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Great Britain Lunch

Hambleton, June 11, 2013

Bailliage of Anglia

The members of the Bailliage of Anglia treated themselves to a springtime lunch at the lovely Hambleton Hall, poised on the edge of Rutland Water. Twenty members and guests had a private room overlooking the lake, with the vin d’honneur and canapés served in a separate ornate Drawing Room.

photo (c) Hambleton Hall

Restaurant Director Graeme Matheson and Chef Aaron Patterson put together a most interesting menu for our lunch, prepared and served in style by the kitchen brigade and a most professional and friendly front-of-house team.

Hambleton Hall’s cuisine is based on locally-sourced and grown ingredients, tastefully assembled into innovative combinations and exquisitely presented.

The vin d’honneur was a very fine English sparkling wine: 2007 Guisbourne Estate Blanc de blancs. Made 100% from Chardonnay, on the palate it displayed proper ageing and all the characteristics of a very fine wine. The wine was served with a beautifully-presented selection of three canapés – a liquid mango purée enrobed in a delicate gelatine coating; a delicious rabbit terrine; and exquisite cheese ‘straws’ which exploded with flavour and included a subtle overtone of anchovy!

After enjoying our vin d’honneur we moved into the Private Dining Room. Acting Bailli Chris Lewis took the opportunity to welcome the guests, who to our delight and honour included Marie Jones, International Vice-President of the Chaîne and a long-standing friend and supporter of the Bailliage of Anglia.

The first course was a simply described ‘Assiette of tomatoes’ which was in fact a tour de force of flavours and textures, beginning with a transparent ‘cappuccino’ of vibrant flavours topped with a delicate sorbet foam and ending with a fascinating soft tomato and basil sorbet, all exquisitely presented in fine style. To accompany this we enjoyed a very fine 2011 Gavi ‘La Fornace’ from Piedmont (Italy). This proved to be an excellent foil for the intense flavours of the tomatoes.

Next was the main course of breast of Goosnargh duck with the leg served as a confit in the form of a spring roll. Served with beautifully spiced lentils and a most interesting and flavoursome ‘compressed watermelon’ garnish, this course was accompanied by a 2010 Pinot Noir from, appropriately, Puy de Dôme, which complemented not only the lentils but the perfectly-cooked and presented duck.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were presented with our dessert. Described on the menu as ‘Rhubarb and Custard’, the rhubarb was cooked to perfection, sweet and firm. It was topped with an elderflower sorbet/foam which succeeded in being both soft and crunchy at the same time! The ‘custard’ was served on the side – a classic, crème brulée served in tiny individual portions. What a triumph!

It was therefore with great pleasure and enthusiasm that we called the kitchen brigade in for the traditional ‘santé du chef’, to round off a truly memorable and exceptional dining experience.

We are most grateful for the enthusiasm and skills of the staff at Hambleton Hall who really pulled out the stops to provide us with such a wonderful culinary experience.

Chris Lewis
Bailli Délégué Honoraire of Great Britain
currently Acting Bailli of Anglia