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.