What a privilege it was to take lunch in the opulent surroundings of the Apothecaries’ Hall in Blackfriars on a bright day in early February which allowed the dynamic colours of the magnificent stained-glass windows to shine with crystal clarity. The dark panelled walls and richly coloured wallpapers offset the impressive collection of portraits, including one of the Founder of the Worshipful Company of the Distillers, Sir Theodore Turquet de Mayerne. The two companies have long enjoyed both rivalry and a close relationship and it is fitting that the portrait is next to that of
the founder of the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries, Gideon de Laune.
The Apothecaries’ Hall also boasts of another famous doctor, who is close to my heart, being Christopher Penfold, who gained his licence in 1833 and went on to found the Penfolds wine company in Australia, now one of the most desirable brands in the wine world.
Our fare was firmly in the old world, however, with a reception glass of Henriot Brut Champagne or Copper Rivet Dockyard Gin whetting the appetite for a delicious starter of grilled mackerel fillet with cucumber, apple and mint salsa with a mouth tingling jalapeno mayonnaise ably accompanied by a Vouvray 2017 from Marc Bredif. This was followed by a Savigny-les-Beaune Bourgeots 2015 from Demougeot paired with the Angus beef medallions. The exotic flavours of the chargrilled mango and pineapple dessert led to a glass of Glenkinchie 12YO Lowland single malt, or Taylors 10YO tawny Port to sustain us through the toasts.
We welcomed four new members of Livery, and three of our affiliate prize winners. The response on behalf of the guests was given by Helena Conibear, founder and CEO of The Alcohol Education Trust, who shared with us some details of the projects in the community that are the focus of the Trust. It now supports over 700,000 young people annually in over 1,500 schools.
The Master, Chris Porter, drew our attention to the brilliant job that HMS Montrose is doing in keeping the world safe, highlighting the seventh drug seizure worth $80 million, and welcomed the previous Commander of HMS Montrose, Commander Paul Irving (the current Commander, Claire Thompson being unavailable). He went on to remind us that 2022 is a significant year in the history of the company, being the 350th anniversary, and looked forward to the events and activities being planned to celebrate it, including the dinner at the Guildhall on June 15th 2022.
Laura Jewell MW