food & drink

It's an ill wind...

Although the effects on individual wine drinkers are likely to be negligible - unless they get infected - the potential consequences for the trade of the coronavirus are serious.

If people stop travelling, the wine they would drink on cruise ships and in hotels and restaurants, will not be consumed.

International wine shows like ProWien in Germany, Vinitaly, the Grands Jours de Bourgogne and Taste Washington have been cancelled.

The world’s biggest wine market, China, is a shadow of its former self, and wherever you look restaurants are suffering badly.

In Italy mortgage repayments may be suspended, and museums, cultural institutions, public gatherings and social events, including pubs, nightclubs and games halls, are off-menu. But it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

Online food and wine suppliers are having a field day throughout Europe, and delivery services like Uber Eats, Deliveroo, MacDelivery, etc, cannot believe their good luck.

Most expect to make more profit in three months than they made all last year.

Madrid and Barcelona appear to be slow on the uptake, but in London (where this week it was proposed that restaurants and pubs have VAT reduced) an example of a restaurant being quick off the mark is London’s Cookout Club.

Launched by chef Philip Britten, aided by Victor Lamauve, formerly of Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant Sabor, the intention is to offer fine dining delivered to your door for less than £20 per head.

Because it doesn’t have a bricks and mortar site, nor does it doesn’t spend money on waiters, sommeliers and wine stocks, silverware and crockery, the resulting savings can be passed on to the customer.

Business is so good that two more kitchens are planned. Surely the time has come to break the stranglehold that pizzas and Asian food have on the home delivery business?