Taste the tipple of kings...and Fidel

Portugal - This hotel overlooking Porto is perfect for wine lovers. It has an Iberian heart with an English accent, writes Sarah Donnelly

48 Hours In: Porto

Portugal's majestic 'City of Bridges' offers formidable waterside views – and lots more to whet the appetite, writes Chris Gibson

Viticulture vulture: Learn the art of swilling in the vineyards of Victoria

Australia's southerly state boasts hundreds of vineyards producing world-class wines in a stunning setting.

Totally chilled: Festive ice cream flavours are on the menu this winter - including Christmas cake and stilton

As the winter chill sets in, it might seem entirely wrong to be talking about ice cream, but Robin and Caroline Weir, frozen dessert obsessives, believe wholeheartedly in eating the stuff every single day of the year. "Of course, sales go up in the summer," Robin says, "but it most definitely isn't a seasonal product. Rich ice cream is a wonderful thing to have as a dessert in even the coldest weather."

The Sketch: Can Andrew Lansley make us healthy? Pass the port and let's see

Not to complain, but the chocolate doughnuts in the press gallery bar are the damned newfangled slim-line, low-calorie, no-grease public-health doughnuts.

Diary: Cash pours into Pol's pot

"It" curator Vlad Restoin Roitfeld isn't big on self-congratulation. "I don't celebrate if I make a big sale," he assured me at the lavish party for Mother of Pouacrus, his exhibition of hip French artist Nicolas Pol's paintings (£20k-£40k each) at London's Old Dairy, attended by the likes of Tom Ford, Christopher Kane and, er... Johnny Borrell.

Anthony Rose: 'One of the lessons we’ve learnt from the New World is to consume wine as a drink and not to hoard it'

Just about everywhere we buy our wine, we are presented with the nubile attractions of youth in wine as if there were no alternative. For obvious commercial reasons, both retailers and producers have a vested interest in wine as fmcg (fast moving consumer goods). While 87.46 per cent of all statistics may be made up on the spot, the fact that 92 per cent of all wine purchased is consumed within 48 hours of purchase has been confirmed by research by Fosters, or Treasury Wine Estates as it's now called.

Part Two of Mark Hix's Classic Recipes: Summer puddings

In the second exclusive extract from his stunning new cookbook, Mark Hix recreates a selection of delicious puddings from his Oyster & Chop House restaurant.

White port and strawberry trifle

Serves 4

The Sketch: Fiddling, flipping and filching: what's a decent chap to do?

They couldn't get Lord Ashcroft to come in so they took it out on Hayden Phillips.

Private Lives, Vaudeville Theatre, London

Kim Cattrall and Matthew Macfadyen display an onstage chemistry that works like a volatile charm in Richard Eyre's exhilaratingly funny, expertly orchestrated and wittily designed revival of the Noël Coward comedy classic Private Lives.

Seven islands, seven landscapes: The Canary Island's busy network of ferries offers the chance to see plenty of great sea life and shore-scapes

There are two essentials to island hopping, namely islands with enough contrast to warrant a hop, and an easy means of making such a hop. These days, it's easy to take in the multiple personalities of the Canary Islands in only a few short hops by hydrofoil and high-speed ferry.

The original is still best: Win a hamper

Discover where your food comes from and win a hamper from some of Europe’s finest food and drink regions

Stay the night: Port Rive Gauche, Marseillan, France

A wine warehouse in the ancient little port of Marseillan has been transformed into a complex of contemporary chic apartments

Pass the port: Mark Hix finds culinary inspiration on a trip to meet a Portuguese wine-maker

A few weeks ago, I went on a trip to Portugal with the Chop House's wine merchant John Hutton – but our journey out there turned into a bit of a passport nightmare. In London the night before we left, I suddenly realised that my passport was in the side pocket of my small travel case in Dorset.

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