Dominic Symington writes:
Today we have just finished the 200th anniversary lunch commemorating the repossession of the Factory House in 1811 after the Liberation of Oporto by General Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) in 1809.
The original centenary lunch was held on 11th November 1911, the members sitting down to 11 courses at 11am. As we understand it today, the date and time was a total coincidence.
The lunch was attended by 25 current and retired members (dates are their year of election to the Factory House):
Seated from left to right: Paul Symington (1983), Peter Cobb (1980), Ian Sinclair (1975), Alastair Robertson (1969), Robin Reid (1962), Michael Symington (1955), Dominic Symington (1992), Ian Symington (1958), James Symington (1964), Gordon Guimaraens (1975), António J. Filipe (Honorary Member), Peter Symington (1975), Nick Heath (1984)
Standing from left to right: Henry Shotton (Executive Member), Euan Mackay (2008), Johnny Symington (1989), Jim Reader (1988), Johnny Graham (1986), Natasha Bridge (2010), Adrian Bridge (1997), Rupert Symington (1994), Joe Alvares Ribeiro (2009), Charles Symington (1998), William Graham (Overseas Member), David Guimaraens (1997)
Today we recreated the same event with 11 courses prepared by Chef Fernando Santos and 11 wines, convening at table at 11 o’clock. After 2 minutes silence we proceeded with our lunch – full menu and wines below – all were superb and a particular mention must go to the Anselmo Mendes Contacto Vinho Verde which was superb.
All wines showed outstandingly well and, as would be expected, the four Ports – three Vintages and a Colheita – all showed their true colours and were absolutely delicious.
A particular mention must go to the Graham’s 1924, which showed a pale tawny colour but with a surprising pinkish tinge, wonderfully floral with a hint of mint and eucalyptus and a delicious delicate saddle leather tone nose, gentle and lingering rich creamy finish – quite superb.
The young Churchill 1997 with the chocolate was excellent and the Taylor 1935 was also exceptional.
Menu and Wines:
- Pol Roger Brut Rosé 2002 & sea food broth soup as aperitif
- Pause between 5th and 6th courses – Lemon & Champagne Sorbet
- Cream of Chestnut Soup, Wine Blandy’s Verdelho 1984
- Blinis with Salmon Roe, Wine Olivier Leflaive Rully 1er Cru. Mont Palais 2006
- Cream of Leek & Oysters with Seafood and Roe Foam, Wine Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches 2007
- Swordfish Ravioli with Black Truffle sauce, Wine Anselmo Mendes Contacto 2010
- Slow Cooked Bacalhau with Coriander Sauce, Wine Louis Latour Beaune 1er Cru Vignes Franches 2008
- Warm Duck Liver on a bed of Pear Pureé and Port reduction sauce, Wine Château Suduiraut 1er Cru Classé 1996
- Pork Cheeks served on a bed of pumpkin puree, Wine Prats & Symington Chryseia 2003
- Tornedo of Beef Fresh Vegetables and a Stilton sauce, Wine Ch. Pontet Canet 1999
- Macedónia of Red Fruits Rasberry icecream strawberry coulis, Wine Royal Tokaji Late Harvest 2009
- Medley of Chocolate Mousse served with Coffee Ice Cream Biscuit Fondant with Nuts and Bunuelo Chocolate, Wine Churchill’s 1997 Vintage Port
- Queijo da Serra Ilhas de S. Jorge and Stilton, Wine Dow’s Colheita 1961
Dessert Room: Taylor’s 1935 Vintage Port, Graham’s 1924 Vintage Port
Additional note from Dominic: I chose all the wines and selected the dishes jointly with Laura my wife, Chef Fernando Santos and Olga Lacerda, the Factory House Manager. We did a trial run with some courses so that I could get the taste and flavors clear in my mind so as to select the most appropriate wine pairing.
All the Vintage Ports came from the Factory House’s own cellars, with the Symington Family providing the Dow’s 1961 Colheita from cask.
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