Dragging ourselves out from the slumber of another siesta at the villa with the taste of lunch still firmly on my breath, my mind turned instantly towards the evening.  We had pre-cautiously booked a restaurant in the centre of the small town of Valldemossa that sits high up above Deia in Majorca. 

Valldemossa Mallorca, Spain

Valldemossa has its own claims to fame.  Before Robert Graves showed up in his togas to write the treachery of the Caesar's back into our lives, the musical genius Frederic Chopin dropped by in 1838 with his mistress, the feminist writer (aptly named) George Sands.  They took a small lodging in the local monastery in order to escape the gossips of Paris.  Sands wrote the trip up in a book called 'Winter in Majorca' and was quite scathing of the locals who disapproved of their unholy liaison.  She did, however, give due justice to the surrounds which are in most cases breathtaking.  The roads take something to get used to but the scenery is wild and addictive.

Since then Hollywood royalty has swept into town in the form of Michael Douglas.  Good sense might dictate that when you find a piece of paradise you keep it quiet and try to preserve it for as long as possible.  Douglas had other ideas and made a film about what he likes best about the area.  Apparently it can be seen in the town somewhere but I didn't look out for it.  

The restaurant we had booked was an old converted hostel with dining on the first floor.  We climbed the stairs and were greeted by a lady ironing away.  As we turned apologising she waved us in assuring us that this was indeed a food serving establishment.  

Our table was neatly positioned by the balcony and the evening was warm with a gentle breeze.  From the balcony there was a large view down the valley where the sun had already set.  First things first.  We ordered a couple of bottles of Lagar de Cervera, Alborino 2010 to keep the engines ticking over whilst we were served a range of local cuisine that included octopus and squid mixed with potatoes, greens as well as another plate of cured ham and cheese.  The former was unusual but certainly tasty.  With the refreshing Alborino the first course went very well, the wine crisply washing the food down creating a clean palate for the next shipment of food.

Alborino Lagar de Cervera 2010

Emilio Moro 2010After the starters we went off piste.  You win some… you lose some.  The other three ordered the biggest steaks I have ever seen.  The beast that donated these certainly did not walk away from the deal.  I ordered deep fried chicken and vegetables, a local dish.  I wasn't quite prepared for what came.  It was literally a massive plate of what looked like the idle daydream of a KFC fanatic.  All shapes and sizes of deep fried stuff in breadcrumbs.  I had ordered a bottle of Finca Resalsa, Emilio Moro 2011.  This was a superb choice.  A big wine smashing through the tough breadcrumbs and brittle aubergine that had been given the colonel's touch.  Wines from the Ribera Del Duero are famously special with great depth, bags of fruit and spice and so much more. We ploughed on.  David said he fancied something a bit lighter and Paul concurred.  Thus I thought we go Muga crianza 2008.  I am a huge Muga fan and this baby has a bit of age to soften the tannin and bring the flavours out.

Unfortunately, it is hard to adjust to a Rioja after such a big wine from the Ribera del Duero.  At first I struggled to taste anything.  I got there in the end. Bright red fruits and underlying pleasantness that drives everything from conversation to laughter and, of course, the next bottle.

Muga Crianza 2008

Our third choice of red was a locally produced.  This was all quite obviously in the wrong order.  The local wines are very good indeed but they tend to be young and light, so after a couple of bigger wines, we were bound to struggle to taste anything.  Again, patience pays off.  By the time we had ordered two more bottles in the next bar we visited, my taste buds were returning.

Of the restaurant I would not rubbish it but I would advise caution on trying to be clever.  They have seen our types before and wheel out the peculiarities of the regional cuisine.  The steak is extremely good if you're a Transylvanian cape wearing gothic.  But it is best to do some homework on what you are ordering.  Other diners meals looked really good.  The wine list is very impressive too.

If you are in this town and want to try it out then just ask around for the restaurant that used to be a hostel.  Everyone knows it.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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