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Historical tea tastings, Big Lebowski-inspired bowling banquets, DIY beer brewing and Turkish supper clubs: there's a wealth of unique exciting food and drink events taking place in London this autumn. Here's the cream of the crop.
A taste of his-tea-ry
Find out the history of England's favourite hot beverage with 'tea meditator and inspirator' Lera. On her South Bank walk, find out the difference between Chinese and Indian teas, how Charles II's marriage influenced tea's popularity, and tea's connection to Dickens, Thatcher and the Tate. On the northern continuation, learn about tea ceremonies, tea auctions, tea storage and more. Both tours include tea and cake.
Coffee is a serious business
Treat coffee as an art instead of an addiction and start making brilliant brews with a masterclass. At Yellow Warbler in Stoke Newington there's a cupping (coffee-speak for 'tasting') of different origins and processes, to learn about the range of flavours possible, a talk on roasting and brewing processes, demonstrations of how to brew coffee with Aeropress, v60 and French Press and, most importantly, the chance to brew your own.
At Jenius Social's Coffee Masterclass in Hornsey, you'll learn how taste is influenced by everything from terroir and processing methods to transport, storage, roasting and brewing methods. You'll find out how the ripe coffee fruit begins its journey in the tropics and eventually ends up in your cup, ready to drink. There'll be brewing with the AeroPress, the French press, the Chemex and pour over, and the chance to get properly hands-on.
Breweries and beer tasting
What better way to appreciate a pint than at the wonderful places they are produced. At Hammerton Brewery in Islington you'll get a welcome beer before your tour where you'll learn how beer is brewed, how the kit works, and get a good sniff — and even a taste — of the malts and hops they use. Over in Hackney, you can sample five beers on a two-hour tour at The Five Points Brewing Company. Or learn to brew yourself at Home Brew Depot in Homerton. You'll go home with a gallon of beer ready to start fermenting, a brew bible and a tummy full of beer and pub food.
Book Hammerton Brewery now for 30 October, 7pm or 31 October, 4pm, Five Points Brewing Company for 14 November, noon or Home Brew Depot for 24 or 31 October and Saturdays throughout November and December, all noon
Beer lovers will also enjoy a detailed introduction to pale ale, IPA, lager, stout and sour beer accompanied by mighty foot-long scratchings at Draft House pubs. Catch their beer masterclasses all over the capital.
Book now for the City on 24 October, Bloomsbury on 31 October, Wandsworth on 7 November, Tower Bridge on 14 November, Battersea on 21 November, Hammersmith on 28 November, and Columbia Road on 5 December, all at noon
Wine tasting at Vintner's Hall
Davy's Wine Merchants was established in 1870 so it's safe to say they've got a few years of experience under their belt. Join them at historic Vintner's Hall, the home of the Worshipful Company of Vintners (one of the 12 City livery companies) for an autumn tasting of over 70 wines for the season ahead with experts on hand to help.
Dinner and drinks with a difference
Are your food and drink pairing skills limited to lager with curry and house plonk with everything else? Expand your horizons at meals matched with madeira, port and whisky. Peyton and Byrne and whisky guru Alison Taffs whisk up five whisky-paired courses at the Royal Academy of Art's Keeper's House while Davy's Wine Merchants team up with Chris Blandy of the famous Blandy madeira makers and Charlotte Symington of the renowned Symington port producers, with tastings and two-courses at each.
We love classic cinema snacks, but certain films call for more. Watching wine documentary La Bobal Revisited without a glass or two after would be torturous so Copa de Cava's sensibly screening it with an accompanying tasting. Feed Me Films get even more lavish at their Big Lebowski shindig. Drink like the Dude with a White Russian, plus a cold brew coffee martini, Brooklyn Brewery's American Ale, a Voodoo Ray's giant Californian pizza slice, a 'secret edible Bowling Ball dessert' and four surprise snacks. And an hour and a half of bowling.
We love how you can eat your way around the world without leaving the capital — it's the best bit of travel without the flight delays and dodgy hotels. So if you're yearning for some Spanish savouries, try The Porchester's Tapas Tasting, for five courses complemented by Mediterranean beer. Or get more Middle Eastern at Turkish Delight: The Supper Club with John Gregory-Smith at Jamie Oliver's Recipease. The freekeh, yoghurt and spinach salad, smoked aubergine labna and Aegean aubergine pilav will taste even better knowing all proceeds support the core food education programmes of the Jamie Oliver Foundation.
Or get stuck in before you tuck in at a bunch of cooking classes. Want to make pasta like an Italian nonna? Learn from her granddaughter Silvana at Tutti and Tavola's handmade pasta class. Expand your repertoire well beyond spag bol with classes on ricotta and pumpkin gnocchi with porcini mushrooms, cocoa tagliatelle with boar ragu and Lombardy buckwheat pasta with cabbage, potatoes and melted cheese. You can also learn to roll sushi like a pro with real Genji chefs at Whole Foods — or better still, get the kids to make supper for a change.
And don't miss out because of dietary requirements: Vegan Day of the Dead makes meat-free Mexican a mouthwatering proposition, with five courses from chef Julio direct from Mexico City. Fat Gay Vegan are also throwing party tunes, an altar and plenty of mezcal into the mix.
Book Tapas Tasting now for 21 October, 7.30pm, Tutti and Tavola's pasta class for 31 October, 4.30pm, Turkish Delight for 4 November, Kids' Sushi Class for 9 November, 9pm, Adults' Sushi Class for 14 December and Vegan Day of the Dead for 1 November, 5.30pm or 8pm.
Find more food and drink events and loads more at Eventbrite.