With our stay in the Scottish Highlands coming to an end we went out to eat at the Letterbox Restaurant (La Boîte aux Lettres) (http://www.letterbox-restaurant.co.uk/) in Newtonmore on Sunday evening. This was in part to celebrate my partner Carole successfully finishing her five day 270 charity ride on Saturday. She has now raised at least £2650 for the Teenage Cancer Trust – over £3200 with Gift Aid.
Again we had a very good meal – once more demonstrating that the bad old days of Scottish catering have abated, even if they are not entirely at an end – it is now increasingly possible to eat well here. I started with some scallops with seared venison for my main course, although tender my venison has a little more cooked than I would have preferred and not quite at the standard of Na Mara in Gairloch (see: http://les5duvin.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/scotlands-revolting-food/)
Others enjoyed crab rolled in smoked salmon, tasty lamb and sole in a cream and spinach sauce.
The wine list was quite diverse featuring for once some French wines (three examples) along with seven other countries: Argentina (1), Australia (2), Chile (3), Italy (3), New Zealand (3) and Spain (2). We chose an easy drinking, softly black fruited 2011 Corbières Mont Saint Jean from Les Vins Littoral Méditerranéen a company that is registered at Fréthun in the Pas de Calais.
We will certainly be happy to post ourselves at the Letterbox again!
Although our blogging colleague, David, is still a young man, there will doubtless eventually come a time when he will decide it is no longer prudent to ride his Suzuki GSXR 1100 (http://morethanjustwine.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/my-16th-bike-is-modified-suzuki-gsxr.html) and instead opt for something a little more sedate. Today I saw the ideal – this magnificent, eye-catching machine! I can just see it now parked outside the Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil creating a certain frisson!
This last weekend has been the 17th edition of Thunder in the Glens (http://www.dunedinhog.com/Pages/ThunderintheGlens.aspx), which claims to be ‘the biggest and best Chapter meeting run Rally in Europe’. See programme here (http://www.dunedinhog.com/Documents/TITG%202013%20Programme%20-%20For%20Printing.pdf). The event now attracts thousands of bikers – many on Harleys but not exclusively so.
10th edition of Vignes, Vins & Randos: 7th and 8th September
This annual event (http://www.vignesvinsrandos.fr/index.php) is one of the highlights of the Loire’s oenotourism calendar. Always held on the first weekend of September, in 2013 there are 15 walks (randonnées) in the Loire to choose from between Nantes and Blois involving 17 appellations. As well as discovering the vineyards, the walks will feature musical interludes and chances to stop, enjoy the local wines and food. The 2012 edition in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9t4yMc5t1o)