Travelling by ferry on a press trip last month, we were sensibly booked into the Premium Lounge on the DFDS crossing from Dover to Calais. Wise and wonderful decision. Peaceful, comfortable and with a selection of drinks, pastries, chocolates, crisps, biscuits and fruit included. It costs £12 per person and seems like a really smart option to me.
I went on a mini tour of Dutch Castles and Country Houses, and not only did I see a lot of beautiful buildings and interiors, I ate a lot of really good food.
Staying at Landgoed Hotel Groot Warnsborn for the night, after a wander in the grounds we enjoyed a delicious four-course dinner.
Drinks on the terrace, then into the private dining room. The sunlight cast shadows from candelabras. Asparagus amuse bouche. Piglet with sweet onion, citrusy balsamic, crisp brown rice. Venison sausage and mashed potatoes. Beef with white asparagus and green bean puree. Hibiscus, rhubarb, matcha pudding.
Another great Dutch pot was Landgoed Hotel Rhederoord, for lunch. I felt immediately at home, the hotel was luxuriously serene and welcoming. In the dining room the rain pelted the windows, blurring the view of the trees. We gathered round the long table and ate the best pork belly I’ve ever had, followed by veal and beef with broccoli puree. All absolutely delicious.
Not only does Rhederoord have an almost totally organic kitchen, but they also produce their own range of products – Water 159, bottled from their own spring (159m below ground), a blonde beer Het Geheim (The Secret) made using their spring water and delicate, smooth and delicious honey.
My final Dutch recommendation (this edition) is Kasteel Kerckebosch for dinner. Owner Ingmar Sloothaak dubbed it the ‘Culinary Castle’ and I like that. Best kind of castle (after ‘bouncy’, of course). Kerckebosch is a lovely building, not overstated, not oversized, just lovely and made up of a mixture of period and reclaimed materials from other buildings including churches, abbeys and castles.
Dinner in the orangery – a new addition to the building, and perfectly, simply, in-keeping. The menu was eclectic, something for everyone – lobster rolls, Gado Gado, Rendang, salmon poppadums’, and short rib beef with whiskey cola sorbet. Tasty.
At home we were treated to this Tuck Box Sharer selection from Fudge Kitchen. I really like fudge, so I thought I’d enjoy it – but I wasn’t expecting this. Lemon Sherbet, Parma Violet, Blackcurrant and Liquorice, Pear Drop and Rhubarb and Custard – and they all tasted exactly like I thought they would. Super sweet, of course, but so nostalgic!
And, in other foodie news…
On the first Sunday of August the beautiful Belgian city of Leuven hosts ‘Hapje Tapje’ a culinary feast in the city centre. Speciality beers are served in the Oude Markt, and the restaurants located on the Muntstraat, Tiensestraat and Hogeschoolplein, serve all their favourite dishes under one roof. In the afternoon there’s a traditional bartender race (whatever that is!) It looks great, and you can find out more here: www.hapje-tapje.be
If you’re interested in finding out a little more about the city, you can read my ‘Things to Love in Leuven’ travel story here: http://idontlikepeas.co.uk/things-love-leuven-belgium/
Also in Belgium – the Mechelen Vleeshalle is now open, and I am planning to visit soon! Occupying a monumental space, which was once home to the old Mechelen meat market, is now the city’s latest culinary hotspot. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, the hall is home to twelve stall holders and a pop-up food stall which is open Tuesday – Sunday. High quality ingredients are on sale as well the chance to eat heartily. Find out more here: https://www.devleeshalle.be/en/home/ (and keep an eye out here for my foodie feedback!)
Talking about ferry operator DFDS, they’ve launched a campaign called ‘Field to Ferry’ following an internal review of their food produce suppliers on ships from Dover to Calais and Dover to Dunkirk.
The campaign showcases a handful of their UK suppliers to engage and inform passengers where the food served on-board has come from, with a strong focus on provenance, traceability and sustainability.
With the explosion of the UK casual dining scene over recent years and consumers with a keenness to understand as much as possible about where their food comes from, DFDS have worked hard to create an on-board ferry dining experience that shatters any preconceptions of ferry food from bygone years.
England’s second Seafood Feast returns to the English Riviera, south Devon, from 20 September to 6 October giving visitors the chance to dine on some of the best seafood in the world exactly where it’s landed.
Part of the wider Seafood Coast initiative which promotes restaurants, fishing and maritime experiences around England’s entire coastline to international visitors, the Seafood Feast is a two-week long extravaganza of seafood set menus, taster platters, crab-cracking masterclasses, chef events and more across the English Riviera – Brixham, Paignton and Torquay.
For a lucky few Feast visitors, there’s the chance to dine on lobster at Agatha Christie’s holiday home Greenaway House on the River Dart but there’s also the option of crossing the Tor Bay on a heritage sailing trawler, join a fish cooking class, a foraging workshop and much more.
Find out more on www.theseafoodfeast.co.uk
I’ll be back soon with some more Foodie Finds to share, until then, if you’ve got something you think we should know about, please get in touch… send quiche!