Match of the week
Gazpacho, oak-smoked tomatoes and smoked vodka
I love it when a restaurant lays on an imaginative drink pairing and this was a terrific one from Ben Cooke at Little Gloster just outside Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
He had entered the dish - a yellow gazpacho made with Isle of Wight tomatoes, horseradish and crème fraîche topped with a crostino with mozzarella and oak-smoked tomato into a competition run by Chase Vodka - the Chase Smoky Mary - and won it.
The dish was strongly flavoured enough to carry the powerful flavour of the smoked vodka which was served as a frozen shot. It paired particularly well - as you might expect - with the smoked tomato.
It was only because it was such a good pairing that it pushed aside the other combination I might have made my match of the week - also at Little Gloster: a Ciu Ciu Le Merlettaie pecorino* with a starter of skordalia, grilled aubergines and courgettes. Garlicky dips are great with crisp fresh zesty whites. A Greek assyrtiko would have worked too.
*You can buy the 2014 vintage from The Good Wine Shop at £11.50 at the time of writing.
I ate at Little Gloster as a guest of the restaurant.
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