Ladies night out at The Truro Festival

Truro Festival began with a jam packed Saturday full of events and activities to pick and choose from.  Instead of being involved with this particular Festival event, this time, I organised two of my friends to join me in attending this woman only occasion – ‘Salon du Chocolat’ performed by Rebecca Mordan and Sharon Andrew.  The duo are talented in their ability to convey literature that captivates and entertains.  I had indicated to my friends that Salon du Chocolat was performed by Scary Little Girls Theatre company.

Salon Du chocolat

When chocolate was first brought to England in the 1600s, it was considered a taboo substance, enjoyed only by the scandalous and elite in private salons.  Some of our finest literature was also once considered too provocative for public consumption and was heard in similar salon environments by only the boldest of ears!

Scary Little Girls invited a female-only audience to join them for a stimulating and intimate evening of storytelling celebrating the relationship between salons, chocolate and forbidden literature!  We heard of tales which explored female desires from authors such as Edna St Vincent Millay, Stella Duffy, John Keats and Daphne du Maurier – and of course enjoyed chocolate treats too!

I met the delightful performers at last year’s Truro Festival in our cosy yurt on Lemon Quay during howling gales.  It was a fabulous evening full of laughter and decadent literature.

As this was our rare ‘girls night out’ in Truro we organised, to try the new bar and wine merchant ‘The Art of Wine’  situated in Nalders Court before heading to the show.  Home to some fabulous independent fashion boutiques such as Melange, Plum and Benetton, as well as The Original Art ShopNalders Court leads off Pydar Street, just at the entrance to Laura Ashley.

The Art of Wine has a unique and chic interior where we could sample wines from a smart gadget dispenser called WineEmotion.  The dispenser keeps the wine at a perfect temperature and we were able to sample the wine at a reasonable price per glass, small, medium or large.  We managed to sample two, with guidance from the knowledgeable Roland.  I preferred the fruity South African Sauvignon Blanc, Ataraxia by Kevin Grant. I ended up buying a bottle for a special occasion.

We then, raced off for the performance at 7pm on Lemon Quay.  The marquee was decorated in the theme of Samuel Foote.  (Truro’s long lost Truronian from the 18th century, he was the first stand-up comedian and known as the funniest man in London.)  The lights were dimmed and the lectern was poised for the drama to unfold.  We had exerts from ‘A Letter to my Love’ by Nicholas Stuart Gray, to ‘In Praise of Older Women’ by Frank Kaiser.  During the interval we were served rich hot chocolate from Oscars Coffee Shop and Deli (from Samuel Foote’s Coffee house), as well as delicious homemade brownies with flickers of ginger.

Salon Du Chocolac

The evening continued with highlights from ‘Mistress of the Art of Death’ by Ariana Franklin and ended on a high with ‘The Ballad of Freda and Barry’ by Victoria Wood.  In a flash of the eye, the evening was over and you could tell that the audience thoroughly enjoyed it – wonderful to hear good hearty laughter from all the women.

St. Piran’s Day celebrations in Truro

Living in these meager times cannot be easy, however an excellent excuse to enjoy ourselves has arisen with the St. Piran’s day celebrations in Truro – our great little city.  On Saturday the 5th of March there will be the St. Piran’s marquee, with items Made in Cornwall.

From 10am until 12noon, there will be a children’s workshop with Clare Summerson of ARTiCulate.  A morning of craft, to make a symbol to carry in the Grand Parade.  It is a free event, although you need to book via email  tic@truro.gov.uk or call The Tourist Information Office 01872 274555.

There will be Cornish performers in the marquee from 1-4pm and the line up looks exciting!

1 – 1.30pm – Kemysk (Cornish Dance Team)

1.30 – 2pm – Keur Heb Hanow (Cornish Language Choir)

2 – 2.30pm – The Stowes (Folk Band)

2.30 – 3pm – All Thraw’d Together (Male Voice Choir)

3 – 3.30pm –  Loic Rich

3.30 – 4pm – Bert Biscoe

Then at 6.30-8.30pm, there will be Dalla and Kernow King performing and the event costs £10, including a bowl of warming Cornish Chilli!  Booking with tic@truro.gov.uk and call 01872 274555 

Kernow King-16

The highlight of the day is the parade at 1pm, from St George’s Road to High Cross – all are welcome to join or watch, with tartans and flags.  ‘Trelawny’ will be led by the City of Truro Male Voice Choir.  2012 Flags outside the cathedral (2)

We hope to fill Truro with a great atmosphere and community spirit, many of the pubs have Cornish bands or some live entertainment and of course, make sure you join in and sing at 9pm together in unison!

master map d (2)

Truro Map & Guide – Our Great Little City!

We now have a new map for Truro.  The Truro Guide (spring edition) provides the first outing for the newly produced map of the city centre, which replaces the much loved but outdated previous map.

It was commissioned by us, Totally Truro (The Truro Business Improvement District) and meticulously drawn by local designer Graeme Rust.  It is beautiful and took sometime, with incredible detail, including the opes and alley ways.

The second iteration of the map is also in circulation – an A3 two colour ‘tear-off’ version for use at hotel and visitor reception desks. The map will also be used in display boards across the city centre and as a fold-out version.

master map d (2)

We are thinking about having it printed for the public to use.  If you are keen to advertise to get the map out there.  Please email me sian.knights@totallytruro.co.uk

The Truro Guide is now out and is the brand new ‘Official guide to the city and rural district of Truro’. The guide is produced in collaboration between Truro City Council, Visit Truro Tourist Information and Totally Truro Business Improvement District and is designed and produced by Truro-based company, Wolf Rock Marketing. This is the first (twenty thousand were produced) of three editions that will be published each year to coincide with the seasons.  The summer and winter edition there will be fourty thousand copies produced) Copies of the guide can be picked up from Visit Truro Tourist Information on Boscawen Street or downloaded from www.enjoytruro.co.uk .

Front cover

We love the new design and hope that you find it a useful and attractive asset to promote both Truro and your business. The contents include a listing of all Truro’s food and drink businesses – if you would like any of your content or images changed for the summer edition please email sian.knights@totallytruro.co.uk

If you would like to advertise in the Truro guide then please contact: –
truroguide@wolfrockmarketing.co.uk or call 01872 262698

 

Cognac and Armagnac with Old Chapel Cellars

On Friday the 5th of February on a cold winter’s night I hastily rushed to Old Chapel Cellars in St. Clement Street, Truro for an evening of tasting Cognac and Armagnac. I was greeted by a warm welcome and a glass of champagne. Neil Monyard is one of the country’s leading experts when it comes to Cognac and Armagnac and a great raconteur! He has a wealth of knowledge and a passion for the drinks distinctive tastes and their history. Cognac Old Chapel Cellars Tastings (4)

Iain and Charlotte made us all feel most welcome and cooked a delicious rich stew. It was a relaxed evening on the prized Old Chapel Cellar couch and all six bottles were laid out ready, with glasses for us to begin our tasting. I am a novice when it comes to alcohol and I found the talk most interesting. I have always heard of cooking with Cognac or Armagnac in puddings, biscuits, stews and cocktails. I feel that I walked away with great knowledge about the drinks and that I had learned something that evening.

Cognac Old Chapel Cellars Tastings (3)

First of all, Armagnac, this is a type of brandy produced in the Armagnac area of France. Anything outside of this region is known as a French grape brandy. Armagnac is distilled using column stills (large container that holds the liquid) and made from a variety of grapes, which is aged in oak barrels. Armagnac is made on a far smaller scale than Cognac, which is dominated by big name global brands. The area where the grapes are grown to produce Armagnac is split into three, Bas-Armagnac, Armagnac-Tenareze and Haut-Armagnac. (Armagnac is has two distillations, however only one movement through the still. ) Once distilled it is then aged in the oak barrels (which gives flavour) and impacts on the colour of the beverage – as does where the barrels are stored, with regards to temperature and climate.

The Cognac is produced around the town of Cognac, from where its name derives.  Cognac has to be made from certain grapes, such as Ugni blanc (known as a high yielding grape and not prone to rotting easily) and is grown in a chalky soil. It is distilled twice in copper pot stills and also aged in oak barrels.

Map Cognac

The difference in the taste of the two drinks is mainly down to their geographic areas in France, with their soils which defines Cognac (chalk) and Armagnac (clay, sand, closer to the ocean). We tasted the Cognac and Armagnac against each other. The alcohol in both is 40%. The grades on the bottles are the same for both Cognac and Armagnac. We tasted the (Prunier) Cognac, which has been the leader in the Chinese market for 30 years. Whilst we sampled the Armagnac (Domaine De Papolle).

The first sipping we tasted was the three star VS (very special), where it has been stored in a cask for a minimum of two years. I preferred the Cognac. The Cognac seemed to show a bit more development of the grape.

With the second pair of bottles, we tried the VSOP (very superior old pale), which means it has been stored for at least four years. I noticed the incredible honey brown colour. I preferred the Armagnac this time, which seemed to show more complexity and little less ‘polish’.

Then, finally onto the more expensive bottles, we compared the XO (extra old), which is stored for at least eight years. With the Cognac, we drank from the Cognac Prunier family. This time, I preferred the taste of the Chateau de Lacaze Bas Armagnac, which was smoother and noticeably different to the first bottles that we tasted.

Neil advised that if you do have to mix your drink, then only use Ginger Ale (and not American Dry)! Overall, Neil surmised that Cognac and Armagnac have their ups and downs in popularity in the global market and he believes it will become increasingly more popular, just as Gin, Vodka and Whisky. He made the evening, fun and lively with Charlotte and Iain hosting us with pleasure.

Old Chapel Cellars holds regular wine tastings, as well as the first Friday of the month, where a guest speaker comes in and they cover a certain geographic area of wine, food is included and this is a ticketed event.

The next event is based on Southern Italy, Scilly and the Sardinia area, which is an up and coming area in the wine world. This area that use to produce delectable wine for the locals, has now been ‘discovered’. It costs £15pp and starts at 6.30pm on Friday the 4th of March at Old Chapel Cellars. Email wine@oldchapelcellars.co.uk or call 01872 270 545 to book your place.

Late Night Shopping with the family in Truro!

Off we headed after school into Truro. I was aiming to be in the city for 4pm to take advantage of the car park fee of £1.50 in most of the car parks, however, I opted for the sheltered NCP and their large child friendly red parking bays.  This meant, we were able to assemble the push chair, change and have a quick drink and a snack.  I think I was more excited than the girls about late night shopping in Truro!  I couldn’t wait to show them the sparkly lights in Truro and how festive it feels.

First stop was the Truro library to change our library books and then onto High Cross.  The children raced to the ‘snow’ covered tree and we grabbed the opportunity for a photograph.

Then we went into the Cathedral and admired the nativity scene and incredible Christmas tree which had been adorned with a plethora of decorations.  We looked in the gift shop for an angel on top of our Christmas tree at home, however opted for a star. The girls were allowed to choose a decoration each. This was not as easy as I had imagined it to be.  My two year old wished to pick up all breakable objects and it was it challenging to stay focused, whilst my eldest one was just as curious!  Thankfully my toddler chose a safe pink sparkle bauble that was for sale under the table – perfect for her height and non breakable.  My eldest chose a large twinkly snow flake, which looks quite striking on  our Christmas tree.

We decided to go to ‘Sam’s in the City‘ in New Bridge Street for food and opted to sit down to eat, which meant my toddler could sit in a high chair.   (Its not so easy to eat street food with a toddler).  The children had fish and chips and small strawberry milkshakes….  Whilst I enjoyed a crisp white wine spritzer with calamari and chips.  The service was excellent, toilets immaculate and the staff friendly.  The children enjoyed colouring in their Sam’s in City pictures whilst waiting for supper to arrive.  My five year old did ask, ‘why is the mannequin wearing pants!’ (You know the one…..) I explained they were very short shorts!

We then headed off to see Father Christmas at Truro Library in his extraordinary grotto. The girls were extremely keen to see him and his elf helpers!  They were able to ‘write’ to him before going to see him and enjoyed the festive music and the present from his sack.

Walking to Boscawen Street, under the strings of stars in Cathedral Lane and beautifully lit trees at High Cross, with the hustle and bustle of the people in Truro – made it feel like a magical night.  On Boscawen Street , we admired the stalls and found the Raymonds swing chair carousal ride.  The girls adored this and wanted to go again, however bed time was beckoning. Finally we headed home after a special evening in ‘Our great little city’.