The Pommery Champagne Cafe-Bar is back with sparkling, sophisticated style at the Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe  Royal Mile street theatre

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Royal Mile street theatre

As we approach Midsummer’s Day, the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe will be blossoming into colourful cultural action in just a few weeks. By the end of July, the annual troupes of buskers, bands and trick cyclists will be entertaining the crowds up and down the High Street; Strolling players, actors and singers will be handing out flyers to entice us all to see their shows.

Pommery Champagne Pop up Cafe -Bar

Pommery Champagne Pop up Cafe -Bar

The world may come to town in August but there is a rather special hidden gem of a place to escape the madding crowd for an hour or two. In the heart of the Old Town beside St. Giles Cathedral is the Signet Library which, during the Edinburgh Festival, turns into the Pop Up Pommery Champagne Café Bar.

This is the fourth year for the very successful and innovative hospitality venture by Heritage Portfolio, creating a unique setting for a  a glass of champagne, cocktails, gourmet lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.

And this year it’s back with a louder, fizzier Festive POP – enticing, appetising Champagne and Whisky Tasting events as well as great value Edinburgh Military Tattoo Dinner nights.

The Signet Library is a grand Georgian building dating to 1822; during a visit to Edinburgh, King George IV described the ornate design as “the finest drawing room in Europe”.

The grand Signet Library

The grand Signet Library

Such glamorous, gracious surroundings just so perfect for a classic and classy Pommery Champagne bar. And what a fine list of Champagne is offered!.

Sample for instance, two delicious Festival time tipples – Pommery Summertime Blanc to Blanc – a golden tipple and delicate taste, or Pommery Brut Rose, with a hint of strawberries. Share a bottle of Pommery Brut Royal or if celebrating in style, try Grand Cru Vintage for extra special sparkle.  For a fun treat, enjoy the single mini bottles of Pommery POP to be sipped slowly with a straw.

As well as Champagne, a selection of cool Cocktails – nothing more Summery than an ice cold Pimms, or perhaps sip a decadent Martini; French wines, quality sprits and beers too for all tastes.

With drinks sorted, now let’s study the menu.  An inspired idea are the Sharing Platters: Seafood – Scottish smoked salmon, mackerel, trout; A choice of Italian feasts – Mediterreanean roasted vegetables, mozzarella, olives, etc, or Charcuterie, Parma Ham, chorizo, salami served with crusty bread.

Sharing platters of seafood or charcuterie

Sharing platters of seafood or charcuterie

And who could resist fresh Lobster with wedges and aioli.

Lobster and Champagne

Lobster and Champagne

For something lighter or a quick lunch, there’s soup and sandwiches, as well as Bar snacks, bread and olives; coffee and home-baking.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea is ever popular today especially with the ladies, so experience a special Aristocratic indulgence with a Pommery Afternoon tea (sandwiches, scones, cakes), with a glass of Brut Royal. And we should raise a glass of Pommery to Anna, Duchess of Bedford who invented this traditional savoury and sweet treat to satisfy the appetite, as the Duchess described it, “the sinking feeling” between 3 – 5pm, with many hours to go before Dinner.

Anna, Duchess of Bedford invented the civilised tradition of Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea in a grand salon, 1910

As you dash around between Fringe Venues by day and then on to a Festival play or concert in the evening, call in to the Signet Library for a pre or post theatre Sharing Plate or Lobster supper with a bottle of bubbly…

Tried and tested over the past few years,  and now very popular with city residents and visitors, this is a sophisticated sanctuary amidst the Festival madness to enjoy fine food and drink.  The Cuvee Louise Lounge is an intimate and romantic VIP area which can be booked for special occasions and privatge tastings.

Cuvee Louise Lounge for private events

Cuvee Louise Lounge for private events

And there’s more to the Pommery Cafe-Bar experience this year as mentioned. As part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a fascinating series of Food and Drink Events presented by professional experts will take place in the Upper Signet Library.

Sara Hicks, the UK Ambassador for Pommery Champagne will be giving several tutored tastings, complemented by delicious food. 13, 14, 15 August, @ 5.30 and 7pm.

If the world of Whisky is all rather confusing, the best person to find out all about it is Annabel Meikle. She worked for twelve years in the whisky industry, was global ambassador for the Glenmorangie Company, and has now established a training consultancy, The Whisky Belle with the tag line, “Distilled with Passion.”

Having taken part in a sneak preview of The Whisky Belle’s “Chocolate, Whiskies and Cocktails” event, I can highly recommend this vivaciously entertaining and informative presentation by Annabel Meikle.

Whisky, Cocktails & Chocolate tastings with the WhiskyBelle

Whisky, Cocktails & Chocolate tastings with The Whisky Belle

Learn about nosing the rich aromas of vanilla and almond and sample a refreshing whisky cocktail or two complemented by hand-crafted chocolates from the Highland Chocolatier.
3, 10, 17, 24 August @ 2pm.

“Single Malt Sundays” is  The Whisky Belle’s second presentation to learn more about premium single malts from around Scotland, served with a platter of delicious Tapas to show how whisky can be paired well with fine Scottish food.
3, 10, 17, 24 August @ 5pm.

Tickets for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo can be as rare as gold dust, especially for the Saturday late night performance with fireworks over the Castle. Heritage Portfolio has therefore planned an exclusive VIP Dinner and Tattoo package: a 3 course meal with a Pommery cocktail and ticket to the Tattoo.  Guests will be escorted after dinner to the Esplanade, just a few minutes walk up the Lawnmarket.  The package is available on selected dates in August, Thursday – Saturday.

These Signet Library Tastings and Tattoo Dinner package are listed in the Festival Fringe brochure. (See Events). www.edfringe.com

The Pommery Pop Up Café Bar will once again welcome thirsty and hungry Festival goers from 1 – 25 August, 2014, 12 noon till late. Reservations not always necessary but certainly recommended.

Al fresco summertime eating and drinking with Festival Fizz

Al fresco summertime eating and drinking with Festival Fizz

A Must for anyone in Edinburgh during the Festival. A sophisticated haven just next to the buzz of the Royal Mile. Staff were welcoming, knowledgable and friendly … a fantastic selection of snacks, meals, cocktails and, of course, champagne. The decor is stunning. I couldn’t recommend the Pommery Champagne Cafe Bar enough. Miss it, miss out.” Laura M. 21 August, 2013.

“The Pommery Champagne Café Bar is my absolute favourite place to be during the Edinburgh Festival. ….Festival Heaven. ” Holly, 20 August, 2013.

For more information on the Pommery Champagne Café Bar and Festival Fringe events:
http://www.thesignetlibrary.co.uk/pommery-champagne-cafe-bar/

The Whisky Belle – Tastings, Training, Consultancy: http://www.thewhiskybelle.com

pommery glasses

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About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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