Sake sommeliery at Harrods

Published on BespokeRSVP on 30th April 2012:

sake sommelier at Harrods wine shop

Sake, that illusive Japanese drink which, despite its increasing popularity in restaurants and elsewhere, remains a bit of a mystery to the public.

For one, there is often misconceptions about what it is. Despite the fact that basic versions are now widely available in supermarkets, it is still often mistakenly called Japanese rice wine. In reality, the process of making sake is more like that of beer – the starch in rice must be converted to sugars before it can be fermented using yeast. And in Japan, the establishments which make sake are called breweries.

Then there is the matter of how to drink sake. Should you have it warm or cold? And how does this then affect that food you might have with it? After all, sake is reported to have completely different characteristics on the palate compared to the nose.

Luckily these, and other intricate matters, are covered in the first and only sake sommelier course in the UK. Held in the private room of Harrod’s wine shop, the course is run by the Sake Sommelier Association and offers an introduction to the history of sake, its making and its characteristics. Although the course is only intended as an introduction, you do get a serious overview of everything. Particularly useful, perhaps, is the classification of sake – a very confusing matter when you realise there are names for every variation!

sake sommelier at Harrods wine shop

Theory aside, you will also get to sample a few sakes from different categories and at different temperatures – everything from super polished to slightly aged. The tasting is tutored and with specially designed glasses by Riedel as well as more traditional glassware so you leave with a great set of tasting notes and ideas on how to match particular sakes with food. And as you leave, you will receive a sake sommelier certificate too. Just think, a newly qualified sake sommelier in just one session.

Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea preview

Published on Foodepedia on 27th August 2010:

Eric Lanard decorating cake

“Champagne! Champagne for everyone!” Dahling, that’s how things roll at Harrods.

Well, at least that’s the way things went down when Foodepedia was invited to attend a cake making master-class this week with celebrity Patissier, Eric Lanlard, at Harrod’s Poggenpohl Kitchens. The event was the tasty preview of the Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea opening at Harrods next week, not that we needed an excuse to indulge of course.

Eric Lanlard showed us how to make Grace and Shot St. Honoré, both part of the Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea, as well as the chocolate and raspberry cake available from his Battersea emporium, Cake Boy.

Eric Lanard decorating cake

Grace was the orange and lavender almond cake, inspired by the home of perfume, Grasse. It’s so rich and luxurious that you almost have to stop mid-bite to savour the flavours, except then you start to miss the taste in your mouth and would inevitably hurry on to finish the rest.

Shot St. Honoré was an Eton mess with a difference. Layers of meringue, vanilla cream, raspberry and lychee were topped with a rose petal mousse and served with a pipette of lemongrass and coconut. Discovering the different flavours was a journey in itself.

The intense experience of the chocolate and raspberry cake is pretty self-explanatory, even the shiver down your spine as the chocolate ganache melts on your tongue with just the faintest bit of raspberry sours.

They say that around three quarters of what we think we’re tasting actually comes from our sense of smell. If that were indeed the case then this selection of delights would be truly intoxicating.

The Perfume Diaries Afternoon Tea will be open to the public from the 2nd of September until the 2nd of October at the Georgian Restaurant, Harrods. The Perfume Diaries exhibition will be open on the Fourth Floor at Harrods from the 28th of August.

For more information, visit