Jacques Chirac will be forced to eat his words at EU summit meetings this year as Brussels begins serving only British food and wine for the duration of Britain’s EU presidency.
The French premier, who earlier this month called English food the worst in Europe after Finland and said that the UK’s only contribution to agriculture was mad cow disease, will be sampling the delights of UK cuisine at least twice this year.
His comments were ill-considered in view of the fact that the International Olympic Committee, which has two Finnish members, was in the last stages of deciding who should get the 2012 Olympics. They were made to German and Russian counterparts Gerhard Schröder and Vladimir Putin and caused a furore in the British press.
For some, the indignation felt at the time has not faded. Reacting to the latest news, The Times wine columnist Jane McQuitty responded with barely concealed joy.
‘Frankly, I think the likes of Cornish Camel Vineyard brut fizz and Chapel Down’s elegant plummy pinot noir are too good for his [Chirac’s] bigoted palate,’ she said.
Camel Valley and Chapel Down are two wines in the fifteen-strong wine list which also includes wines from larger commercial producers such as Three Choirs in Gloucestershire, Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey, and Biddenden Vineyards in Kent, to smaller individual vineyards such as Tintern Parva in Monmouthshire and Titchfield in Hampshire. Other supplying vineyards include Wickham Vineyard (Hampshire) and Sharpham Vineyards in Devon.
English food will also be served on a daily basis to European parliament ministers and EU officals in Brussels.
M Chirac is due to attend EU summits in October and December this year.
Written by Oliver Styles