I was recently talking to a friend about my holiday plans and for some reason we went onto the subject of lavender and my love for this beautiful and calming flower. This conversation in turn brought me to promise myself a trip to Provence in a near future. So how surprised was I when an invitation came through not long after to attend a sampling of some fine wines from that exact region at a recent pop-up by Drake & Morgan at The Folly. Voila, there I was, at ‘La Petite Provence’! Not exactly France, but close enough.
The Folly bar and restaurant is located in the City, just a stone’s throw away from Monument station. I don’t come to this part of town that often, which made for a nice change. The Folly is large, spread over two floors, with a fun and relaxed vibe. It was a Tuesday night and the place was buzzing with diners and people popping in for a post-work drink. Despite the vastness of the place, it managed to feel intimate – indoor trees and plants decorated with twinkly lights and wooden flower baskets hanging around the place, little pockets of small seating areas scattered amongst the venue.
The little pop-up garden, tucked away in the corner, was beautifully decorated in French vintage style, with lavender and other flowers and plant pots filling up the space. We indulged in some fine wines from Provence and even agreed to take part in a sensory wine tasting. Sitting around a table with half dozen of strangers can feel a bit uneasy sometimes, and to take it even further, we were told to put on a blindfold. Far from my usual Tuesday night, but in the spirit of things, I went with the flow. We were each given samples of wine, and told to name whatever flavours or smells came to mind. We were then given a piece of food to help enhance the flavours and then taste the wine again. The second time the flavours seemed to come out stronger, and to my surprise, I even managed to guess the main ingredients in both wines, which made for really fun experience.
There will be a number of special events held at the Folly during the summer. Throughout May until July, there’ll be an opportunity to meet French winemakers for tutored tasting. On 10th May, there will be experts from Château Riotor, on 22nd June from Château Unang and 5th July from Domaine Montrose. These events are complimentary and early booking is advised.
Also until August, there are three special packages on offer, giving customers the chance to sample various wonderful wines from the menu. The ‘Rose Flight’ is an opportunity to taste four different rosé wines, whereas the ‘Petite Plates’ package includes a glass of wine and a small plate of foods chosen for perfect pairing. The ‘Sensory Wine Tasting Session’ is a tasting experience like no other – yes, with your eyes blindfolded. This type of sampling allows for other senses, which we might not normally engage as much, to come to fruition.
These sessions are fantastic fun, perfect for long summer evenings or a nice weekend lunch with girlfriends.
- The Folly is based at 41 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0BT. For more information and bookings visit www.thefollybar.co.uk