You won’t often find me posting about wine – I’m more of a spirits person (and I get way too drunk way too easily on anything grape based!) – but when Le Petit Ballon invited me down to their Spring Aperitif event at my favourite burger restaurant in London, Big Fernand in Soho, well how could I say no?
Le Petit Ballon are a French wine specialist who, as well as having their own store in Paris, provide a wine subscription box service in France, Belgium and the UK.
A pioneer in the world of wine subscription boxes, Le Petit Ballon is a fun, easy to understand wine box. Perfect for a novice (like me!) but equally as good for a connoisseur – there are actually two boxes to choose from;
The Apprentice (£24.90 per month) – Recommended for those wanting a head start in the world of wine, the Apprentice offers something a little different, but excellent value for money.
The Master (£39.90 per month) – Featuring more prestigious and well known labels, this one is perfect for building your wine cellar (living in London I can’t imagine I will ever have space for a wine cellar, but that isn’t the point here…).
With a Le Petit Ballon subscription, you received two bottle of wine per month, carefully selected by their sommelier, Jean-Michel Deluc, based on your preferences. You also receive their monthly magazine, ‘The Gazette’, and some handy tasting notes (the ‘cheat sheet!’). Oh and subscribers get a discount at their online store too!
It’s a nicely presented package – modern yet classy and I can’t help thinking the branding is aimed at a younger, newer clientele – people like me.
You’re in safe hands with Jean-Michel – as the former Head Sommelier at The Ritz Paris, he’s a man who knows his stuff. I was given the opportunity to interview him at the event but I’ll be honest, I was clueless as to what to ask!
I know next to nothing about wine, and if I’m honest I find it all a little bit daunting. My wine selection is usually based on what’s on offer or what has a pretty label, haha! But I think Le Petit Ballon have really stripped back the wine selection process and made it a little more accessible and easy to approach for people like me.
One thing I found handy in selecting my wine at the event was the ‘cheat sheet’ which Jean-Michel and the Le Petit Ballon team developed to ‘classify’ their wines. The classifications are indicated in their online store to help you pick a wine you’ll like and if you aren’t sure, you can take their little quiz to give you a better idea.
Now I know this event was about the wine, but I can’t let an opportunity to mention the food at Big Fernand slide.
It’s no secret I like my beef mooing, and it’s hard to find a rare burger in London. But you can have a Big Fernand burger blue if you want one. And of course I wanted one!
I’ve visited the restaurant a few times now, and it’s been consistently amazing. Sort of fast food like, you order at the counter and wait for your food, which you take on a tray to your table, Maccy D’s style.
I can’t believe I just compared Big Fernand to McDonalds, haha! They are worlds, WORLDS, apart.
Big Fernand are gourmet burgers at their best. Beautiful Charolais beef (or chicken, or veal, or Portobello mushroom, whatever takes your fancy), French cheese, fresh vegetables and herbs all served on a perfect sesame seeded bun. I’m pretty certain there is no other burger comparable to this one in London at the moment.
Oh and the sides and desserts are pretty good too.
You can actually find some Big Fernand recipes in the current issue of The Gazette. Unfortunately, The Gazette I had was in French! Don’t worry though, the English subscription copies will be in English, I just quite liked my French copy.
Thank you for a lovely evening, Le Petit Ballon!
All photos my own unless otherwise stated.