So, what sort of wine goes best with fox?
BRISTOL is famous for its urban foxes. I have to say there are lots of them around Cullimore Towers at the moment. But it was not always like this. Some years ago the fox population was decimated by disease and they almost disappeared.
But they bounced back just in time for the black wheelie bins to arrive. Again, old Mr Fox started to disappear. But nowadays they are everywhere, even under the shed in our tiny back garden.
I think they are getting to be a bit of a menace. There are too many of them and they are getting too bold.
But fear not, dear reader, I think I have come up with the perfect solution – foxburgers. Now the only question that needs to be answered is this. What wine do you drink with fox? Hmm.
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It all started when a couple of friends mentioned they were having a dinner party at their house. They asked me if I fancied coming along and bringing Mrs Cullimore.
So far so good. They are excellent cooks, wonderful hosts and very good company. Immediately I accepted the invitation and asked what we were having, so I could bring along some suitable wine.
One of them waved the question away and asked if we would mind having a camera crew around during the evening. The crew would be filming us as we ate.
This was not a huge surprise. One of my friends is a television presenter. She is often followed around by camera crews. I joked that I hoped they would not interview us as we ate because I hate talking with my mouth full. My friend reassured me that talking was not necessary – the crew would only be filming our reactions to the food we were eating.
At this point I twigged that something was going on. So I repeated the question – what were we going to be eating?
My friend admitted he could not tell me what it would be because he did not know yet. But he could guarantee the meat would be fresh – the animal would have been killed the same day as we ate it. Hmm.
That is how I ended up going, all by myself, to a roadkill supper. When Mrs Cullimore found out what was on the menu she suddenly remembered that she had to stay in and comb Mabel the dog's tail, or something suitably important.
So I arrived at the venue, clutching my bottle of wine, in time to join a small group of slightly-nervous guests watching the chef at work.
Apparently the roads had been pretty unsafe for wildlife that day. So, luckily for us, the local expert had found four different types of roadkill for us to sample. I have to admit, it sounded more like an ordeal than a tasty treat. But it was too late to back out so I forced a smile.
Anyhow, to make things interesting we would not be told what we were eating until we had all tried it.
We opened a couple of bottles of wine to give us strength and waited for the first plateful to arrive.
When it did, it was filled with tiny chunks of beautifully-cooked meat. I took a couple of bites and had to admit it really was not that bad. It tasted like a cross between biltong and smoky slow-cooked pork. I also thought it had something in common with the wild boar I had eaten in the past. We all had a think about it and agreed that the meat would lend itself well to being ground up and turned into burgers and served with fries. That was the fox.
After that rather pleasant appetiser, the next plate to arrive was filled with even tinier chunks of dark meat. I grabbed a piece, sniffed it and realised the smell reminded me of a farmyard – or, more precisely, the wrong end of a farmyard. I took a couple of bites. It was not nice. Actually it was pretty disgusting. It was rat. Apparently it is a delicacy in Indonesia – but it is not for me.
After that we had a plate of stew and rice. The meat in this one smelt of kidney and liver, which was fine by me because I like both of those things. However, this stuff tasted absolutely rank – it was the worst of the lot. This was badger – and there was a "no" from me.
We finished the meal with a nice and easy venison casserole. This was delicious and easily the best of the bunch.
By the way, if you have ever wondered what wine to serve with fox, I can recommend a Rioja. It is full bodied, is bursting with tannin and has enough punch to keep the foxy flavour in its place.