Welcome to Cheese-aholics Anonymous. It’s been three hours since my last fix and I’m not sorry.
I’ve been a member of the Meltdown fan club for quite some time now. Initially drawn in by the filterless tweets and the promise of cheese in abundance, I thought how good could a toastie really be? After the first bite, I immediately regretted ever second guessing it. It’s so much more than just a toastie; it’s the kind of toastie all bread and cheese dream they could combine together and be. So when I found out they were hosting a wine and cheese evening, I was quick to sign myself up along with a number of fellow amble teamies.
Upon arrival, Laura greets us with a smile and a G&T and we mingle with the other diners until everyone else has arrived. Appetizers of blue cheese, grape and cucumber go down well with the palate cleansing Gin and provide a taste of what’s to come. To avoid an amble takeover we split the group across two tables and play musical chairs with each course, making a bit of a game of it and getting to know the people we’re sat with (a mix of Handbridge locals and Meltdown superfans). I really enjoy the relaxed, sociable atmosphere. Everyone’s in high spirits and Laura’s hosting and infectious humour made it a really comfortable, flowing evening.
Talk turns from the regular catch up chats and get-to-know-yous to excitement about the magazine (it’s finally here!) and we welcome our starters with open arms. A thick slab of toasted goat’s cheese on a fig and hazelnut croute with rocket salad and a homemade pear chutney that Laura isn’t half chuffed with. And so she should be! Light, fresh flavours are just as the doctor ordered and the crisp, refreshing glass of white is a right treat in this heat! We joke about the varying attempts our group has made at the side salad: one licking the plate clean, one giving it polite consideration and myself ignoring it entirely (as I stand firm in my belief that rocket is the work of the devil).
All change for course number two! We greet our new arrivals and with that a new course and a new wine. The main is pork saltimbocca stuffed with Emmental and served with sweet potato puree and sage butter, accompanied by a glass of Côtes du Rhone. I was dreaming of this for days afterwards and could easily have eaten another three courses of this alone. I’m definitely a red wine person and enjoyed every last drop (and a cheeky refill).
For course number three we change tables entirely and are given a very warm (and slightly merry) welcome by our new companions, who seem thrilled with the concept of our table arrangement. It seems to be adding an unexpected air of frivolity to the evening and keeping everyone on their toes. After finding out a little more about everyone at our table, desserts arrive freshly prepared. A beautiful homemade meringue piled with freshly whipped mascarpone, summer berries and a drizzle of dark chocolate served with a lightly sparkling Vinho Verde. A sweet kick is the best way to round off a cheesy feast.
But wait a minute… we’re not done yet! We’re offered dessert wine or espresso martinis and unanimously opt for the martinis (shaken in a pickle jar) and are presented with a board of tempting dark chocolate treats. I’ve heard tell of these chocolate covered Brie bites but never seen one in the flesh. Always one to try new things, I dive right in and am rewarded with a rich/salty/sweet taste sensation. I’m a convert! A fellow diner informs us that she comes solely for these and I’m not surprised; I’d sell my friends for these.
Still in a party mood, we extend our eternal gratitude to Laura for hosting a perfect evening and head on to Metronome jazz bar with some of our newfound friends to see out the rest of the night. Meltdown has been going from strength to strength and I’m sure there will be many more cheese fuelled nights in the future. At £25 per head, it was definitely well worth the price and a great night seemed to be had by all. I will, however, fight you for the last piece of chocolate covered Brie.
The next event is on 31st August – an 80s themed affair – call 01244 659528 for tickets, and keep an eye out on Twitter for other upcoming dates.