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Blue cheese is a wonderful punchy ingredient working well alongside sweet autumnal fruit (& sweet wine) but also melted into polenta to give it flavour and depth. Try this simple and delicious dish with a Châteauneuf du Pape: Domaine du Père Caboche - Elisabeth Chambellan 2010 which is full-bodied enough to stand up to the strong salty flavours of a good Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton or our local favourite - Dorset Blue Vinney.

Celeriac lightens a conventional mash and makes an interesting accompaniment to a rich beef or venison stew, continue the autumnal theme with a warming Saint-Chinian: Château Milhau-Lacugue 'Les Truffières' 2010.

Pumpkin pie can be disappointing but last November I had the good fortune to sample Laura Francis’s exquisite mini pumpkin pies with cinnamon cream. They were delicate, spicy and light and although I was supping tea at the time they would have been well served by a small glass of the tawny-hued Coteaux du Layon 'Les-Aunis': Chateau de la Roulerie 1990.