I think we’ve all eaten dull catered food. The rubber chicken of legend, the endless goats cheese salads, claggy risotto, brutalised lamb…weddings (sorry dear friends) are the worst offenders, but work dos come a close second. But occasionally, very occasionally the client/PR/caterer symbiosis produces something really clever. And by clever I mean intelligent food that you actually want to eat, as opposed to clever food that looks good and tastes rubbish. And is usually unforgiveably cold, given that so many events happen in marquees in the summer.
On Sunday I attended the Veuve Clicquot-sponsored polo Gold Cup Final at Cowdray Park, & I loved the food that we were served in the VIP marquee so much, I thought I’d share it with you. We started with an excellent chilled pea soup & parmesan crisp in espresso cups (above).
The main course was en papillotte – that is cooked in paper parcels. Either sustainable cod (hmm can it really be sustainable?) or summer vegetables. There were crushed potatoes in a little pot and a tangle of dressed pea shoots. We drank the most recent vintage – 2002. Most Champagne is a blend but, very occasionally, in an exceptional year, a house will decide to produce a vintage – and the 2002 was one of those years. That was a proper treat. A very, very good wine.
Little jugs of a cream veloute sauce appeared, but the fun bit was yet to come. You may have noticed the little nail scissors tied with Veuve-yellow ribbon in the top shot. These were for cutting off the herbs of your choice from the little labelled pots that were doing duty as verdure down the centre of the long table.
We all happily snipped away, adding sprinkles of herbs & shoots to our plates. Given how dull these lunches can be, this made a great conversation-starter amongst a group of very disparate people – my table included Luke Tomlinson, the captain of the English Polo Team, lovely Victoria Hesketh aka Little Boots and Tolula Adeyemi. I’m all for a gimmick if it makes my food taste good.
Pudding was a coconut panna cotta with mango jelly, fruit compote and white chocolate granita. Very successful, bar the granita which was not. The pudding was served with Veuve Demi Sec, which made a great change from pudding wine, the sweetness & acidity working brilliantly against the fruits.