November 2009 Luncheon
As in past years the November luncheon day started with the 21st Annual General Meeting of the MCC Long Room Wine and Food Society where members received a report on the past twelve months’ activities and the status of our finances. Office bearers were re-elected and Alan Podger was elected to life membership of the society.
It also was announced that at the previous week’s committee meeting Stuart Stockdale had been elected president of the society. Further details of the AGM will be included in the society’s December newsletter.
Following the AGM we enjoyed canapés and sparkling wine in the Long Room before adjourning to the Members Dining Room for our annual international luncheon, this year featuring the wines of South Africa.
The Long Room nibbles were all first class. There was a selection of shaved air-dried biltong beef with pawpaw relish, grilled scallops on fennel puree with a traditional boerwurst sausage crumb and a pumpkin samosa with thick yoghurt. They went very well with the Moreson Cuvee Cape Brut.
Lunch was then served in the dining room to 238 members and guests. The entrée was seared yellowfin tuna with pickled new season melon and herb salad. The tuna was beautifully presented and very enjoyable. The accompanying wines were a 2007 Rietvallei Sauvignon Blanc and a 2006 Neethlingshof Chardonnay, both of which were fruity and tasty and combined well with the food.
The main course was a delight. It was spiced Western District lamb shoulder braised in an African curry sauce with aromatic rice and white asparagus and dressed with olive oil and salt flakes. This excellently presented dish combined perfectly with the red wines – a 2005 Stellenzicht Shiraz and a traditional 2007 Tukula Pinotage.
The cheese dish was a little unusual but most enjoyable. It was a goat’s curd and ricotta terrine with pear jam served on individual plates. Accompanying this dish was a 2004 Saxonburg Private Collection Merlot which matched the cheese perfectly.
Dessert was a steamed apricot pudding with yoghurt sorbet, chocolate tuile and pistachio praline. Again, another wine a little out of the ordinary was served, a 2007 Rietvallei Red Muscadel which was a lovely wine to finish the day.
At the start of proceedings, new president Stuart Stockdale welcomed the South African High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Lenin Shope, who had come down from Canberra for the occasion. Mr Shope made a short but very interesting presentation about his country and the forthcoming World Cup which will be held in South Africa next year.
We were pleased to have MCC committeemen David Crow and Peter Mitchell at the luncheon and other special guests included our wine supplier Ms Hanli van Staden and her mother Joey from South Africa. Hanli gave guests a Powerpoint presentation highlighting South Africa and the country’s wine growing areas.
Vice-president David Fyffe was busy from mid-morning tasting the South African wines so that he could pass on his views during the luncheon. As usual, David did a brilliant job and again reminded us how lucky we are to have a member with such an extensive knowledge of the industry.
The function also allowed new president Stockdale to than Alex Gillon for his hard work and enthusiasm during his two years at the helm. A magnum of French Champagne was presented to Alex to thank Alex and wife Helen for their efforts in office.
The last formal item of the day was to introduce the guest chefs for the day – Gabriel Freire and Kevin Riely – and thank them for preparing such an outstanding meal.
October 2009 Lunch
For the October Lunch we ventured to the beautiful Yarra Valley where we were generously hosted by Rochford Wines. The weather was most kind, with a little haze in the sky firstly from cloud and then from smoke from nearby burning off.
The sun struggled to burst through all day and when it appeared it was not too hot, just enjoyable. The nice weather allowed us to enjoy canapés and Rochford NV Blanc de Noir Sparkling outside on the terrace.
The wine was fresh and tasty and went well with the selection of food which included Coffin Bay oysters with a raspberry and shallot vinaigrette, smoked salmon and crème fraîche croutons and caramelised onion bruschetta.
Entrée was served inside where 88 members and guests together with seven staff from Rochford enjoyed a pork and prune terrine with rhubarb and apple chutney. I enjoyed the terrine and the chutney was delicious. It would have provided a very tasty addition to any dish.
The wines served were both from their Rochford’s property in the Macedon Ranges – a Pinot Gris from 2008 and Chardonnay from 2007. These wines were very different, showing considerable contrast in both color and flavour, but both complemented the dish.
The main course was a lamb noisette with cavalo nero, parsnip puree and Madeira jus which was very artistically presented on the plate. We enjoyed a red wine from each of their vineyards – a 2007 Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir and a 2006 Yarra Valley Shiraz. Both were excellent and good representatives of the different locations.
Next was the cheese dish, a somewhat different offering in the form of a double brie tart with kumquat rhubarb chutney and port syrup. A 2006 Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied this most enjoyable dish.
Dessert was a classic opera cake that was served with sweet and dry wines – a 2007 Latitude Moscato and a 2008 Yarra Valley Gewurztraminer. Both were excellent and the dessert was very well received.
During the day winemaker David Creed spoke in great detail about the operations of both vineyards and the different styles produced from each site. He spoke with great passion about the wines and how weather conditions in recent years had changed the timing and production of good quality wine.
As is usual at the conclusion of each luncheon, we ask the chef to talk about the food they have presented on the day. Senior chef Reuben Dwyer thanked his assistant Nicki Mertons and all their staff for presenting such an enjoyable and interesting lunch. They endeavour to use local produce where possible and Reuben explained how this had been used in preparing many of the dishes.
We thank Faye Hendrickson of Rochford Wines and her colleagues for extending a warm welcome to their winery and ensuring the day was an outstanding success.
September 2009 Lunch
It is always an exciting time inside the Long Room at the MCG during Grand Final week. This year was no exception, with a reasonable September day in Melbourne after better rain than we have experienced in recent times. Guest chefs Shaun Crossling and John Bussell, who appear to be making this event their own, presented an enjoyable lunch for 217 members and guests.
Unfortunately John became sick during the morning and had to go home ill while Shaun manned the kitchens with his able and hard working staff. The lunch concluded with a terrific speech from Shaun as he described how they had enjoyed matching, sourcing and preparing the food.
Pre-lunch drinks were served in the Percy Beames Bar where a sparkling 2002 Chandon Vintage Brut was matched with the canapés - liquid caramel popcorn, salmon escabeche and Roquefort shortbread - which were a little different from the norm but were very tasty and went well with the wine. It was an enjoyable start to the day.
Entrée was served in the Long Room. We were treated to a beautiful dish of crisp spiced prawns, crab remoulade, soy mirin dressing and coriander sambal. Two whites accompanied - a 2004 Yarra Burn Pinot Gris and, for contrast, a 2003 Elderton Eden Valley Riesling.
By the way, all wines on this cellar day had been aged over several years by the Society. We can thank past committee members for their foresight in purchasing and ageing such excellent drops.
Main course was a braised veal tortellini with creamed polenta, parsnip puree, asparagus tips, Parma ham and herb and garlic oil. This dish was very different to the usual main course meat and I for one really enjoyed the serving. It was accompanied by two excellent red wines - a 1996 Jamiesons Run Reserve Coonawarra and a 1998 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz. Both wines were excellent straight from the bottle, and those who allowed the wine to open in the glass could notice the difference and those who were lucky enough to be served from a carafe could really notice the difference. It was certainly a good advertisement for the use of a carafe with aged Australian reds .
Cheese was a shaved cheddar with croutons, Shiraz jellies, flaked almonds and chervil, a different way of serving cheese and interesting to try. The wine accompanying was a 2002 Palandri Shiraz from Margaret River and the two made an enjoyable combination. Following the cheese was a palate cleanser - a trio of citrus, pink salt and baby mint.
Dessert was a rhubarb and gingerbread crumble with coconut ice cream and strawberry juice, a light and delicious offering to complement the 2003 Brown Brothers Botrytis Riesling and complete the meal.
Our guest speaker for the day was well-known journalist and wine critic Paddy Kendler, who spoke about the wines which had been served and the different types of grapes grown in Australia. He proved true to his reputation by providing several provocative thoughts and interesting comments about our wine industry and how it is changing with the introduction of many new grape varieties and styles.
August 2009 Lunch
The last Wednesday in August was forecast to be cold, wet and windy but for most of the day the sun shone brightly as 174 members and guests attended the Long Room for lunch and enjoyed food from Epicure and tasty wines from Alkoomi in West Australia.
The Alkoomi wines were well presented by their representatives in Melbourne, Peter and Natasha Johns from the Deja Vu Wine Company, and our speaker Steve Todhunter. The food was prepared by guest chef Blair Humphrey and all present were well satisfied with the very high standards set by both wine and food.
Because of the day’s forecast, pre-lunch drinks were moved from the atrium to the Long Room where a selection of delicious canapés was matched with Alkoomi Black Label Sauvignon Blanc from 2008. The canapés were garlic-roasted enoki mushroom vol-au-vent with herbed Persian fetta, confit pork belly with crisp apple and raspberry vinegar and chicken, corn and chorizo aranini with harissa aioli. All were enjoyable and combined well with the still white wine.
The entrée was a combination of West Australian scampi with poached ocean trout tian, watercress salad and beetroot fritter, a delightful dish which matched the excellent wines – an Alkoomi Riesling 2008 and Alkoomi Chardonnay, also from 2008.
The main course was a Dijon mustard and honey-basted rack of Victorian lamb with wild olive tapenade and cauliflower gratin. This was served with steamed Brussels sprouts with lemon and cracked black pepper butter. The wines were Alkoomi Blackbutt Cabernet Blend from 2004 and Alkoomi Black Label Cabernet from 2006.
The next course was cheese, a combination of Milawa Tomme and Locheilan Mundoona surface-ripened cheese with pane croccante, Shiraz paste and prunes. Again this was complemented perfectly by the Alkoomi Jarrah Shiraz from 2005. A very tasty dessert followed - warm chocolate fondant tart with red wine poached pear, cinnamon-spiced ice-cream and vanilla floss. Alkoomi does not have a dessert wine so we drank a Parizi Moscato d’Asti from Italy which went with the food nicely.
During the luncheon, Steve elaborated on Alkoomi’s origins and how its founders, Merv and Judi Lang, who were the first growers in the Frankland River region, created the winery in the 1970s and continue to prosper and produce high-quality wines today.
July 2009 Dinner
This year we planned our annual dinner in July around wines from Barossa Valley Estate, an unusual co-operative half owned by Contestallation Wines Australia which provides distribution and marketing with the balance owned by the growers who provide the fruit for the wine. They furnished us with an excellent range of wines and a terrific speaker in Stuart Bourne, their winemaker.
We started with drinks in the Long Room and an interesting array of canapés - Shiraz and beetroot macaroons with foie gras mousse, German sausage in sourdough with sauerkraut and roasted pumpkin pastries with tomato chutney and baby basil, plus frosted glasses of warmed Gluhwein. Because BVE does not produce a white sparkling wine we enjoyed a 2006 Yarra Burn Pinot Chardonnay to accompany the canapés.
Dinner was served in the dining room, starting with a smoky seafood chowder encased in pastry with an oyster Kilpatrick. The white wines were a 2008 E Minor Barossa Valley Chardonnay and a 2006 Barossa Valley Semillon. Both were enjoyable and it was interesting to drink a Chardonnay showing less wood than most served in recent times.
The main course was a grilled pork cutlet beautifully cooked and served with roasted apple, pork rinds and herbed knodel. With the pork we sampled a 2006 E Minor Cabernet Merlot and a 2004 Ebenezer Cabernet Sauvignon. The next wine was a 2005 E & E Black Pepper Shiraz, their premier red wine which accompanied the cheese - a Tasmanian Pyengana Raclette and crumbled Valdeon blue cheese with rye bread crisps and port reduction. The combination prompted considerable discussion around the table.
The dessert was a steamed chocolate and sour cherry pudding with stewed rhubarb and vanilla bean ice cream accompanied by a spectacular 2004 E & E Sparkling Shiraz which was an excellent wine for those who enjoy sparkling red.
The talks by Stuart Bourne were most informative and entertaining as he commented on the wines and told us a little about the history and success of the company. His talk was liberally interspersed with humour. Guest chef Shane Freer provided us with an excellent meal which he described in an entertaining and efficient manner.
June 2009 Luncheon
The June luncheon was held in the Long Room with pre-lunch drinks served under the mezzanine. A delicious array of canapés included a mini petite Caesar salad, tempura scallops with pickled Asian vegetables and potato-wrapped prawn skewers. They went beautifully with the Stone Dwellers Chardonnay Pinot Noir, a fruity and tasty sparkling wine.
It was convenient to have both drinks and lunch in the Long Room and we sat down to a delicious entrée of hickory-basted roasted pork belly with traditional coleslaw and green apple. The accompanying wines were a 2008 Stone Dwellers Riesling and a 2008 Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Wild Fermented Chardonnay. The latter wine is a recent addition to the range from Plunkett Fowles in the Strathbogie Ranges.
Next came the main course, a duo of crispy-skinned duck breast and shredded confit leg with crisp potato roesti, baby winter vegetables and a light cherry jus. The two red wines were a 2008 Stone Dwellers Pinot Noir and a 2006 Stone Dwellers Shiraz and were typical examples of the wines being produced at Plunkett Fowles. The cheese plate was a generous serve of Woodside Etzy Ketzy washed rind goat’s cheese with crisp bread and fig chutney. Accompanying the dish was a 2006 The Rule Reserve Shiraz.
An enticing vanilla crème brulee with rhubarb sorbet pistachio and apricot biscotti was served for dessert. Matched with the dish was a 2008 The Exception Late Harvest Viognier. The dessert was excellent and the wine a little different from many such wines in that it was flavoursome but not quite as sweet as some dessert-style wines.
During lunch Sam Plunkett, the head winemaker at Plunkett Fowles, made a very entertaining speech, explaining a little about the wines and the district from which they were produced. He also provided some interesting details about the history of the area and the winery. Guest chef Marco Doganieri provided an excellent and amusing description of the dishes he prepared for the day.
May 2009 Dinner
For the May function it was back to the Long Room where 180 members and guests were swept away by the fine cooking of guest chef Renee Guymer and her team. The food was beautifully presented and to borrow some words from past president Laurie Thompson it was all about “a luncheon of flavours”.
Those flavours were well matched with wines from five producers in the King Valley. Renee acknowledged the input of her team, gave away some secrets about the preparation of the dishes and we thank her very sincerely for a great presentation enjoyed by all.
Canapés were served in the Level 2 Percy Beames Bar where it was warm enough to enjoy the last glimmers of the Melbourne autumn before it becomes too cold to use in the winter months. The “nibbles” included a pumpkin and goat’s cheese tortellini with a burnt butter sauce, arancini with a rich lamb filling and beef carpaccio on lightly toasted crostini with caper aioli. The canapces were teamed with a 2008 Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco, a new (to us) light and fruity style of bubbly very popular in Italy.
Entrée was served in the Long Room, a seafood combination which included fritto misto, a seared scallop with a petite herb salad, a fresh oyster with a bruschetta-style dressing, pickled calamari and fried whitebait. These delicious morsels were presented on the one plate and combined with a 2008 La Zona Arneis from Chrismont and a 2008 Avalon Albarino – light and fruity whites that teamed successfully with the various elements of the dish.
Several people remarked on the quality of our main course – milk-fed veal stuffed with tallegio cheese and sage and wrapped in prosciutto, served with confit kipfler potatoes and a light veal jus. The dish was accompanied by warm, freshly made rosemary and sea salt focaccia. The wines served with the veal were a 2006 Symphonia Quintus from Sam Miranda at Oxley and a 2005 La Zona Barbera from Chrismont. Each of the wines are a little different to our usual style, with the first being a combination of grapes some well known to us and others new but very popular in Italy, as is the Barbera.
The cheese was gorgonzola, served on individual plates. I hadn’t seen this cheese presented this way before. It was light and easy to eat and looked a delight with its accompaniment of poached pears and candied spiced walnuts. The matching wine from Pizzini was a 2004 Il Barone, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.
Dessert followed, a sour cherry zabaglione tart with Marsala ice cream. The dish was matched with a sweet wine from Gracebrook Vineyards, their 2008 Late Harvest Riesling/Moscato Giallo. The coffee and teas were accompanied by petit fours – traditional almond biscotti and baby cannoli.
During lunch we heard Michael Dal Zotto, maker of the Prosecco wine, speak about the white wines and his family’s experience of the King Valley. Later, Arnie Pizzini spoke about the red wines and fielded questions, some of which were directed to patriarch Otto Dal Zotto, who spoke eloquently of the King Valley and his upbringing in Prosecco, Italy.
April 2009 Dinner
On a very chilly evening we were pleased to have the company of MCC President David Meiklejohn and wife Wendy joining 309 members and guests at the Society’s annual dinner on the last Wednesday in April. We enjoyed a warm dining room and fine food from Epicure guest chef Jeremy Woods, whose excellent selection of well prepared dishes complemented a very wide range of wines. Following tradition, Jeremy spoke about the food he had prepared and answered questions about how a successful meal could be presented for so many people.
The night commenced in the Long Room with canapés and sparkling wine. Guests enjoyed mushroom and veal pithivier, buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon and salmon roe and crisp roast pork with tomato and chive salsa. The accompanying wine was a 2001 Jansz Premium Vintage sparkling from Tasmania backed up by some bottles of 2004 Pinot Chardonnay Brut from Tyrrell’s. Throughout the evening back-up supplies of wine were required because we were using wines from our cellar which had been purchased in quantities too small to cater for such a large attendance.
Entrée was served in the Members Dining Room, baked barramundi with a mild curry sauce and served with roasted eggplant, snake beans, bean shoots, Thai basil and coriander. It was beautifully presented on a banana leaf which added to the attractiveness of the dish. Accompanying was a 2001 Delatite Riesling and a 2003 Palandri Chardonnay with some 2002 Petaluma Riesling and 1997 Ashton Hills Chardonnay in reserve.
Then followed the main course of char-grilled certified Australian Angus beef served with potato dauphinoise and fresh horseradish on a side plate and accompanied by a selection of mustards. With the beef was a combination of red wines including a 1998 Yarra Burn Shiraz and 1999 Rosemount GSM Grenache Syrah Mourvedre supported by a 1999 Annies Lane Copper Trail Shiraz.
The very tasty goat cheese - Milawa Tomme served with fresh grapes and figs - was coupled with a 1996 St Andrews Shiraz from Taylors in the Clare Valley. Dessert was an individual old-fashioned trifle served in a large cocktail glass. Together with this extremely creamy dessert we enjoyed a De Bortoli Noble 1 Botrytis Semillon.
Our guest speaker for the evening was acclaimed wine writer, teacher and critic Robert Hicks who provided an excellent summary of the wines tasted during the evening. He then told of how the wine industry was changing as it moved away from wasteful corks to an industry trying to produce a more even product under screw caps.
Earlier in the evening, President Alex Gillon presented Spotless apprentice chef Dean Penna with the Society’s Apprentice of the Year award. Chefs of the year were Epicure’s Shaun Crosling and Jon Bussell who presented a memorable degustation menu for the September 2008 luncheon.
March 2009 Luncheon
With a slightly smaller attendance of 147 members and guests because of a football season opening lunch in the Members Dining Room, we had both drinks and lunch in the Long Room with several guests finishing their day at the bar.
We commenced with a T’Gallant Juliet Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin Blancis and a variety of canapes. The selection covered leek tarte tatin with Milawa Ashed Chevre and beetroot shoots, angel hair, cheese and pancetta croquettes and sugar snap pea soup with blue swimmer crab and lemon. The combination of wine and canapes provided an enjoyable start to the day.
After taking our places at the tables entrée was served - a beautiful dish of smoked yellowfin tuna and Hervey Bay scallops with gazpacho salsa, gazpacho sorbet and savoury praline. The presentation was a perfect match with the T’Gallant Grace Pinot Grigio and T’Gallant Imogen Pinot Gris. I enjoyed both wines and found them to be excellent examples of the grapes. They certainly provided plenty of room for discussion.
The main course was roasted fillet of Northern Rivers veal with braised veal and wild mushroom pithivier with cavolo nero, caramelized new season’s chestnuts, celeriac puree and celeriac crisp. We were served two very different red wines with this beautifully cooked veal dish. Each wine had its advocates and each had its detractors as one would expect. The red wines were a 2006 T’Gallant Cyrano Pinot Noir and a Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz from 2007.
The main was followed by cheese which was a beautifully presented plate of Roquefort Papillion on brioche toast with caramelized black figs and truffled honey. With this dish we received a small glass of Baileys of Glenrowan Tokay, an enjoyable difference. Dessert followed - vanilla-roasted autumn plum with plum wine jelly, yoghurt sorbet, basil, lotus root and almond sorbet. With the dessert we enjoyed a glass of T’Gallant Juliet Moscato, again an appropriate, tasty wine. To finish we enjoyed petit fours with a selection of coffee and tea.
Guest chefs Liann Filer and Tony Cimmino spoke about the lunch which they constructed. They were both informative and enthusiastic about the presentation and let out some of their secrets associated with sourcing and preparing the food.
Wednesday February 25, 2009
With a packed house for our first formal luncheon for 2009, we had pre-luncheon drinks in the Long Room and then moved to the Members Dining Room for a delightful meal prepared by chefs Ian Pickersgill and Greg McClune, accompanied by wines from Katnook Estate. We were most fortunate that Wayne Stehbens, senior winemaker from Wingara Wine Group, was able to attend. Wayne presented us with an expert address about the company, its history and their great wines. It was obvious why he is such a popular speaker with his great knowledge of the Coonawarra region and their wines.
The day started with a Vintage Chardonnay Brut matched with a choice of three canapés. They were vine-ripened baby tomatoes filled with basil-infused goat’s cheese, a crisp noodle basket of Tai-inspired prawn salad and a steamed chicken dumpling with nah jim – an enjoyable start to the day as guests mingled in the splendour of the Long Room.
Entrée was a delight. The seared filled of Campari-cured South Australian Hiramasa kingfish with mango and sprout salad, horseradish cream and Yarra Valley salmon roe went very well with the choice of Rieslings. We sampled two – one with some age, the 2000 under cork, and then a younger wine from the 2008 vintage under screw cap. Two entirely different examples of the grape.
The main course was roast local pigeon with wild rice and mushroom stuffing on wet polenta with a cherry sauce. The dish was accompanied by bowls of green beans tossed in truffle oil served to the table. It was a very different main course but well presented and enjoyable. The wines were contrasting Cabernet Sauvignions – one from 2005, still young and only recently released, and an older 2001 from a magnum. The second wine had developed slowly and was very smooth on the palate.
Cheese was a Woodside brie accompanied by a most enjoyable Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignion from 2004, a real treat on an enjoyable day. Before dessert a palate cleanser of dragon fruit sorbet helped everyone enjoy the delicious fresh berry Swiss meringue roulade with green tea jelly and a sweet pepper sauce. Instead of being served a dessert wine, the dish was matched with a very nice Founder’s Block Sparkling Shiraz.
The day concluded with a most interesting question-and answer session with our guest chefs, both of whom were outstanding and informative.
Wednesday January 28
On a day of 43 degrees we gathered for our traditional members-only Old Bottle Day luncheon in the Long Room on January 28. The function again was well attended, with 75 members bringing along their specially selected and much-loved bottles of wine.
We were again honored to have Jeremy Oliver as our guest and wine judge. Jeremy suggested that this was the best selection of wines he had seen presented. There were a few white wines, mainly of good quality, and plenty of reds as members tried to excel with the oldest and the best.
It is not always the oldest wine which proves to be superior and this year the winner was Sam Lynch’s 1991 Best’s Great Western Bin O Shiraz. This was a very popular win because it was the first function attended by Sam after becoming a member and he was presented with his badge on the day.
The function started in the Percy Beames Bar with a selection of canapés complemented by La Vie Pinot Chardonnay and McWilliams Sherry. It was then time to move to the cooler Long Room where the entrée was Flavours of the Ocean, a selection of confit of Tasmanian salmon with Yarra Valley salmon caviar and wholegrain mustard and dill sauce, salt and pepper Spencer Gulf prawn on green pawpaw salad and seared yellowfin tuna on fine ratatouille with red pepper essence.
The main course was roasted rump of Gippsland lamb with almond mash, honey-glazed baby carrots, toasted sesame seeds and organic Gippsland yoghurt. This was accompanied by a salad of radicchio, baby cos and rocket dressed with Cobram Estate cabernet vinegar and extra virgin oil.
We then enjoyed a fine selction of Victorian cheeses before finishing with a dessert of lemon, lime and lychee tart with rhubarb sorbet, mascarpone and lime dust. Coffee and tea followed.
Throughout lunch we listened to Jeremy while he tasted all the wines and then gave his usual excellent presentation about virtually each bottle, concluding with his selection of the best wine of the day.
In keeping with previous years, the bar was just the right spot for those wanting to continue their discussions and to “cleanse the pallet” before heading home. The temperature was an enticing 21 degrees in the Long Room – much cooler than outside.