Toasted pretzel ice cream

The night we’ve long been waiting for arrived tonight. It was our first dinner out at the Chesil Rectory in Winchester since…well, since New Year’s Eve, 2019. It’s our ‘celebration restaurant’ so we don’t go a lot, but we do go a few times a year and nine months is a long time between courses.

Of course, dinner was at the end of the day, as it should be. The morning was all about editing the Herald for my FATN recording this week and the afternoon was about waiting for the plumber to come and fix whatever was ailing the central heating.

Tom, the plumber, is a very jolly fellow and a delight to have in the house. Not only is he very personable, he’s also a bloody good plumber. This is the second time he’s been to us and the second time he’s fixed our problem with a minimum of fuss. Or mess. He even takes his shoes off at the door.

As I was booking in a boiler service with him, Bruce from across the road asked me if Tom was any good ie would I recommend him. Though I was not in the best position to say he wasn’t, I had no problem giving an across the road recommendation.

After leaving us, I saw Tom disappear behind the hedge opposite, hopefully in order to collect another job.

I then had to return to finish the editing before, eventually, getting spruced up for Date Night.

I don’t normally make that much effort for Date Night – I might wear a shirt – but the Chesil is special. It calls for The Suit to make one of its infrequent appearances.

It marks the first time for the suit and beard combination and I reckon they go quite well together. Mind you, I realise I could do with a haircut but I’m not going for a trim until I can do so maskless. Of course, it won’t be a ‘trim’ by then but, there you go.

Ignoring the hair, the food, wine and general waitress chat at the Chesil was exactly the same as it’s always been: marvellous. They’ve lost staff and have had to employ new people but they have managed to maintain the same excellent service and bonhomie that makes it so special.

Something else that makes it very special indeed, is, of course, the food. I had the rabbit turnover followed by the plaice, both of which were sensational. Mirinda’s duck egg then duck were equally divine. And the 2018 Las Parcelas rioja we had was simply liquid perfection in a bottle.

In my never ending bid to try all ice cream flavours no matter how odd, I had to have the molten chocolate dessert because it featured toasted pretzel ice cream. I know, I know, I’m not a big chocolate eater but I couldn’t just ask for the ice cream. And I am well pleased that I didn’t.

The molten chocolate was actually really good and not super sweet and sickly. It went surprisingly well with the recommended dessert wine. Our server, Kayleigh, is the wine pairing expert at the Chesil. I told her what a superb job she did with the dessert wine pairing. The light Recioto Valpolicella, perfectly complimented the rich chocolate.

However, all of that pales into insignificance when the toasted pretzel ice cream is tasted. Brilliant, is all I have to say.

It was, all in all, the most wonderful Date Night.

I should add that Mirinda was complaining that each week our meal report features a photo of her with a glass of wine. Well, not this week! Me instead, I’m afraid.

Today, this happened

In 1941 the Harry K Fooks sank following a collision with the fishing trawler, EJ Codd. Fog was blamed. Fortunately, no crew members died as everyone was rescued by another vessel, the Richmond which was nearby. The Fooks sank very quickly leaving just six feet of mast sticking up out of the water.

RJ Kennedy, an ‘official’ from The Fish Products Company, which owned the Fooks, declared that Captain Ira Swift of the Fooks, was not to blame. It was all the fault of the fog. According to Captain Carroll Rigby of the Codd, owned by The Consolidated Fisheries Company, the Fooks came out of nowhere and rammed his vessel. He tried reversing – Codd was a steamer – but it wasn’t enough.

Harry Kendall Fooks was a farmer, a canner and a long standing mayor of Laurel, Delaware. He died of a heart attack in 1936. He was only 58. I can only assume that the schooner was named after him.

The other thing that happened today was that Diana Rigg died at the age of 82. Oh, how I remember Emma Peel and how, somewhat later, amazing she was in Game of Thrones. She was the consummate actor.

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