Will Smith, hospitality expert from ArbutusWild Honey and Les Deux Salons,  and Xavier Rousset from Texture and 2850 Wine Workshop and Kitchen, let FOUR in on their Easter suggestions.

Will says “although Easter has huge religious significance it is also recognised as an important holiday/long weekend. Combined with the school holidays, the weekend has become one of family time (possibly with a church visit in the middle) and of course, far too many chocolate eggs.

“Food at Easter to me is also a celebration of Spring and all that the seasonal change brings about, and the most obvious of all Spring dishes to my mind is Roast Lamb (we use succulent, juicy lamb from the Elwy Valley in North Wales). With lamb it is always red wine, the fattiness in the meat combines beautifully with the wine's dry tannins and body. My classic choice would be a Cabernet Sauvignon, it often has a slight minty subtlety (and we all know that works with lamb) and savouriness. Try something like the Arlewood Estate Cabernet from Margaret River in Australia. Dense, rich and savoury or alternatively, head to France and the Loire Valley. A lighter drinking and lower alcohol Cote Roannaise, Domaine des Pothiers. At just 12% alcohol, it is made from the Gamay St Romain grape, with lovely raspberry fruit and a slight pepperiness with fine grained tannins.”

Xavier goes for a Spanish red. “From the North West of Spain, Mencia is fast becoming a “trendy” grape", he tells us "high quality producers get a lovely perfume, floral and spicy notes, usually balanced by good acidity making it perfect with a slightly fatty lamb dish.”

Will adds “over this weekend there will also be an abundance of Hot Cross Buns and Simnel cake (a rich fruit cake with marzipan topping).  With Simnel cake a Malmsey Madeira can be delicious. It has, of course, a sweetness but the grape has a high acidity to balance this. Rich, dried fruits and spices. Try Blandy's 10 year old.

“Naturally there will be entertaining, family visits and so on, so a good all round white to serve with food and which is also delicious to drink on its own could be an Austrian Gruner Veltliner.  We're serving a delicious example made by Anton Bauer, from the rolling hills known as the Wagram. The wine is delicious, with apple and nut on the nose and a slightly spicy mid-weight palate.”

And for all that chocolate Xavier suggests a port. “In this country, Port is usually associated with cheese, but I would highly recommend with dark chocolate, especially the LBV style or even Ruby, full of dark fruit, spicy and rich, best drunk young. Make sure you don’t drink it too warm, ideally around 16-18 degrees, not room temperature!”

To conclude, Will tells us “enjoy the break and with luck some fine seasonal weather for a stroll, but most importantly enjoy great company, family and friends and some stylish wine suggestions to boot.”


Wine and Chocolate © Kevin Shine, flickr