Brighton pop-up extraordinaire, Take Your Taste Buds on Holiday promote a very simple mantra: that we should “love food, wine and good times”. With a team of excitingly talented chefs and sommeliers, both wine connoisseurs and foodies will experience new things when dining here.
Wriggle’s Brighton guy, Mikey, caught them for a chat to find out more.
How did Take Your Taste Buds on Holiday start?
Take Your Taste Buds on Holiday began over a year ago with my colleague Sally MacGarry, a great sommelier and a wine production student at Plumpton College; and Andy Vitez, the Chef at the restaurant at Drakes. We love food and wine and have very strong opinions about how it should be produced, prepared and presented.
Initially, we organised a series of wine dinners and tastings at Drakes and our guests loved it. Unfortunately, the venue wasn’t suitable for what we wanted to do. We prefer relaxed and fun wine tastings and this works better when we’ve only up to fifteen guests. Any more than this and people become too shy to ask questions or share their opinions.
When we discovered the Garden House on Ditchling Road, it was exactly what we were looking for. Each month, for our popups we select an interesting wine region and prepare five to six wines with complementary canapés to introduce the theme. The Garden venue is surrounded by a beautiful garden which makes for a magical experience, especially in summer.
How did you come to organise pop up wine events?
My parents spend their holidays on vineyards and their passion was infectious. I worked in my mum’s restaurants in my early twenties when I was in college and that’s where I first really got into wine and did my first wine course. After I moved to Brighton I took the WSET Diploma (Wine and Spirits Educational Trust) and after that worked with different wine producers, and helped at Decanter magazine’s annual awards whilst looking after the restaurant at Drakes. Last year I put all my efforts into this project.
My aim is to introduce great wines to people who are already enthusiastic wine drinkers but may struggle to understand how to find good wines. Price isn’t always a good indicator and labelling regulations really do not make it easy for consumers to know what’s inside the bottle. I’m a great supporter of organic and biodynamic farming and natural wine production and this how I can share my passion.
What is your favourite event to date?
An event that stands out was our biodynamic champagne tasting before Christmas last year. Hosted by one of our sommeliers, Eddy Monin, who being from Champagne managed to source some really interesting bottles of Champenoise spirits and liqueurs. Everyone stayed almost hour and half longer and they all got pretty tipsy. Eddy was happy because many of the ladies wanted to take him home and we received great feedback!
What is your favourite independent venue?
My favourite Brighton restaurant is Mange Tout on Trafalgar Street. My partner and I go at least once every two weeks. Dinner or brunch, the food is consistently good, not pretentious but solid French cuisine, wine always excellent and staff very professional and friendly.
When I fancy a glass of wine I go to Ten Green Bottles in Jubilee Street. Their wine list is interesting and location is great: only a short walk from our office. We often have our team meetings there.
What is your favourite wine after a long day?
I come from the Czech Republic and we mainly drink aromatic white wines such as Gruner Veltliner, Red Tramin or dry Muscat and one of these would be my first choice but they are hard to find in England. Probably a good thing, otherwise I run the risk of drinking too much!
It’s my job (and joy) to try new wines and flavour combinations so I experiment a lot and it really depends on what is for dinner and the occasion. When I feel like celebrating I definitely go for Champagne. One of our favourite wine suppliers are Henry George Wines who specialise in biodynamic Champagne. When I want to treat myself I get a case of their Christophe Mignon. It’s an amazing wine, made in only very small quantities, affordable and you can also find it in Noma in Copenhagen which until recently, was ranked the best restaurant in the world!
Find Take Your Taste Buds on Holiday on Wriggle this Saturday: wrig.gl/o/25480