Friday, November 13, 2009

Something Soft

I spent much of Monday morning driving around from specialist shop to specialist shop looking for key ingredients for mincemeat, which Mrs Velkyal is making for the first time this year. The things we needed at that point were ground rump steak, currants and mixed peel. The ground steak was easy in the end, I just went to our local supermarket and asked if they could grind some for me, and they were more than happy to do so.

The currants were a bit of a nightmare because Americans don't call them just "currants" like we do in the UK, instead they called them "Zante Currants". Having not found them at Whole Foods, although I did find something rather nice there - more of which in a bit, I came home and decided instead of driving around town I would call the other specialist shops to see if they had the stuff I was looking for. Several calls later and I was on the road to Foods of All Nations to pick up the currants and mixed peel, and having been in there before I decided to see if Fentimen's soft drinks were as good as Dave from the Woolpack Inn in Cumbria says they are. Therefore, I picked up a mini-bottle, 125ml, of the Curiosity Cola and Ginger Beer.

For those not in the know, Fentimen's drink are "Botanically Brewed" and use natural ingredients, I was very happy to find them here in CVille, though I believed they are made under licence in Canada.

There really is only one thing I can say about the Curiosity Cola, if this is what cola drinks originally tasted like then I can understand entirely how it became the world's most popular soft drink style. This stuff really is delightful, refreshing and not cloyingly sweet and the ginger zing in the background just rounds it off perfectly.

I have always liked Ginger Beer in general, particularly the Marks and Spencer ones, but this one was just a revelation. It probably sounds ridiculous to say it was full of ginger, but it was massively zingy and tangy and just simply oh so good! I can safely say that these soft drinks will be making regular appearances in my fridge, and my brain is wondering what mixed drinks I could make with them, especially given the choice of funky little bottles (they do have big ones as well) - perhaps Ginger Beer and brandy? Curiosity Cola and Jameson?

Skipping back a little bit to Whole Foods, I picked up a bottle of Legend Pilsner from the Legend Brewing Company in Richmond - a brewery I have heard much about from my good friend Mark. Regular readers will know that pilsner in this country has so far left me disappointed, but this one was quite good, nice and malty body with a good hoppiness you would expect from a nice Czech pilsner, though a bit strong at 6%abv, probably the equivalent of a 14˚ lager back in the Czech Republic. Whilst not up there with my favourite Czech lager, not bad at all, and in my Chodovar glass it certainly looks the part!


  1. I don't know where the Fentiman's are made/brewed in Canada, but AFAIK, in the UK they are contract-brewed by Robinson's of Stockport.

  2. I had MY first Legend's Pils yesterday, out at the brewery... Enjoyed it. Would love to get out there with you for a pint or three. (They have seasonal offerings of an extra chocolaty "Chocolate Porter", their Porter made with an infusion of coco powder, which makes it a little strong IMHO, along with a Barley Wine that you may enjoy.) Maybe at Christmas.

  3. Legends Pils is amazing!

    Been a while since I've been active on the ole blog, but I'm now getting back into it (been in brewing school lately). While I've got your attention I'm wondering if you would post the mincemeat recipe? The wife and myself love a good one, but cant seem to find a recipe that encourages us to cook it at home. Cheers! Brian


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