London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

A Woodford Wine Experience

Some of the best experiences are when you end up somewhere by accident. Just over a month ago on a day when my foot was still pretty painful I decided on the spur of the moment with my friend Jane to go to Woodford Green in search of olives.
I had been introduced to these particular olives at an event at The View, the year-old Epping Forest visitor centre in Chingford.  
The refreshments at that event included wine and some amazing plump green olives supplied by the Woodford Wine Room which I hadn’t heard of before. I bought a packet for myself that night intending to serve them to my family at my birthday lunch the following month. However of course I wasn’t able to keep them that long.  So a few weeks later after checking that the shop was close to a bus stop – anything other than a short walk at the time being a bit of a challenge – we set off for Mill Lane, Woodford Green.  
Arriving at Mill Lane from the bus stop in Chingford Lane I didn’t recognise Woodford Green at all – it was very much like a village. It was only later that I discovered that the other end of Mill Lane comes out onto the High Road close to the Castle.
We bounded into the shop to discover two customers were having an impromptu wine tasting. I enquired after the olives which were unfortunately out of stock but we got chatting and suddenly we were both also enjoying several wines.  

The wines were left over from a tasting at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge the night before. To go with the wine Alessandro gave us some sourdough bread from the E5 Bakehouse which was recently featured in the excellent Spitalfields Life blog.
There’s a good independent off licence close to where I live in Chingford – the Wine Factor – which is where I buy my Glider Cider (local cider!) but it’s great to find another independent shop in the local area. 
Alessandro sells mainly Italian wines but since our visit is now selling some hard to find Italian craft beers and in September will be hosting an Italian Craft Beer Festival!  

An unusual sideline is a selection of fruit vinegars which are very good sprayed onto bread although I really should experiment a bit more!
Sign up to his mailing list to be informed about upcoming tastings and you can read his latest newsletter here. This photo was taken at another more recent event at The View.

Typing this I am daydreaming about those olives again so I must find out if he has them back in stock!

The author of this blog (Joanna Moncrieff) is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who specialises in food and drink themed walks in the West End.
Details of all her bookable private walks are listed here and upcoming public walks are here.