Daylesford Organic Farm
Date: Saturday 26 November 2011
As with most places, I was introduced to Daylesform Organic Farm by a very dear friend of mine whose children attend a nearby school and who had her sights on visiting this venue for some time. My birthday was the perfect opportunity for us both to see what was behind the immaculate exterior. Since then I have become a regular visitor to the farm despite the sixty minute car journey. Some places are just worth driving the extra 30 miles for.
Once a month the restaurant hosts a supper club, which we regularly attend. Chef Gaven Fuller and his team have managed to keep our taste buds jumping for joy with every event. What makes this venue so incredibly attractive to me is the fact that almost all the produce is 100% certifiably organic. I have had the pleasure of a behind the scenes tour of the farm and a chat with the farming staff and was completely bowled over by their good husbandry knowledge and passion.
What makes supper club at Daylesford so successful? It all starts when you are greeted with a glass of Prosecco handed out by one of a team of friendly staff members. Diners mingle in the foyer, which tonight had the most impressive Christmas tree with baskets of decorations scattered underneath on one end and the most scrumptious selection of Christmas hampers at the other end. A wander through the shop is accompanied by the arrival of canapés. Tonight’s selection included hard boiled quail eggs, mackerel tartare, crab on toast, cheese fritters and anchovy toast with anchovy and olive topping. Throughout the meandering process the most friendly team of waiters keep topping up our glasses with my personal favourite bubbly and Rosie Henderson, the business development manager, flits between the diners welcoming them to the venue.
The restaurant seats approximately 60 food enthusiasts and diners have a view of the kitchen where the team of chefs plate food to military precision. The menu is set, best suited to people who enjoy good food but do not have dietary restrictions, and all the beverages are pre-planned and included in the £70 per person price tag.
The tables are always delicately lit and decorated in an elegant, understated way, using seasonal components to complement the experience. The freshly baked selection of bread, including the two slices of the bread of the month, never survives the likes of me. The starter on this occasion was wild mushroom consommé with truffle and chicken ravioli and the wine is Leoube Blanc, from Provence, France. I am quite unashamedly a wine Neanderthal but my husband who fancies himself a man with a decent palate, has not once complained about the choice of wines. The consommé was exquisite and once I tasted my chicken raviolo I was gutted that I, and all the other diners, had been given only one.
The main was the much anticipated wood roast ribeye of Gloucestershire beef (28 days old, in case you wonder), bone marrow potatoes, pumpkin and wild mushrooms. The wine selection was Cuvee 2 Hegarty Charmans, from Minervois, France. The beef was as pink as Barbie’s accessories with the most perfect roasted outer crust. (Chef Kate shared the secret with us afterwards.) The one thing I noted was the unusual lack of vegetables with both the starter and main and I wonder if it has anything to do with the season.
Dessert consisted of a scrumptious caramelised apple tart, quince sorbet and chestnut cream. This was a melt in the mouth dessert with the perfect portion size. I overheard the staff lamenting the fact that there were hardly any leftovers as our obvious culinary pleasure must have been noticeable to everyone in the room.
To end the excellent meal you are given the choice of hot beverage, which again is included in the price.
There are very few food items I dislike and that is why supper club at Daylesford is perfectly suited to my palate. In most restaurants I leave the choice up to my other half as I dislike reading menus and having to decide what takes my fancy. I believe that a chef worth his salt knows what to prepare and will never disappoint. Chef Gaven and his team do just that for me and my constant dining companion. I have always been made to feel most welcome in both the restaurant and the farm shop and fear that this little piece of culinary heaven will be most sadly missed if we have to relocate further afield.
With ample parking, the tranquillity surrounding this rural farm and the exquisite buildings, this place is nothing short of magical. Clearly the resources that have been invested into the whole project is of astronomical proportions and is exactly what makes this farm one of a kind in Britain. If you appreciate organic food, have a well developed palate and fancy a drive out to the country, then Daylesford Organic Farm supper club is well worth a visit.