We are delighted to be working with Squaremeal and Jazz FM to produce Tio Pepe Tasters – a series of 6 audio interviews with leading chefs, restaurateurs and bar owners. Over the next 6 weeks Ben Mccormack, editor of Squaremeal.co.uk, will chat to guests to uncover the perfect Tio Pepe food matches, recipes and cocktail serves. Listen to the full interviews each week at www.squaremeal.co.uk or catch bite sized snippets featuring throughout the period on Jazz FM.
Lucia Montanelli of The Dorchester has a talent for bartending. This talent is clearly demonstrated by cocktail competitions she has won – including being selected as the winner of the UK finals of the Tio Pepe Challenge 2017. Lucia first developed these skills in her native Italy where she also first discovered Tio Pepe and started using it in her cocktails.
According to Lucia, Tio Pepe makes a perfect cocktail ingredient due to its versatility and ability to match with so many other ingredients. She won the Tio Pepe challenge with her version of a Sherry Cobbler but loves to use Tio Pepe in place of Vermouth or other ingredients to give a fresh twist on a classic cocktail such as a Manhattan or Bellini
The Spanish food scene in our capital has changed unrecognisably in the 30 years since restaurateur, Philip Diment, opened Meson Don Felipe in The Cut, Waterloo. Inspired by trips to Madrid with his Spanish wife, Philip introduced a style of eating that was unknown to most Londoners in 1987 – tapas!
Philip uses Tio Pepe both in his cooking, to add extraordinary depth to recipes, and to match dishes on his menu. At Meson Don Felipe he recommends simple tapas of fried sardines or octopus, steamed and served with salt, paprika and olive oil as his perfect match with Tio Pepe. The bone dry intensity of Fino cuts through the oiliness of the dishes and cleanses the palate which, in Philip’s opinion, also makes Tio Pepe the perfect match for Fish and Chips!
Andrea Briccarello is Group Sommelier and wine buyer for Galvin Restaurants, the family-run group of French restaurants founded by Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin in 2005. When Briccarello arrived in London in 1998 from his native Italy he had never experienced a glass of chilled Tio Pepe – in fact he was yet to try sherry of any style. Today, after almost a decade at Galvin Restaurants, he considers sherry to be the ace up his sleeve when it comes to pairing difficult foods like artichokes, asparagus or vinegar.
Andrea recommends Tio Pepe as an aperitif with the classic match of salted almonds and good quality olives but he also finds the dry, zingyness of Tio Pepe works well with fatty fish like salmon and is delicious with a range of shellfish. Tio Pepe and oysters is surely a recommendation worth trying!
Barrie Wilson is one of the four partners behind Sack, London’s newest and coolest Sherry Bar, located on the ground floor of The Napoleon Hotel on the corner of Christopher Street. With disco tunes and sherry cocktails served up alongside chilled glasses of Tio Pepe and bowls of salted almonds, Sack is a truly modern take on the traditional tabancos and bodegas of southern Spain and Andalusia.
For Wilson, 2017 was the right time to open a sherry bar because it is “bang on trend” and young people and bartenders from the worlds’ most famous bars are now engaging with the drink. Barrie has a number of favourite Tio Pepe cocktails but his latest creation is a simple mix of Tio Pepe and sparkling grapefruit juice – so new it is yet to be named!
Critically acclaimed chef José Pizarro is a well-known champion of Spanish cuisine and culture. After the success of his first solo venture, José Tapas Bar, which opened on Bermondsey Street in 2011, he went on to open two further London restaurants: Pizarro (down the road from José Tapas) and José Pizarro at Broadgate Circle.
José grew up with Tio Pepe, first seeing his uncle drinking it on childhood holidays, and today he loves its versatility both as a drink and as an ingredient in his cooking. He uses it in many of his recipes from an almond sauce with meatballs to prawns in garlic and chilli, however, for José there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Tio Pepe and a good Jamon Iberico – a match made in heaven!
César García, Ibérica Restaurants
We kick off the series with César García, Group Head Chef at Ibérica Restaurants. Originally from Asturias, César has been part of Ibérica Restaurants since they first opened in Marylebone. Since then the group has expanded throughout London and into Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow. César explains how he likes to use Tio Pepe in his cooking, from sautéed garlic clams to a cream of artichoke sauce, and to match a wide range of foods and flavours. However, when he gets home late from the restaurant he likes to keep it simple – that is the moment to enjoy a glass of Tio Pepe, fresh from the fridge, with a salad of smoked salmon or avocado.