine from Dormaine Clavel.

We then went to the Japanese restaurant where were were severed a wild mushroom “Shabu Shabu”. These are consistently good but not new as such. We have it at least once a month. One month being Tofu (yuck), the next chicken the next beef etc...

We finish the evening with a very generous portion of Freshly Baked Heart Shaped Chocolate Brownie. Yum. A very satisfying finish to this week’s gastronomic sampler.

There is something very satisfying and liberating walking around a supermarket with friends, glass of wine in hand, discussing food like a Masterchef Critic. The food is never going to be cordon bleu, but I am frequently surprised and come away with ideas I’d like to try at home. The Supermarket itself boasts the finest cheese room I have seen and a terrific selection of fresh coffee, which make for splendid weekly pilgrimages. All in all, a cheap consistently good night out suitable for anyone aged 18-80.

Author: Stefan Krok-Paszkowski

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