Now playing: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (from Monty Python)
I have visited Viroconium Cornoviorum/Wroxeter a couple of times. The ruins of a Roman settlement set up to be a fortress against the Welsh in AD 58. Eventually, the settlement was fitted with buildings including a public bath. The ruins are a nice example, being Britian's largest free-standing ruins. The site is maintained by English Heritage and includes a museum.
There is also a vineyard that is newer to Wroxeter, it pays homage to the fact that the Romans brought wine where ever they went. The vineyard started in 1991 on a family farm after one of the farmers visited California. He thought California was so young in history and his farm had 2000 years of history, why not celebrate this?
The wines have appropriate local names such as Darwin Red. Darwin is from Shrewsbury not too far away. Shropshire Gold, or Red, since Wroxeter is located in Shropshire, by the way. How about Wrekin Reserve, named for the locally famous Wrekin mountain? Drinkable wines, although you can sense how young they are. I bought some to age!
I was given this Roman cookery book as a gift. You know at least one of the recipes needed to be tried right away!
This recipe shows that the Romans had a firm grasp of the umami concept, with the use of sherry and grape juice in this cake. This was a nice cake even though it doesn't have icing, the honey adds the needed sweetness as it soaks in. Notice the note on the recipe page that says this cake is good soaked in milk and fried in olive oil, I must try this. With the spelt flour it seems like it may be a good choice of breakfast to me.
More recent pictures of the vines and ruins from Autumn 2009.
In 2008 it was the first year they started making cider, using wine-making methods. A dry cider with less sparkled than, run of the mill Strongbow. It had a true apple flavour shining through. I like this with a cheese plate.
In this picture you can see part of the Wrekin behind the vines. It is thought that it is named for the Roman settlement and the word has evolved over time.
"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"