The 200 Club | Bompas & Parr & ‘Bespoke Offer’s’ record-breaking supper

Blue: the theme for the afternoon course, which will include naturally tinted roots and skilfully prepared fish.

Early last week I cooked a three-course meal. I know, no big deal, right?

I usually stick to two courses though. I launch myself into the main course, and then put a pre-prepared pudding on the table. Minimum effort, maximum time to catch-up with friends. But last Tuesday night I pulled out all the stops. I served watercress and soda bread to start, then bavette with chimichurri, and finally a pavlova…. 

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Montreuil: 21st Century Booze Cruise

The Booze Cruise, at its peak in the 1990s

The booze cruise of the nineties played out to a set rhythm: hire a white transit van, make a beeline to a greasy spoon, then a mad dash across The Channel to Calais warehouses where the booze was piled high and flogged cheap … and back in time for tea.

Hoards flocked across The Channel, fueled by 48p/litre petrol and £1 ferry crossings. They took advantage of the paltry amount that the French taxed wine and cheerfully crammed the boot full. Eight years ago, the enthusiasm for a ‘booze cruise’ started to waiver though. The pound began to slide. Petrol prices went up, and so did the cost of Channel crossings. A wider variety of cheap wine became available in British supermarkets, and lots of the Calais wine warehouses started to close…. 

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