We were very happy to be able to spend a few days over New Year with our friends in Den Bosch. The town is architecturally very pleasing with a traditional square and up-market bars and shops. It also boasts one of my favourite wine shops, Henri Bloem.
It is a relatively small shop but covers wines from most of the world, all of which seem to be well-chosen and reasonably priced.
The day before, we visited the Openluchtmuseum near Arnhem. It is a large site containing historical buildings and shops throughout the ages. It was made extra magical by the snow and cold. The Dutch people do a lot of stuff very well, one ticket provided access to all the houses, cooking demonstrations, traditional crafts, a tram ride, sledging and ice skating. I am sure in The UK we would have had to pay separately for each and parking to boot.
Anyway, back to the wine, for our New Years Evening meal, our hosts had carefully prepared a delicious meal of artichoke soup with dill, a rich beef bourguignon and a cheese board. We enjoyed some Malbec from Argentina and a young 2008 Vacqueyras. Both were excellent.
Vacqueyras is a Cote de Rhone village with AOC status and it produces rich dark wines with a pepper spice scent, not as expensive or as full on as neighbours Chateauneuf du Pape or Gigondas. The year 2007 was a great year so keep your eyes open for that vintage which is still widely available.
The evening ended with the traditional cacophony of fireworks and Dutch treats of oliebollen (doughnuts) and apple beignets (fritters).
A great time !