As I look out on the slowly reddening trees I reflect on the fantastic foresight our predecessors had when they laid out our parkland here. This house was designed and landscaped by Charles Harcourt Masters who also re landscaped Dryham Park a National Trust property about 45 minutes from us and just north of Bath. I feel sure that he must have been familiar with Stourhead’s amazing gardens, again about 45 minutes from us.It is a favourite destination with many of our guests, as the gardens at Harptree reflect so many of its features albeit, in sub miniature. Walking around the grounds here I love the carpet of beech leaves.
Wow! We have just finished hosting the first Scandifeast – a midsummer celebration of all things Scandinavian. Truly amazing to see some world class chefs in action here. Of particular note was Niklas Ekstedt recently seen on Masterchef working in his Michelin starred Stockholm Restaurant where everything is cooked over open fires. Deeply passionate about taking food back to basics, one feels his idea of perfection would be roasting fresh meat over an open fire at the mouth of a cave.
We were privileged to meet Trine Hahnemann an enthusiastic supporter of local and organic food who ran a couple of sessions one a smorrebrod (open sandwich) demonstration and one showing a Danish Cake Table for all to enjoy. She stayed with us for three nights and we were fascinated to watch her cooking in our kitchen. She carried on telling us about her life whilst turning out some incredible and delicious creations. Trine also introduced her sister Silla Bjerrum who ran a fantastic herring masterclass.She is the winner of 2015 MSC Chef of the Year.
Joe Wadsack from BBC’s Food and Drink programme was great fun and seemed to embody the whole festival with his warm-hearted and generous approach, not only to his sessions on Scandinavian wine and spirits but also on being available to talk to anybody at any time. I must confess to being up late one night with him and his partner and just the odd glass of rather splendid wine.
Valentine Warner who has many television series under his belt both as a chef and good food enthusiast gave a session on flatbreads from Peters Yard, topped with many delicious fish toppings.
All in all we had two days of hard work, great food, great company, and a feast and celebration to remember. Gluttons for punishment that we are, we have agreed to host it again next year!
Check out http://www.scandifeast.co.uk/ for the 2016 dates but note that most of the details are for the 2015 feast.
Like the rest of the country we have been lashed by wind and rain this winter but although sadly we have lost a few mature trees, like this cedar, no real damage has been done as there are over a thousand more trees on the estate.
We are about a 40 minute drive away from the Somerset levels which have been so badly hit by flooding and we feel for them. The warm wet winter has meant that the snowdrops, crocus and daffodil display started early.
It’s that time of year again! As series 4 of GBBO is set to go out, we get a bit of a thrill seeing part of out garden or a flash of familiar wallpaper peeping out behind Paul, Mary or Mel and Sue in one of the many different.paper or magazine articles
While it is all going on we do have a few bemused and exited guests who can’t quite believe what they are seeing but they all seem to take it in good spirits and enjoy people watching through the window over breakfast.
Thank you everybody for making the bake off experience a party – even if it is an exhausting one! We have completely enjoyed being a very small part of such a popular show.
I can’t believe that nearly a year has passed by since I last blogged, Its not that nothing has happened – quite the reverse really which has meant that the time has flown by.
It has been another spectacular year for the Treehouse and the Yurt after a freezing start.
The prolonged period of great weather has enabled our guests to make full use of the Yurt hammock and the new basket chair in the Treehouse.
The Pink room and the Yellow room have both benefited from a minor rearrangement of the furniture both rooms look more spacious as a result and we have added new coffee machines to all the rooms so our guests can make real coffee at any time. – And we still supply a proper teapot and a selection of tea for all tea lovers!
As the bake-off filming was just finishing, our grandson Arlo was born and moved in here with us for a few weeks with his lively sister and parents. The next week my mother tumbled from her mobility scooter and broke both wrists and some ribs. The next few weeks were interesting to say the least but my daughter and family are now in their new home and my mother is out of plaster and recovering well so we are back on an even keel. Until the next excitement anyway……
Just watched episode 2 and the memories came flooding back – Mainly how did we manage to miss out on the Bagels? We did taste quite a lot of things, but not the bagels! We blamed the crew for weeks, but I think it was our fault; we were just too polite. (at least back then, The less said about Linda eating the directors specially selected baked delicacies the better.)!
At last we can tell! After weeks of doing our best to keep the secret we can now admit that the whole of the third series of Great British Bake Off was filmed here. What a delightful group of people! Like a big family. Linda and her friends were delighted when Mary Berry used to come into our kitchen to warm herself next to our Aga, as it was so cold outside everyone needed a bit of thawing out. Harptree looked stunning on the first program last night. We held a small party to thank some of our friends who helped out during the 10 weeks that the crew were here. We continued to run the Bed and Breakfast and the treehouse and yurt while it was all going on and some of the guests were able to watch some of the filming. One lot of guests were quite surprised to be welcomed by Mel on arrival.
The first anniversary for the Treehouse and the yurt have come and gone and our guests all seem to be delighted whatever the time of year or the weather! Linda and I couldn’t resist popping in to the Garden at Alnwick recently and had a lovely meal in their treehouse restaurant. We’re still delighted with ours but it does show what a reputed budget some 15-20 times ours can bring you.
Still, we did make the July issue of Vogue as one of the ‘Now’ places so we must be doing something right. Our friends tell us that we are the least likely people to ever feature in Vogue!
Well, the first half year of operation has passed with our guests being wowed by the treehouse and the Yurt. The Yurt has long been put away for the winter but we were still having guests in November. We added a hot water bottle and then an electric blanket to ensure everyone stayed snug and warm. The only problem during the year was with squirrels! One day whilst we were away they ate our rubber gas connectors emptying the spare gas cylinders so the gas ran out. We had the gas back on within 12 hours but it was a worry. The gas pipes now have armour plating so unless the squirrels use weapons we should be alright. I cannot quite believe how booked up we are getting for 2012 now – the first half of the year is almost full in the treehouse.