Tasting The Lot
An introduction to me, Luci Cox and my food and wine year.
Learning and teaching about food and wine matching is my passion. My first love was food, my second was wine! I love growing it, cooking it, eating it and drinking it! Who doesn’t? All I needed was a career that matched my passions.
Having trained at Prue Leith’s cookery school, and working in many glorious food establishments in the UK I had found my perfect job!
Working at a wonderful restaurant called The Marsh Goose in Gloucestershire, I started to help with cookery demonstrations and food and wine lectures. Teaching began to take over. Meeting great people who shared my love of food, I decided to travel around the world and learn more.
My parents had already bought the house I now live in, I thought I hated France after a bad experience at a school exchange when I was 12, so planned to move to New Zealand to work, as far from France as possible!
Coming to visit my parents near Montcuq for a holiday to say good bye before my big trip, oh what a place. I loved the little house they bought in 1990, the local markets we visited were abundant with produce grown by locals and the trips to places of interest were made all the more interesting by my father’s weird stories about buildings and agriculture, the war and local family dramas and my mother’s obsessive desire to read the local history books to find out more information. I was hooked. I think it was also the bread, cheese and the wine!
I still went to New Zealand. I travelled, worked in vineyards, wineries, kitchens, restaurants, tasting rooms, riding stables, orchards, dairy farms and fish farms. I worked for some wonderful wineries in New Zealand, learnt how to grow grapes, prune grapevines, manage vineyards and make wine. I was again totally hooked, but I missed my family. I returned to the UK, decided to continue with my new found love for NZ, wine.
I found a course in the UK at Plumpton College where I could study wine making and vineyard management. After working in most of the English vineyards, I started to work in Vinopolis, London’s largest event space and wine tasting museum, now sadly closed. Not the best working environment, a huge space under the railway arches of Southwark and London Bridge, no windows and lots of trains rumbling overheard but a fabulous place to try wines from all over the world. I became the manager after a year of working hard and loved the variety of work. From setting up wine tastings on the London Eye to corporate tastings for over 250 people at a time, setting up tastings for the BBC Good Food Show, working with funny wine presenters like Oz Clarke. I love talking about wine! Especially Cahors.
In 2004 I started my first Cahors wine tasting in London, not everyone’s favourite wine, but it is one of mine! I started food and wine courses, wine tasting classes and cookery demonstrations in the most beautiful buildings in London. Great fun, great food and wonderful wines!
Living in London after the bombs went off, was not for me. I moved back to my parents’ home in The Cotswolds and set up food and wine tasting evenings, lecture lunches and book signing lunches. After a year of Cotswold life, I wanted to move again.
I wanted to write about it, grow it, find something nice to drink with it and find a lovely place to eat. I asked my parents if I could move into their house in the Lot for a year. That was 9 years ago! Admittedly I used to go back to the UK a lot as it was a holiday home and my parents were elderly and I loved spending time with them. But sadly over the last year they have both passed away and the house has now become my brother’s and mine. I want to live here permanently. I started, this summer, teaching about the region I love so much and so starts my year of writing about it. I asked Anna if I could write about a year in The Lot. Very kindly she has agreed.
So over the next year I hope to bring you a gourmet calendar. Each edition will bring you foods and wines from around the Quercy and the Lot. These next 2 months is wine!! Oh yes, wonderful Coteaux de Quercy, Vine de Pays du Lot and AOC Cahors. Also my favourite thing about September and October, Harvest food.
I have chosen this month to write my favourite wine recipes. The Women’s Institute in Great Britain is a brilliant group of inspirational women, a few years ago they ran a jam competition, I entered 15 different jams, all made from produce grown in The Lot. This recipe was a set recipe, we all entered our jams, and I came 4th! Apparently my label needs to be placed between the seams on the jar! I lost a whole point for that.
Plum and Mulled Wine Jam
1.8 kg red plums, halved and stoned
375ml red wine
mulled wine spices (e.g. cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or whatever you like)
piece orange zest, without pith
1.8 kg granulated sugar
Put plums and wine in large pan. Place spices and zest in a spice ball or muslin bag and add to pan.
Bring to boil and simmer gently for 15-20 mins or until plum skins are soft. Remove spices and add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to boil and boil rapidly for about 10 mins, or until setting point. Remove any scum. Pour into sterilized jars and seal and label.
Makes 6lb jam - Happy Harvest
Luci Cox www.tasting-the-lot.com