Vermouth in a glass

“Begin with a Vermouth Amaro in lieu of a cocktail...” Memorable meals recalled by famous names

March 5, 2020


Lt-Col Newnham-Davis describes a Venetian breakfast:

“Begin with a Vermouth Amaro in lieu of a cocktail. For hors d’oeuvres have a few small crabs cold, mashed up with sauce tartare and a slice or two of prosciutto crudo, cut as thin as cigarette paper. After this a steaming risotto with scampi, some cutlets done in the Bologna style, a thin slice of ham on top and hot parmesan and grated white truffles and fegato alla veneziana complete the repast except for a slice of stracchino cheese. A bottle of Valpolicella is exactly suited to this kind of repast and a glass of fine Champagne and of ruby-coloured Alkermes for the lady make a good ending.”


Lieutenant Henry “Birdie” Bowers, a member of Captain Scott’s fatal Antarctic expedition, records Christmas on the way to the South Pole:

“In the afternoon we got clear of crevasses pretty soon, but towards the end of the afternoon Captain Scott got fairly wound up and went on and on. At last he stopped and we found we had done 14 3/4 miles. He said, “What about fifteen miles for Christmas Day?” so we gladly went on—anything definite is better than indefinite trudging. [For dinner,] we had a great feed… It consisted of a good fat hoosh [stew] with pony meat and ground biscuit; a chocolate hoosh made of water, cocoa, sugar, biscuit, raisins, and thickened with a spoonful of arrowroot. Then came 2 1/2 square inches of plum-duff each, and a good mug of cocoa washed down the whole. In addition to this we had four caramels each and four squares of crystallised ginger. I positively could not eat all mine, and turned in feeling as if I had made a beast of myself.”


Cyril Connolly recalls living at Sanary on the Provencal coast:

“Through the dark evening I used to bicycle in to fetch our dinner, past the harbour with its bobbing launches and the cafes with their signs banging. At the local restaurant there would be one or two ‘plats a emporter’ to which I would add some wine, sausage and Gruyere cheese, a couple of ‘Diplomates’ to smoke and a new Detective or Chasseur Francais [magazine]; then I would bowl back heavy-laden with the mistral behind me, a lemur buttoned up inside my jacket with his head sticking out. Up the steep drive it was easy to be blown off into the rosemary, then dinner would be spoilt.”