Last week I was on the Devon and Dorset border at River Cottage for a Christmas Feast. River Cottage is well known for its hugely popular TV and book series but it’s also an extensive Cookery and Chef School plus a venue for unique dinning experiences.
All of which River Cottage staff share with enormous passion and more than a gentle nod to local seasonal produce. In fact, it’s at its very core.
River Cottage offers many courses ranging from classic cookery, baking, cider and beer making to gardening and foraging. Whether you are an amateur cook or a food enthusiast there is a course for you. Moreover as a venue, who wouldn’t want a River Cottage wedding?
On arrival, you are taxied to the cottage by tractor down a long bumpy lane. When watching the TV programmes you don’t appreciate how far from the road the cottage is. All this builds to the excitement.
Our afternoon started with a cooking demonstration on all things Christmas such as how to brine turkey or chicken and how to make venison bresola. I am certainly going to try brining my Christmas turkey, as it was so deliciously moist and flavoursome. Before we knew it, dusk had passed us by and we were dinning in the dark for treat of a feast.
This was the feast lovingly cooked for us:
Christmas Feast Menu
Exmouth Mussels cooked in Apple Juice with Diced Red Onion and Apple
Creamy Goats Cheese on Rye Bread Topped with Pickled Beetroot Slices
Warming Aperitif – Kingston Black a blend of Cider Brandy and juice from cider apples (I bought a bottle so expect a cocktail recipe to follow)
Crispy Rabbit with Capers and Romanesco Puree
Celeriac Ravioli with Wild Mushrooms and Leaves
River Cottage Cider Brined Ham (as shown in the cooking demo)
Fried Savoy Cabbage
Smokey Braised Beans
Honeycomb Crème Brulee with Apple Puree, Apple Crisps and Rye and Treacle Crumble
Petit Fours with Coffee
As the evening drew to a close we were taxied again back to our cars by tractor. It was a wild, wet and windy night and it felt hard to leave the warm inviting glow that is River Cottage HQ but armed with the knowledge shown to us at the cookery demo, it won’t be hard to recreate this at home at Beach Hut Cook HQ.
Here’s a post of another cookery school visit – Waitrose Cookery School in London.
Disclaimer: I was kindly invited to River Cottage by Foodies 100 for the purpose of a review. All thoughts are my own ……..in case you didn’t guess I loved it!