Sunday, December 23, 2007

Out with the old, In with the new....

Well, 2007 has been a great year for TGS - thanks to you all for reading our little labour of love and proving to us that us food and beer-crazed zombies number in our thousands...we are not alone!

So what has 2007 meant to us?

Well, food-wise, our visit to Greece in the summer provided us with its usual bounty of inspiration and experiences. Anyone who thinks Greek food is the poor relation of flashy Spain is mistaken. The Leyburn Festival of Food and Drink was great as usual, and the tour of The Black Sheep Brewery gets better every time we do it. Our 'Tomatoes in hanging basket to avoid the cats that plague our street' experiment worked a treat, and will be in action again this summer; and the Good Stuff Kitchen has seen an unusual amount of baking activity. 2007 certainly was the year of the pastry.

Interviewing Sean Franklin, supremo at Rooster's Brewery was great fun; Roosters are probably my favourite local brewers and I cannot recommend thier beers highly enough. The resurgence of The Fox & Newt as a brewpub was a totally unexpected and pleasant surprise - a real kick in the eye to the brewing monopolies. In the same vein, North hanging up thier Guinness pump and commiting to serving a rotating, independent stout was an inspired, ballsy move, and one that has worked - Cheers, lads. Public awareness of the importance of supporting local brewers and food suppliers seems to be on the increase, too!

The passing of Michael Jackson still reverberates around the foodwriting and brewing community - the poet laureate of Beer Writing will be missed for a long time to come. The fact that Leeds Kirkgate Market's future is still undecided is a joke, and I only hope that common sense prevails; the market is a precious part of Leed's history, let alone its culinary heritage.

I'm also in two minds about the tranformation of The Corn Exchange into a 'High Class Food Emporium'. Food Emporium, yes, High Class, no. The last thing Leeds needs is a waste of a space where the clientele are more interested in the bag the food comes in than the food itself. Go to a farmer's market or a 'real' butcher's if you want to do something different, supermarket-hounds. Again, lets hope common sense prevails. And finally, just whe we think things had levelled out for the year, there are rumours that Leifmans, brewers of the awesome Goudenband, have gone bust.

So what does 2008 hold for TGS?
TGS has recently been the lucky recipient of a shedload of Brewing Kit from a relative - Spring should see the first attempt at homebrewing for me, and I can't wait. Stay tuned to see how the disaster unfolds. Our trip to Bulgaria should be good, and I am sure the recipes that we bring back will be different to the norm. I'll be throwing the spotlight on more local and independent brewers and making everyone aware of the good work these guys and gals are doing. Recipes will come as usual, and each with a beer pairing for you to consider.

Award Time -
Ok, lets end with some honourable mentions -

Beer Blog of 2007 - Stonch; has to be. Fast becoming essential reading, this is what a beer blog should be; informative, yet none of the snobbery that can sometimes prevail;

Food Blog of 2007 - ...An Endless Banquet - perfection. AJ and Michelle constantly amaze me with thier stories and recipes - thier 'Quest for the perfect pizza' was probably my favourite post of any blog in 2007. Obsession; in a good way. Where would beer and food be without obsession?
Store of the Year - Salt's Deli remains a pleasure to visit. One of thier hampers is shown above.

Beer of The Year - hmmm, so many. Roosters remain a consistently excellent brewhouse - the YPA is fast becoming a must-drink when available. The Great Divide Brewing Company and Brewdog are two brewers whose wares I only tasted recently and really, really impressed.

The Good Stuff.
Good Food. Good Beer. Good People.

Have A Great Christmas and a very boozy New Year!

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