Hooray, it’s finally the 29th of December! To you it’s probably just another uneventful Tuesday or one of those days between Christmas and New Years which just blend into each other, but for me it’s always a bit of a special day. Today is my birthday! And just to top it off, it’s also the start of our holiday… today we’re jetting off to Madrid to keep up our ‘spending my birthdays abroad’ tradition, and then we’ll be heading to Morocco for a couple of weeks.
After months of early starts and late nights, manic days in the office, snappy weekend getaways, and the excitement of the silly season, both a certain someone and I are really looking forward to having a proper break so we’re ready to face the new year! But before we jump ahead of ourselves, I thought I would insightfully reflect on the year I was twenty-eight… that lasted all of twenty-eight seconds so instead, I sincerely reflected on all the delicious things I’ve eaten and the wonderful places I’ve eaten them in! Much more fun than those serious thoughts about where I might be in five years… so here goes…
Most Memorable Foodie Experience
I’ve absolutely loved writing this little blog of mine this year; sharing my tidbits to anyone who cares to have a read and hopefully a chuckle along the way is enough for me, so I’ve been blown away by all the added extras I’ve been able to experience because of it! Brilliant bloggers have been met, fun events have been attended, and many a meal eaten all for the sake of ‘Connie Consumes’ but there have been a couple of experiences that have stood out.
The first was the spectacular day I spent at The Woodspeen Cookery School prepping my five course dinner party with the help of Michelin-starred chef John Campbell, and the second is the day I spent in the kitchen with Terri from Fraise Sauvage, just hanging out and making some pastry!
Favourite Home Cooking Experiment
As you know, I love eating in as much as I love eating out, and I think this year a certain someone and I have been rocking it in the kitchen (I’ve thrown modesty out the window today, it is my birthday after all). We’ve embraced our newly acquired cookbooks and tried some new recipes, we’ve attempted to recreate dishes we’ve loved at restaurants, and we’ve tried our hand at some old favourites… a certain someone has fine tuned his scotch eggs while I have perfected my puff pastry encased products, namely pies and sausage rolls. Both are definitely crowd pleasers!
Favourite Michelin Star Experience
This year we’ve been extremely greedy and fortunate enough to have dined at nine Michelin-starred restaurants, with two more (tonight’s birthday dinner and our New Year’s Eve lunch) to be added to the tally before the year is out. Some have been better than others; a couple were a little disappointing which led me to wonder whether we are setting our expectations too high based on those little stars, but then there were the ones which truly wowed me and reminded me that those stars will always be a benchmark for brilliant food. It was a tough call but my favourite of the year for the spectacular food, service, and atmosphere is The Yorke Arms.
Most Elaborate Meal
I didn’t even have to think twice about this one; hands down the most over the top, creative, interesting meal we had this year was the ‘full story’ tasting menu from Restaurant Story. The ten formal courses are daunting enough but with all the snacks and additional bits and pieces thrown into the mix, this meal was a behemoth dining experience, one which I won’t forget in a hurry!
Most Delicious Travel Destination
We’ve been to some great places this year and of course, we’ve eaten very well at all of them. We loved the pierogis in Gdansk, found a couple of hidden gems in Milan, ate what felt like our weight in bratwurst in Nuremberg, indulged in a lot of grilled meats in Athens, but none of these will trump the wining and dining we did in Portugal. We marked my twenty-eighth birthday in Lisbon with a mixture of fine dining and local haunts, and more recently spent a wonderful weekend eating our way round Porto with the obligatory port stops along the way!
So there we have it, a pretty good year, if I do say so myself! Thanks for following along, hope you’ve laughed a little and salivated a lot along the way. Here’s to more fun and frivolity in 2016, the last year of my twenties… cheers!