I was recently invited by General Manager Saskia Droz to attend a cigar dinner that she was hosting with the Cuban Cigar Club at the Hotel du vin Newcastle.
The evening included a three course meal with matching wines, three cuban cigars and a demonstration by Berta Coprzo Thorpe, one of Cuba’s finest cigar rollers.
Tickets to this event cost £65 per person and it really was an evening not to be missed.
Hotel du Vin Newcastle has its own walk-in humidor which houses a diverse and rare selection of cigars from around the world and a heated cigar shack to enjoy your selected cigar.
Although I am a non-smoker, I adore the smell of cigars, the smell reminds me of my late grandfather and I can remember sitting under a cloud of thick smoke as we played gin rummy together so I was most looking forward to having memories of my childhood evoked.
The evening started outside with a Cuba Libra drink which transported you to a cuban beach hut it was so delicious!
Trays of canapés were offered around on the most delightful slate trays, I did sample everything which gave me a taste of the amazing food that was to come.
The first cigar was provided which was the H. Upmann Corona (vintage 1999), at this point being a non-smoker I was quite happy to watch the other diners sample the cigar which was, apparently, one of the mildest Cubans of the evening, I did tell Saskia that I would give the second one a try!
Moving inside for the starter, introductions were made and an introduction was provided by Saskia, a short video was played explaining where the cigar leaves came from and the process of cigar rolling. An introduction to Berta Corzo Thorpe was made (you can see her in action above)
We were joined by an expert tobacconist who had come along to tell us about the cigars and was actually seated next to me meaning I had scope to ask all of the questions I wanted regarding cigars.
The Starter was North East Dressed crab with Lemon and Chive served with a 2010 picpoul de pinet. I think on this occasion the photograph speaks for itself, presentation was superb and it tasted as good as it looks, the crab was soft and creamy with the perfect amount of seasoning, a true delight for the palate.
The next cigar course was a Montecristo Petit Edmundo and everyone retreated outside to sample, on this occasion I joined my fellow diners in a tasting session. It would have made more sense for me to have sampled the first cigar rather than the medium to full flavoured one I selected, however I only managed a few puffs as my technique was a bit rubbish and my cigar kept going out!
Our main course was Roast Guinea fowl with sautéed local mushrooms which was matched with a 2004 Salento Rosso. I’ve only cooked guinea fowl twice before as I find it rather difficult to get hold of. On this occasion it was cooked beautifully, moist and tender and was actually rather filling.
The Next cigar course was a freshly rolled cigar from Berta Corzo Thorpe, however the tobacco expert advised me not to try this one just yet as it was a very strong cigar, I took his advice and kept it to take home with me. After watching Berta roll the cigars, I felt privileged to actually be allowed to keep one, it was perfect and had a divine smell even unlit!
Our final course was Walnut tart with honey creme fraiche and by this point I had forgotten where I was and had dived in before remembering to take a picture hence the snapped of end of the tart! My only criticism of the night was that the tart was quite dry and a little more of the crème fraiche would have made it perfect.
The tart was served with an Oloroso Sherry which was delicious and complemented the tart perfectly.
I had an unforgettable evening and would recommend a hosted dinner to anyone whether you are a smoker or not. I would like to finish this post with some of my favourite pictures including the amazing wine glass chandelier.
Hotel du Vin Newcastle, Allan House, City Road, Newcastle upon Tyne. http://www.hotelduvin.com/hotels/newcastle/newcastle.aspx