A River Cottage Christmas in the glorious Devon countryside with Foodies100.
I love the run up to Christmas – the gathering together of friends and family, the glitter and sparkle and the flavours and scents of food to be shared, so a trip to River Cottage for a Festive Feast with blogger friends was an excellent start to the season!
Once we’d parked up and been transported down the bumpy track by tractor and trailer we were greeted with drinks and canapés. River Cottage HQ was just beginning to shrug into its festive finery with a smattering of fairy lights, dried flowers from the garden festooning the walls and fresh ones running the length of the tables.
The fire was lit in the yurt in the garden and the cottage itself was cosy and inviting as we gathered to talk about all things blogging and had a chance to catch up with old friends and put faces to new ones. This was my second visit to River Cottage HQ with Foodies100 and, like the first, it was relaxed and easy going – I love visiting somewhere where food integrity is so important and where local, seasonal produce is king and I really love spending time with people who don’t tire of me talking about food all the time!
Once we were all settled in our seats on either side of the long tables one of the chefs outlined our menu for the evening. The menus are decided by what is available in the garden and locally each day which means that the food is always exciting and innovative.
A River Cottage Christmas Vegetarian Menu
My passengers all enjoyed a Kingston Black Apple brandy as an aperitif while I, as designated driver, sipped happily on lemonade and nattered to the other vegetarian and vegan bloggers – it was nice to be seated together and not to have to wave away meaty dishes as so often happens elsewhere!
First to appear was a selection of canapés all beautifully presented with a flourish. We enjoyed leek mushroom and blue cheese croquettes with green tomato chutney, carrot hummus on rye bread, roasted romanesco with romanesco puree
and whipped goat’s cheese with beetroot marinaded in cider vinegar.
Our starter was celeriac ravioli with wild mushrooms and fresh sage, topped with crisp salad leaves
The vegetarian main dish was a parsnip and potato rosti with carrot puree and cabbage fried with garlic and butter, topped with a perfectly cooked poached egg which made me smile; throughout Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s book ‘Veg Every Day’ he extolls the virtues of the perfect poached egg and I am in full agreement, they are very hard to beat!
How I still had room for dessert I have no idea but I managed to squeeze in this wonderfully seasonal honeycomb crème brûlée with apple crisps, apple purée and apple, rye and treacle crumble – hoorah for British apples!
Coffee served with chocolate orange truffles rounded off the evening nicely and we meandered back to the tractor for our ride back up to the car park with the wind and rain rummaging us as we went.
River Cottage events are organised and run with an infectious warmth and enthusiasm and their passion for good food shines through everything they do. Many of you will remember River Cottage from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV series and the many books which that spawned but it is now also the venue for a fabulous cookery school and a series of special events and dining evenings throughout the year, if you hurry you are not too late to book a River Cottage Christmas feast for yourself!
With thanks to Foodies100 and River Cottage HQ for organising our blogger River Cottage Christmas.