Now I am always keen to feature top notch local produce at my dinners. I love a good market and relish wandering around trying to find some new inspiration or quirky new product that I have not come across before.
I do however ask the question have the “Farmers Market” had their day?
My biggest gripe is that often a stall holder is not first and foremost a particularly good sales person or customer focused. I have seen too many hide behind their stall looking at their phone seeming totally disinterested and non-engaging with their customers…
Harsh you may think but something I feel is ripe for a discussion /poll.
I often feel there are some stalls that seem to think that their chosen product is worthy of grossly inflated prices and substandard production. I have seen many a cupcake or even a loaf of bread look like an abomination of baking prowess at an eye watering price that even a supermarket would be hard pushed to justify.
Fish that pongs or not looking its best and a dirt encrusted vegetable that makes out it is better because of it…
Then there is the snobby customer who also makes out they are more than righteous for supporting the market and are a dedicated foodie because they do so!
Well I for one will happily support a Farmers Market but I have to say the stall holder has to up their game to get me to part with my hard earned cash and have a product worthy of it.
Good imaginative food is worth it but alas a lot of it is not… what says you?
For our October dinners we are going to be popping up once again in the village of Marden.… we can now reveal once again we will be hosting two dinners in the Anno Distillers distillery with those lovely chaps Andy & Norman
This time however I will be joined by a fellow chef and new supper club host who is in the process of setting up his own pop ups.
Chef Visen Anenden will be joining us to cook a few courses alongside yours truly. Visen is an accomplished chef who trained with the Roux family at Le Gavroche and then worked on events for celebrity chef Anthony Worral Thompson.
He has most recently however been the personal chef to HRH The Prince of Wales household where for nearly ten years he worked in the assorted homes of the Prince and travelled with him on assorted foreign trips.
We have tried to ensure the dishes we are preparing highlight not only the handiwork of those clever guys at Anno but local produce and we hope a few stories peppered into the evening of both Visen’s and Hari’s experiences.
There will be just twenty two spaces available each night for this rather unique and exclusive event and we will have either Andy or Norman on hand each night to provide an insight into the workings of their still and the fruits of their labours.
So onto the menu… we will kick the evening off with assorted welcome nibbles served with a welcome Gin & Tonic whilst you will get an introduction and tour from the makers into how they make their Gins and Vodka.
First course prepared by Hari will be an unctuous Duck Rillettes served with a jelly made from Anno’s Sloe Gin.
Visen will then serve cured salmon that will have been cured using Anno’s Elderflower Vodka and a classic beetroot and horseradish garnish.
Chef Visen will then be in charge of the main course where he will be serving up a Pork inspired dish of the belly and a cake of black pudding. I am intrigued by his mushroom, lettuce – fenugreek sauce – his love of spices must be part of his Mauritian heritage.
Hari will be picking the cheeses and sticking local with Winterdale
Shaw unpasteurised Cheddar and then a Kentish Blue from Staplehurst.
To complete the meal Visen will be in charge again and his dessert will be an Anno Gin soaked sponge, raspberry, and burnt-butter-vanilla cream, all served with a glass of sweet wine.
Dates: Friday 21st & Saturday 22nd October 2016
Venue: Anno Distillers Marden
Time: 7:30pm Welcome 8:00pm Dinner Served
Suggested Donation: £50 per person (service not included)
Nibbles with an Anno Gin & Tonic
Duck Rillettes with Green Peppercorns & Sloe Gin Jelly,
Sour Dough Toast
Salmon cured in elderflower vodka, chickpea blini, pickled beetroot and horseradish
Pork belly, pressed potato-black pudding “cake”, mushroom and lettuce-fenugreek sauce
Winterdale Shaw Cheddar & Kentish Blue with Banana Jam & Porridge Oat Biscuits
Gin soaked sponge, raspberry, and burnt-butter-vanilla cream + small shot glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes
Coffee & Petit Fours
Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability
To book your places please complete the following form and we will contact you within 24/48 hours to confirm your booking with a credit card number
We are showcasing a fledgling company with our next dinner when it comes to our coffee service at the end of the meal.
The brain child of Maidstone Boys Grammar School 6th Former Dan Westby, he has been a big fan of coffee for a number of years. After much internet searching along with a loan from the bank of “Mum & Dad” he set himself up with a coffee bean roasting machine.
Dan has thought through the whole business he has set up from the very clever name to the whole structure and set up. Velo Coffee is designed to be sustainable by selling their roasted beans at local farmers market in Bearsted each month to then being hand delivered by bike as that is Dan’s second passion.
So after much research and some clever branding Velo Coffee was born and Dan now sources his bean choice with the help of his customers and effectively small batch roasts to order the coffee to ensure the maximum freshness.
His current choice of bean is from Rwanda , and precisely Gashonga a small region close to the Congo and Burundi.
This “Red Bourbon” Variety is hand-picked by smallholders at 1600 plus meters above sea level in ideal growing conditions that is then fermented and dried at the “Gashonga Station”. He describes them as having a Chocolate & Brown Sugar flavour with a citrus acidity and a syrupy mouth feel.
Dan will normally buy 30kg of the chosen green beans that he will then roast to order in batches of 250g at a time – a process he will do at last minute before delivery by bike to ensure they are at their optimal freshness. He will then also grind the beans for the desired method of brew. A finer grind for the filter method and a coarser grind for a Cafetiere or “French press”
The smell is evocative as the beans roast in circa 12 minutes and Dan brewed me a fresh cup on my visit to his set up that illustrated well the citrus notes of the light roasted bean that when drank black and without sugar was a perfect way to appreciate his passion.
He has promised to be on hand each night to talk about his business and the way it operates from his monthly stall at Bearsted farmers market to the subscription service that he offers to local residents where he delivers a freshly roasted pack by bike or for those further afield he will also send by Royal Mail.
For someone so young it is an enterprise to be admired and what is so evident is the passion he shows for the product – the care and attention to detail from the branding to processes involved is to be commended. I trust you will come and support him at our next dinner.