London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Pass the Port


For those “in the know” there are lots of things to do in London that are free or reasonably priced including of course my guided walks (shameless self plug) but you might be surprised to know that there are various places around the capital that offer very reasonably priced tastings.
Last night I attended one of the Hide Bar’s regular Tuesday tastings. The Hide Bar is in Bermondsey Street only a few minutes’ walk from London Bridge station.
This week’s theme was port.  Over the course of a couple of hours around 25 of us tasted 6 different ports that started with a chilled white port to which we were asked to try neat and then add tonic, ice cubes and mint. This one was greatly improved by the additions (in my mind anyway).
The second port was also a bit unusual being pink and also not to my taste but it improved dramatically on having ice and tonic added. 
During the course of the evening we learned about the production of port and what distinguished the different varieties. It was really interesting.
Next we were on to more traditional ports of which there were 4 although I can’t remember now what they were; next time I will take notes.  However we were each given a small booklet with more information about the production and varieties and some useful tips on cheese and port and dessert and port pairings.
Trying not to drink too fast as they were all delicious we waited for the accompanying cheese to arrive. It was worth waiting for. Each group of 2 or 3 people had their own cheeseboard including 3 different types of cheese, biscuits, grapes, quince jelly and chutney. 
The tasting finished we all gave the host a round of applause. There was no hard sell involved; in fact no mention of prices was made at all during the evening. The cost of the evening: just £10.