About Nancy Gilchrist

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So far Nancy Gilchrist has created 7 blog entries.

The flavours and future of South African Wine

Wednesday 2nd November 2016.

As I write, the world’s first Wine and Food Tourism Conference has just come to a close in Stellenbosch, South Africa. What better place could there be to hold what is rapidly becoming an important and lucrative aspect of the wine trade than in the heart of the Cape winelands?

South Africa has, after all, been identified along with Napa Valley in California as the wine region with the most potential for the wine and food tourism. In Napa, two hours’ drive north of San Francisco, 3,3 million visitors spent $1,63 billion in the local economy in 2014. Currently the South African wine industry, according to figures published by the wine and food tourism conference, is the source of 289,000 jobs and contributes R6 billion annually to the economy. The ambitious intention is to reach R15 billion by 2025 but for this challenging goal to be realised support at all levels, from the government to local enterprise, will be crucial. Tourism Australia have shown what can be achieved: encouragingly, they have seen a growth of 25% in food and wine spend since the initiative was launched at the end of 2013.

To judge from the successful experiences already […]

2019-09-24T21:34:46+00:00November 4th, 2016|News|Comments Off on The flavours and future of South African Wine

Review of ‘The Olive Oil Diet’


by Dr Simon Poole and Judy Ridgway

Published September 2016 by Robinson, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group.

On my first reading of this book on ‘the original superfood’, I confess to feeling a sense of frustration. I was reminded, in parts, of a sixth-former’s essay written at midnight (I remember them well!) with sweeping, unsubstantiated statements such as ‘Numerous studies attest to the health benefits of this kind of diet, cutting the risks of many chronic diseases by quite substantial percentages’ (p54). However, on subsequent readings, I have found more to appreciate and applaud, and indeed it is important at the outset to note that this is one of the first books to attempt to gather together scientific evidence as to the benefits of olive oil and to present it in terms that the lay person can easily access. It deserves to be commended on that basis alone. And it does not attempt to preach or convert by any means other than information and evident enthusiasm. Both Dr Poole and Ms Ridgway are passionate and long-serving devotees to olive oil and they both have a genuine desire […]

2019-09-24T21:34:46+00:00October 8th, 2016|News, Olive Oil|Comments Off on Review of ‘The Olive Oil Diet’

Lake Garda: Agraria del Riva Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Of all the agricultural regions of Italy, the Lake Garda area of Trentino must surely be one of the most unexpectedly diverse. At 46 degrees, claims to be the most northerly limit of commercial olive growing in the world. It even manages to throw in some lemon groves as well for good measure. By rights it should be far too cold in winter for such crops to flourish but then,one has to take into account the extraodinary moderating effect of Lake Garda itself, which creates a Mediterranean climate in an Alpine setting. It’s why olive trees have been grown in this area for over two millennia.


Riva del garda 2


The area sits in the foothills of the Dolomites, and it’s a challenging environment; many of the hillsides are so steep that olive groves and vineyards must be grown on terraces. Such a labour-intensive landscape requires a significant and reliable market to sustain it. In Roman times that market came not only from the surrounding plains but even as far north as what is now Germany. Then, as now, olive oil was a popular and important food but it was also an essential source of […]

2019-09-24T21:34:46+00:00August 8th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Lake Garda: Agraria del Riva Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Leith’s Olive Oil Recipe competition 2016!

Olive Oil recipes

Featured: (left to right) Kirsty Beighton’s Wining recipe. Hetty Gullifer’s blueberry, lemon and olive oil shortbread. And on the far right Tassy Goddall’s beautiful creation).

The the very first I & P Olive Oil Recipe Competition to be held in the UK, and we couldn’t have asked for more!

Held at renowned Leith’s School of Food & Wine in West London on Thursday 19th May, there were nine finalists competing with their own original recipes designed around one of the top quality extra virgin olive oils produced by I & P, a small artisan olive oil producer in Canino, Lazio, just an hour north of Rome.
Chairing the judging panel was Jason Wass, Group Head Chef of Polpo Restaurants, also judging was Camila Schneideman, Director of Leith’s and Nancy Gilchrist MW, UK Ambassador for I & P. In his summing up Jason commented that the overall standard was very high indeed and that a great deal of imaginative creativity had gone into designing the dishes. Each one had something particular to […]
2019-09-24T21:34:46+00:00May 20th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Leith’s Olive Oil Recipe competition 2016!

Two new initiatives from I & P















I & P, is a small, family-owned olive oil farm in Canino, Lazio, 120 kms north of Rome. It is situated overlooking the Etruscan plain – cradle of Italian civilization – and has over a thousand trees, of which many are older than 200 years. At the heart of the organization is Paolo Borzatta @BorzattaPand his team who are constantly striving to introduce the many virtues of extra virgin olive oil to a new generation of promising chefs, whilst maintaing many of the ancient traditions. Allow me to elaborate further about two such initiatives that are underway in the UK; one a scholarship and the other a recipe competition.


The I&P Olive Oil Scholarship is currently offered to two of the top cookery schools in the Brtiish Isles: Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London, and the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School in Scotland. It is awarded to the student achieving the highest marks in the practical exams of their Diploma. The scholarship prize includes a complete set of the unique “Caninese Collection” of I&P olive oils. (This is a set of six separate bottlings […]

2019-09-24T21:34:46+00:00April 21st, 2016|News, Olive Oil|Comments Off on Two new initiatives from I & P


Arriving in Lucca is never going to disappoint. With its fortified walls and ancient doorways encapsulating an ancient city, it is both traditionally Italian and yet vibrantly ‘of the moment’ when it comes to all things related to food and culture.   EXTRA LUCCA 2016 (http://www.extralucca.it ), an entire weekend devoted to Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils, is the perfect example of this. This is the third year that Maestro d’Olio Fausto Borella has orchestrated the event, gathering together thirty top producers from all over Italy and creating a programme of livley seminars and demonstrations held in the Palazzo Ducale.

But the Friday evening’s opening session took place in the dramatic location of the Teatro del Giglio, initially built in the1600s (http://www.teatrodelgiglio.it/en/the-theatre/history/), right in the center of Lucca. Here, a mix of experts and enthusiasts, producers and consumers, gathered for the award ceremony celebrating the trophy winners. Many well deserved awards were handed out amongst a group of extremely talented producers.

(Full list of Award Winners below)

To see us through the evening though, a range of buffet […]

2019-09-24T21:34:47+00:00February 23rd, 2016|Olive Oil, Wine|Comments Off on EXTRA LUCCA 2016

Cape Wine Auction 2015

Less than one month to the second Cape Wine Auction!

Taking the words of Nelson Mandela to heart – “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – this charity auction is dedicated entirely to raising funds to assist education in the vineyard regions of South Africa.   The inaugural auction in 2014 raised over R7 million; a result that exceeded all expectations but the 2015 auction is already primed to surpass this.

All lots include special, otherwise unobtainable, bottles of South African wines; many also include the opportunity to bid for experiences such as a week-long stay in an 18th century Loire chateau (offered via Paul Cluver), a Tuscan villa (Port2Port), or a villa on the Greek island of Skianthos (Creation Wines). There’s even a lot from Richard Branson who is offering his newly-acquired Mont Rochelle hotel in Franschhoek.  Perhaps you’d like to create your own personal blend with Gyles Webb of Thelema Mountain Vineyards or acquire a very rare collection of 24 vintages of historic Vin de Constance. Then again, you could strike a blow for the ‘Swartland Revolution’ with the Balthazar lot or branch out with the ‘Young Guns’ of Hemel-en-Aarde […]

2019-09-24T21:34:47+00:00January 20th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Cape Wine Auction 2015