For the first time since I was a child, I made bread yesterday. When I've travelled in Europe I've enjoyed good bread, but my impression is that it's actually hard to get it in the UK [ although I confess to not having searched beyond the supermarkets and high street bakers]. So I guess one solution is to make it yourself. My first effort wasn't overly ambitious, but it worked, and it tasted like real bread. It was satisfying to make, and satisfying to eat. Now if I could get hold of some really good flour, I guess I could make some really exciting stuff. I'm sure some readers have expertise here, so I'd be delighted to hear from you.
A couple of mediocre wines last night. The truth is, most wine is dull; in tasting through samples it's relatively rare to open a bottle that thrills. The Spier Inspire Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 would get you drunk, and it wouldn't make you gag, but I found the typically South African green streak under the sweet blackcurrant fruit really tiresome. A Portuguese sample I was sent, the 2004 Vale das Areias from Estremadura, had a sweet open berry fruit nose together with a sort of casky character that made it smell a bit like a tawny Port. The palate was all grippy, drying tannins and there was a bit of greenness along with the sweet fruit. I didn't fancy it at all. I suspect both wines had some underripeness in them, which wasn't masked by the sweetness that came from the fruit that genuinely was physiologically ripe.