Despite several years of working behind bars, I’ve remained clueless about sherry, however; the Sherry Club at Pata Negra has certainly changed that!
With Harvey (of Bristol Cream fame) at the helm, the notion that a sherry bottle should gather dust at the back of the shelf was gone! It turns out grandmas everywhere are doing sherry wrong.
Harvey’s David was our guide for the evening, and what a guide he was. Armed with a great suit, an outstanding set of eyebrows and a whole lot of passion, David took the group through four styles of sherry.
The welcome drink was an Amontillado sherry. Served in a tumbler over ice and with a twist of orange peel, the drink was really refreshing and summery. Basking in the sunshine as I type, this afternoon could certainly be improved with another one of those!
The second was a Fino sherry. David talked us through the production process and how removing almost all the sugar achieves the incredibly dry finish. Served with Pata Negra’s famous 36 month cured Iberico ham, sliced from the leg in front of our eyes, the combination was wonderful. Pretty sure those piggies had wings because that ham was downright heavenly.
The third was a blended sherry described as Bristol Cream’s big brother. It was a little darker, sweet and nutty. Definitely my favourite of the bunch. David told a wonderful anecdote about how sherry, given its abundance, was once referred to as Bristol milk. Upon tasting Harvey’s latest blend, an aristocrat declared if all the others were Bristol milk, then this must be Bristol cream. A wise statement, as it paired beautifully with the salty almonds and olives.
The final tipple was a Pedro Ximenez VORS (Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum/ Very Old Rare Sherry) which had lovely caramel and raisin flavours. Syrupy and almost black in colour, it was one to sip slowly. I found myself slightly in awe that, having been aged for over 30 years, I was drinking something older than myself. Not only that, but these sherries have to be carbon dated to ensure they have been aged sufficiently. Great news if you like a little science with your beverage.
The final treat was the last sherry but poured “affogato-style” over vanilla ice cream. Next time I lack space for a full dessert (a rare occasion), I know what I’m ordering. With a 50cl bottle of the PX retailing at £21.99 it’ll be tough to find quality at such a great price for any other booze!
The great thing about Sherry Club was that, with a fairly small group, David had time to come round to each table and gauge opinions and answer any questions. Definitely underrated, this event has without a doubt, changed my opinion on sherry! You should really give it a go and head down to Pata Negra ASAP. Plus, you definitely can’t beat a good serving of jamόn Ibérico and nibbles! Keep your eyes peeled as the clubs will be monthly and with different producers. Know what that means? PLENTY of new discoveries to come.