Britannia News

In this month's edition

Wine of the Month / Diary Date / Travel: Bristol / Food critic Isabel Hood talks grouse

Despite classifying as a ‘young’ vineyard (the first vines were planted in 2008), Aldwick Estate on the outskirts of Bristol, close to the Mendip Hills, has produced award-winning wines since its 2013 vintage. For something colourful (“pretty salmon pink” say the owners) and quaffable (it’s a double award-winner) try the Mary’s Rose 2017. It’s an aromatic dry rose with a watermelon-peach bouquet.

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For a great-tasting grouse, on-point partridge or to add a new twist – literally – to your Sunday joint, look no further than our rotisserie function. Available on all our range cookers (apart from the Q Line single oven), the rotisserie skewer allows you to spit-roast at home giving your poultry or meat continual self-basting, slow and even roasting and overall juicier cooking. It’s performance you can depend on.


Hot air balloon enthusiasts converge on Bristol in August for the unique International Balloon Fiesta. Staged over four days at the historic Ashton Court Estate just outside the city (August 8-11 this year), it’s Europe’s largest ballooning event and a free

family festival (parking payable). Don’t miss the Nightglow events on the Thursday and Saturday nights, whereby the balloons light up to the night sky to a musical soundtrack, followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

“King of the heather, lord of the moors

The twelfth of August heralds the game season with our native red grouse making its first appearance - and this is the time to enjoy grouse at its best while it is at its youngest, most tender and least robust. Maturity darkens and toughens the lean meat as well as ripening and deepening the flavour, and come October, it becomes a rather acquired taste.

The grouse is a territorial, handsome little bird, with feathered feet, scarlet eyebrows and dappled sunlight plumage, and its natural habitat in the heaths and moors provides it with its favourite food: the young shoots, nectar-laden flowers and seed heads of the heather itself which gives grouse its distinctive tang.

While older grouse definitely belong in a casserole, the traditional method of roasting it and serving it with wine gravy, bread sauce, game chips and rowan or redcurrant jelly is perfection, there truly is no better way of eating it. However, the rich meat marries well with acidic ingredients like oranges, with perhaps a dash of Cointreau and some marmalade - and blackberries with a splash of Cassis liqueur, or try adding a touch of Eastern magic by rubbing the skin with spices before roasting, enhancing the sauce with pomegranate molasses and garnishing the finished dish with a generous sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts, even some dried rose petals for a real touch of flamboyance. As grouse straddles three separate seasons, from late summer to early winter, ideal vegetable accompaniments can range from peas braised with lettuce to beetroot and apple purée and slow-cooked red cabbage with cranberries.