Found down winding country lanes and through a farm gate usually closed to the public, a very special supper club was hosted in a secret barn under beautiful blue skies.
Brought together by Local Food Britain, The Salt Box and Priory Farm combined their talents to create a feast that more than matched the stunning surroundings.
Reigate's The Salt Box, who specialise in expertly curing, pickling and smoking local produce, were set the challenge of creating a delicious four-course menu using ingredients sourced largely by Priory Farm in South Nutfield – including crayfish caught fresh from the fishing lake just across the road.
Tickets for the intimate event sold out in a matter of hours, and there was a sense of expectation among the foodies who had made their way over to the idyllic corner of the Surrey countryside.
Guests were greeted by views up to the wooded hills and Nutfield Priory hotel, as well as a non-alcoholic or gin infused cocktail created by The Salt Box - the tasty tipple showcased rhubarb grown on Christian and Beckie's very own allotment.
Cooking with fire
While Christian expertly tended to the butterflied leg of mutton cooking on the fire pit and put the finishing touches to the evening's dishes, Beckie and her team delivered Bloody Mary Crayfish Shooter canapés to guests mingling in the sun-drenched courtyard.
Eventually, as the sun dipped towards the trees, guests made their way into the rustic Lambing Shed, where beautifully appointed family-style tables were to be found.
With everyone seated, The Salt Box shared a few words about their passion for great food and drink and talked through each of the dishes and their provenance, before starting service.
The first dish to be brought to the table was a rich and tender ham hock rillette spiked with pea ketchup, pea shoots and charred spring onion - a chunky slice or two of Chalk Hills Bakery rye bread helped to add a foundation for the flavours.
Next up, the mutton, which had been barbecued and then smoked to perfection, was served ready for sharing. It was a deliciously hearty dish, accompanied by harissa new potatoes; coal baked carrots; samphire and High Weald Dairy sheep's cheese; watercress, herb and nasturtium salad; and green chilli yoghurt sauce.
Last but by no means least, a moreishly deep chocolate, bay and lady grey torte proved a fitting finale with yoghurt sorbet and bon bon.
A foodie adventure
Long favourites of Local Food Britain, The Salt Box create food that is often both generous and refined, and their dishes cleverly balance comfort food and nostalgia with exciting flavour combinations and less often used ingredients. They proved to be the perfect hosts for the idyllic setting.
Tickets for the supper club were £39 (with 'bring your own' drinks) and, such was the enjoyment of the revellers on the night, that we're pleased to announce it won't be too long before Local Food Britain, The Salt Box and Priory Farm team up again.
As part of the Local Food Britain Food & Drink Festival at Priory Farm in September, The Salt Box will be hosting two ticketed events featuring their unique take on brunch and afternoon tea. Watch this space...