What do you get from Lunya's cheese and wine tasting kit? How much is it and how easy to prepare?
What - Lunya, Cheese tasting via Zoom
Famed for its Catalan tomato bread, gambas pil pil and deep-fried Monte Enebro, Lunya is Liverpool’s award-winning Spanish deli and restaurant with a fresh spin on traditional tapas.
The addition of membrillo is a revelation; sweet, blossomy and full of sunshine. You don’t get that with a jar of Branston
When we last got up close and personal with owner Peter Kinsella in March 2020, as Lunya celebrated 10 years in business, the biggest problem on his plate was Brexit. Since then, Lunya has diversified and delivered; launching tapas takeout, cook-at-home meals and a new range of hampers, as well as online ‘cook-alongs’ and beverage tastings. This month even saw an Abba-themed Spanish food, drink and music quiz. Gimme, gimme, gimme a manchego after midnight.
What do you get and how much does it cost?
I decided to dip into the world of fromage fancy with a celebration of Spanish cheese that promises a fun, informal and relaxed evening to ‘think cheese, talk cheese, eat cheese and drink cheese.’ Drink cheese? Wait, what? Anyway, it’s £35 per person for eight different cheese tasters, a range of accompaniments and three wines. First impressions after opening the box up are promising, with an interesting selection of cheese and nibbles including crackers from The Fine Cheese Company; Picos de Pan; Hawkshead fig and cinnamon chutney; honey, date and walnut wheel; and a large spoon of membrillo (quince paste).
But let’s talk about the wine, because that and drinking it is something I very much love to do. In this package you get three small bottles with 90ml of wine in each; Costa Cruz Tinto, Costa Cruz Blanco and Fancy Pants old vine garnacha. For reference, a small wine glass measure is 125ml. Introverts and oenophiles be warned; this amount of wine isn’t enough to get my cat drunk, nor warm me up for two hours of cheese chat with a group of strangers.
What do you have to do and how difficult is it?
The easiest dine-at-home box I’ve tried yet. Get your cheese out of the fridge two hours before (to come up to room temperature), lay everything out on the table and then sign in to the Zoom at 7pm. The event is hosted live by Peter and Tom, general manager of Lunyalita. As we sample the cheese, we also get an insight into how it’s made, chat about different styles of cheese and all the other usual Zoom antics.
“Whose dog is that?” asks my partner, peeping their nose round the door. “That’s Peter’s dog, Churros,” I reply, guzzling a large glass of my own Chilean Sauvignon Blanc in between nibbles of Diaz Miguel Manchego. Peter tells us to really chew the cheese and get the saliva going to release the flavours. The addition of membrillo is a revelation to me; sweet, blossomy and full of sunshine. You don’t get that with a jar of Branston.
There’s another Manchego, Villarejo rosemary, with a sharper and grassier flavour. “This is what sheep smell like if you get close up to them,” says Peter. I’ll take your word for it, pal.
One of my favourites is Cer (pronounced Sir), a cow’s cheese from Catalunya, which we dip into the honey. “All wine goes with all cheese, but this white goes really well,” says Peter, as we muse over the teeny bottle of Costa Cruz Blanco, a fragrant blend of Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is all lovely, I just needed more of it.
We travel to Adrall in Catalunya for creamy Ermesenda and then try some Garrotxa, made from the milk of Murcia and Granada goats. Next up is Valdeon, a semi-soft blue, wrapped in maple leaves and made in the Picos de Europa mountains in northern Spain from both cow and goat milk. For post-Brexit measure, a Snowdonian ‘Red Devil’ is included in the mix; a Red Leicester blended with fiery crushed chillies and black pepper. The crowd is divided. “I like it but it’s a bit hot for my sister,” says Alice. The only cheese that I don’t like is the El Abuelo Ruperto. Peter says it smells like sweaty socks and Don Quixote’s gooch after a very hot day in the saddle. Again, I’ll take your word for it, pal.
Is it any cop?
Peter has spent a lot of time visiting and researching remote places in Spain to find the most interesting and top-quality products to bring to his customers. What they’ve done really well is to create inclusive events that can be enjoyed by everyone, from single people to larger families. Yes, dine in for two deals everywhere; I see you.
More than 50 people joined in this live cheese tasting including guests from Brighton, Edinburgh and Norfolk. Will the demand for online events continue after lockdown? I hope so, because it feels like a good way for people to stay connected, no matter where you are.
The next Lunya cheese tasting takes place on 30 April. If you can’t wait that long, Saturday 27 March is a ‘rock anthems’ themed Spanish food, drink and music quiz. Guests are encouraged to dress up - we’re already planning David Bowie as ‘Star-manchego’.
Lunya, 55 Hanover St, Liverpool L1 3DN
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