Working at Yapp HQ has always been an interesting experience and there’s never a shortage of recommendations about new vintages, new wines and particularly new food and wine pairings. As a man who came from the cider and cheese school of thought it’s been a real eye opener – not that cider doesn’t go with cheese but it’s the 'chip butty' of the food and wine matching world – good and basic but not all there is too it. So, proof of the pudding and all that – last Saturday I put my absorbed knowledge to the test. Some long-standing friends and their off spring assembled (Alex, the 5 year old had been so excited by the idea of a “sleep over” he’d packed his bag at 5.30am on the Saturday morning – I think the enjoyment of food and wine comes with a little more age and he was more excited about using his spider man “ready bed” in anger, but I digress).

The aperitif was triggered at the same time as we started getting all the small folk to bed – this may have been a slight error of judgement but we started with a favourite fizz - Crémant de Limoux Brut Cuvée Selection with a dash of Crème de Pêches – an ideal aperitif and as (from what I remember) Michel Roux Jr. once said was ‘great, as it made you really want to eat’ (this was at least the gist of the quote, and maybe not verbatim).

I was on the starter – being a disciple of all things Slater (Nigel, not the one from East Enders) I decided to keep it simple – pan fried scallops, fresh ginger, some lemon chilli flakes (from Austria of all places) and a watercress salad – it would have been churlish not to match this with the Yapp Corsican Rosé (Vin de Corse Sartène Rosé: Domaine Saparale 2009).

The main dish was provided by Donna – I thought she’d arrive with something cooked but no, it arrived in raw form – she insisted that it had to be made there and then. I’d asked advice on this one  in advance – what to have with Basque Chicken? Our resident food and wine expert had a flash of inspiration on her drive home – have a Basque wine! Not rocket science maybe but the Irouléguy: Domaine Illaria 2007 was spot on and not a wine I’d tried before and a great hit around the table.

So, into the home straight with combinations I knew would be great but it was terrific to see the responses from our guests – when this goes right, it really is an eye opener. Raspberry brûlée with Muscat de Beaumes de Venise: Domaine de Durban 2007 then a selection of powerful blue cheeses with Jurançon 2008: Domaine Bellegarde then following the digestif of Bas Armagnac 1989 our guests retired sated, content and with smiles on their faces.

My daughter fell out of bed at 4.30am on Sunday morning that, like dominoes, woke up the other 3 children under the age of 6 but once again I think that may well be another story...