It’s pruning time in the vineyards of Kent

It’s that time of the year – the world renowned champagne vines on the “Squerryes Estate” in Kent are having their annual pruning after lying dormant during the cold winter months. We are lucky that we live in the middle of the estate surrounded by acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier vines. And I’ve been eyeing up the prunings.

deli Truck, Squerryes Estate, champagne

Squerryes Estate Vineyards In Kent – Last summer 2014.

Ever since I had a grilled meat epiphany in the Bordeaux as an impressionable young man – I have always desperately wanted to cook meat over vine prunings. 29 years ago an old farmer in the Bordeaux region invited me to his home after a rather exhausting day tasting his wine. We were both very hungry by the time we got to his old stone house.

He quickly piled a heap of very dry vine prunings from the previous year into his stone fireplace, lite them and after an initial flare, they settled down to a lovely 10 cm layer of hot aromatic coals. He quickly covered the coals with a cake cooling rack sitting on a couple of bricks and threw on a heavily seasoned piece of prime top rump beef – enough for four people. He turned it twice brushed on some butter and removed after about 8 minutes. After resting it was a perfect medium rare. He sliced it thinly on the bias and the flavour was like nothing I had ever had before. The vine branches had added a distinctive smoky, berry, citrusy note to the meat. Served with simple sautéed potatoes it was probably the best steak I had ever had ’till that time.

Deli Truck, Champagne,

Picking the Prunings from the Vineyard in Kent

This is why we spent a very cold day yesterday in the vineyards in Kent collecting vine pruning. This summer we plan to cook a lot of our grills and burgers for the Deli Truck over these smokey clippings when they have dried out I hope it tastes as memorable as it did nearly 30 years ago.

Del Truck, Champagne, Squeeryes Court Champagne

You can see the size of the prunings in this photo, when they have dried out they will burn fast tp start with then lay down a very good layer of coals – that will last about ten minutes perfect for cooking a large steak.

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