Vin Van (d)u Pays – well not much at all actually! Vin Van Caerdydd & Mr. Croquewich wine & food pairing evening.

Whilst slowing broiling in my home office (wishing I was back in the air conditioned office) during the heat wave the other week, I was perusing Vin Van Caerdydd’s (a local wine merchant) website for a suitable present for someone.

They have a great selection, including some rather good Welsh wines which I took advantage of earlier this Summer

and I went Welsh again (Welsh wine is not just for Welsh Wine Week) with  a bottle of Pen Y Clawdd sparkling bought as said present.

Whilst on the website I came across what look like too good a deal to be true.

A fab looking menu from Mr. Croquewich, which I knew would be good based on the quality of their lockdown bistro menu, and 4 glasses of wine (including a glass of fizz) from Vin Van Caerdydd (which I knew had a pretty good list).

All this in glorious sunshine, at their outdoor Bridge Street Studio base, for £35 a head was just too good an opportunity to be missed.

Tickets duly bought, Mrs. SF, J and I walked the short distance from my Llandaff base on a fine summer’s evening.

The food and drink

On arrival we had a rather charming fizz in the form of a Velfrey Brut from Pembrokeshire (£34 retail), with seyval blanc, pinot noir and chardonnay in the blend.

Very nice fizz this, with a delicate mousse, citrus and brioche aromas and nicely biscuity and citrus fruit flavours on the palate.

J enjoyed this so much she bought a bottle at the end of the night.

On the food front, first up was a rift on a salade Nicoise with the traditional tuna replaced with a creamy goats cheese.

Really nice fresh dish this, with the gooey goats cheese (Crottin de Chavignol, I think) working a treat with the Nicoise components. Great start to the evening.

The wine paired with was a Domaine des Balnettes muscadet (£13.99 retail),

which worked very well with the Nicoise.

Nice crisp, clean, minerality and a pleasing citrus tang to this wine, with a bit of oomph in terms of body provided by it being left on the lees

The main course of lamb with puy lentils and a provençal sauce was an absolute doozy of a dish,

with a hulking great bit of beautifully cooked confit lamb as the centre piece.

The philistine that I am couldn’t resist mashing it all up,

which rather ruined the asthetics, but boy did it deliver on the flavour front.

The richness of the lamb was nicely balanced by the fresh acidity of the tomato and black olive provençal sauce. The puy lentils, very underrated carb in my opinion, had a rather lovely creamy nuttiness to them and just the right amount of bite (lentils are very much in the  goldilocks food group –  too hard or too soft and they are vile, but just the right bite and seasoning and they are👌).

The wine pairing with this was an interesting Domaine de Brau 60:40 cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon blend from Languedoc-Roussillon (£12.99 retail).

Nice glugger this,

with a perfumed floral nose and nicely fruity (cherry and blackcurrant) on the palate. Worked a treat with the lamb.

The final course was a snickerdoodle based dessert, which I had never had before.

Rather nice, I have to say, being cheesecake (sans the base), apple compot and caramel sauce all sandwich between two nicely chewy cinnamon infused cookies.

It tasted a good as it sounded and looked.

The wine with this was a Aussie sticky in the form of a 2010 botrytised semillion from Cranswick Estate (£9.99 retail).

Mrs. SF and I love a sweetie (J less so, but I am working on that) and this was a pretty good one especially for tbe £9.99 price it retails at.

On the nose it was quite honeyed, with a touch of orange marmalade. On the palate, there was both stone fruits (sweet apricot) and tropical fruits (pineapple).

Reasonable level of acidity that kept it from being cloying and I though it paired well with the dessert.

The verdict

Excellent evening with top quality food and wines to match (all interesting and successful pairs).

The lady who runs Vin Van Caerdydd gave an intro. to each wine, which hit the right balance. Enough info. for wine geeks like me, but without getting bogged down in the detail. Her enthusiasm for the wines was quite infectious.

I bought a bottle of the Cranswick and J picked up a bottle of the rather fine Velfry fizz (wine of the night for me and J) at the end of the night to top off a rather fine evening.

Good food, good booze, good weather and good company – can’t ask for better than that can you.

Vin Van Caerdydd and Mr. Croquewich have confirmed they will  being doing more of these events going forward.

My advice is keep an eye on their social media feeds and website for the next event.

It is also worth noting that you can go down to Bridge Street Studios for food (some great chicken burgers from Mr. Croquewich),

wine and beer on the weekend.

Bit of a hidden gem of a spot if you ask me.

It is a bit tricky to find, but just go down by the Western Avenue side of the car wash (closest to Western Avenue) on the corner of Western Avenue and Bridge Street and that will take you there.


Bridge Street Studios

Address: 454 Western Avenue, Cardiff, CF5 3LB (behind the car wash place).

Vin Van Caerdydd


Mr. Croquewich



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