Harvest Lunch caterer Life’s Kitchen served up not only a very classy celebratory lunch thanks to the generosity of sponsor-in-kind suppliers but also one for which all the meat, fruit and vegetables could be traced back to individual producers.
“Our harvest lunch is an opportunity to celebrate the ‘Best of British’ products available from farmers and growers,” says Adrian Bell, Guild chairman. “It was great to enjoy a meal of such quality knowing where the food was produced.”
Guild members and guests were greeted at the pre-lunch reception, sponsored by feeding technology company Keenan, with a glass of Hindleap Brut Blanc de Blanc or the Hindleap Rosé sparkling wines provided by Bluebell Vineyard Estates in Sussex.
In his tasting notes, Bluebell’s Iain MacLean describes the Blanc de Blanc, made from the Chardonnay grape, as “an elegant sparkling wine with subtle brioche on the nose, a fresh citrus palate and a toasty finish; ideal as an aperitif and for celebrations”.
For the meal, Life’s Kitchen chefs worked with main lunch sponsor Waitrose, the Jersey Cattle Society and Partners in Purchasing, a produce sourcing agency for the corporate catering industry, to source ingredients that would complement the mutton offered by Guild member Mike Gooding of FAI Farms at Oxford.
A light starter of oak-smoked Waitrose Scottish wild salmon, accompanied by watercress and lemon mousse and a crisp oat bread, was enjoyed before moving on to the main course – FAI Farms mutton cooked three ways. The individual slow-braised leg hotpot, confit of shoulder and mini offal steamed pudding made a substantial and very tasty plateful, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and champ sourced from Covent Garden-based wholesalers Allison Risebro and DDP Ltd.
Watercress for the starter, potatoes, carrots, swede, savoy cabbage and herbs were all traced to individual producers in Hampshire, Kent, Norfolk, Somerset, Lincolnshire and Surrey by Diana Spellman of Partners in Purchasing.
“I feel like Aneka Rice in my challenge to identify the traceability of the products,” she says. “But it has been interesting and insightful to interrogate the supply chain for a ‘real provenance’ lunch.”
For pudding – and this was a ‘pudding’ sport of a meal – there was apple and blackberry crumble made with Bramleys from Court Lodge Farm in Kent, partnered with vanilla ice cream from Graham’s Family Dairy.
A generous selection of British cheeses and biscuits, port, FairTrade coffee and petit fours from the Waitrose range rounded off a terrific lunch enjoyed in the good company of fellow journalists, communicators and some of the leading lights of the agricultural industry.