Saturday, 29 January 2011

Wine House of the Year 2010

That's right - we've won another award!! Not just us but all our wonderful staff as well! That's right, at the St Austell Tribute Estate awards (held at the Great Western Hotel in Newquay - very nice as well if you're ever in that neck of the woods!) last week we were delighted to find we had been short listed for 2 awards again this year - Marketing & Innovation (which we won last year) and Wine House of the Year - which we were shortlisted for last year but didn't win.

We were both really excited to see our shortlisting again this year (but soh who keeps my feet on the ground where he can!) advised caution against getting too excited........... the Marketing and Innovation came and went, and I sort of settled myself into the mindset of not being disappointed. This year the Wine House of the Year had 2 runners up - and when our name wasn't read out, I was almost sure we hadn't got it - needless to say when our name WAS read out - was I demure and gently pleased?? Hell NO!!! I let out a big whooop of delight and grinned from ear to ear!!

The award is a great for all of us at the Victoria Inn - it is judged on display, sales, knowledge etc and our staff certainly know their stuff when it comes to selling our wines so I am as pleased for them as I was for us........ it's a great all round achievement! The main picture is of us with Kathryn from the wine department at St Austell and Charles from De Castelnau - the sponsors of the award, and the smaller picture is of our friend Jim on the stage reading out the awards.
We were awarded a beautiful crystal trophy, a magnum of Champagne from De Castelnau, a weekend in Champagne later this year and a substantial monetary award - which I'm sure we will put too good use!

Of course, I stayed reasonably sober for the rest of the event.........(!) and I'm sure I must have eaten something that disagreed with me and made me feel so unwell for the next 2 days (coughs very loudly from SOH behind me as I say that!!). Needless to say, the last hour or so the evening are just a little tiny bit blurred....... :)

So then that's January and all of it's excitement almost over and done with - and my goodness, what a great month trading wise we have had.......... even today, when it's been freezing cold and blowing an absolute gale we have done almost 90 covers in the lunch hour! Without doubt our best January since we started here in Salcombe, and I'm absolutely sure it's down to the 2 new big hotel's that have opened here - The Marine Hotel and South Sands. Both great hotels, attracting the sort of visitors to them that are our type of visitor and the whole town feeling a boost because of it! Hoorah!!

Our bookings for the Hobbit House are coming in quite fast so far and February is fully booked up with a couple of workmen here doing some work on the Estuary, so all told, a good start to the year!

James (our Head Chef) and I have been working hard the last couple of weeks at introducing a Spring menu as I want to move away from just 2 new menu's a year to 4. This time we're also moving away from the open sandwiches to closed - but fantastic choices (Chorizo & Brie and Roast Beef & Creamed Horesradish to name 2 new ones) and also to a smaller main menu but more varied 'specials'. Great puds as always - Pan seared Pineapple with Cracked Black Pepper and White Chocolate & Raspberry Mousse to tickle your fancy amongst others, and we've desperately tried to keep the prices down as far as possible whilst having to work with the blessed VAT rise!
The new menu's come in on the 10th February - just in time for the half term, so it'll be interesting to see what our visitors think...............??
What does this week bring us then? Well, I think we're going to the EXPO 2011 show at Exeter - a trade show that's always worth a look round - with lots of free samples of all sorts of things as well as food tasting - memo to self: Pace yourself this year!! Remember that too much Ice Cream is a bad idea!! Then we may have to do a bit of cover at Captain Morgans because of staff changes and holidays etc - that might be a bit of fun as well! 2nd memo to self - Bacon Sarnies are lovely, but again - you can have too much of a good thing!!
Talking of food I've got my head back into gear about eating healthily and doing some exercise again - I have this great app on my IPhone which gets me walking and running, but the biting winds the last couple of days have hindered me somewhat, but I'm not getting too anxious about it - I know I can do it, just need the better weather really!
The following week my little Betsy is going to have to go to Smart for a bit of a once over - a most peculiar burning rubber smell from her engine every now and then (which is at the back of the car!) so as I'm off to Portsmouth again at the beginning of March I thought I should get her looked at in good time! I'm already at the stage of wondering how on earth I ever managed with out being able to drive and have a car, it already feels so natural to be able to zip here there and everywhere! I do hope they look after her............................
Till next time lovelies x

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