On an unseasonably warm autumn evening, some 35 folk gathered for a splendid triple sandwich of European cheese, wine and music, arranged and hosted by Rodger and Linda Wheeler, ably assisted by Peter and Diana Carpenter, and Mike Hendra.
The experience began with generous offerings of common cheeses and some not so common - Stilton with mango and ginger; Wensleydale with cranberry, Shropshire Blue ... and a selection of a dozen breads from which to choose. Rodger then, with the aid of a wall map and tasty samples, steered us through the origins of some less familiar cheeses such as Abondance made by monks since the 14th century in the High Alps, and Fourme d'Ambert one of France's oldest cheeses dating back to Roman times.
Of course, the best accompaniments of cheese are good wines and music. Again, Rodger chose well to demonstrate the wide range of European wines, explaining the characteristic flavours and how the grape varieties are blended to make some of Europe's best wines.
Rodger quizzed our ability to identify grape varieties and growing regions, and broadened the quiz to extracts of European music.