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23 September 2013

The Abundant Feast

A celebration of all that is abundant in our county during the SAW Festival was celebrated on Friday at East Lambrook Manor Gardens, a celebration not only of all the art that is on show at present but the natural harvest of plentiful food currently ripe for the picking. Whilst seeking out those yellow signs you must surely have also noticed the rich crop of apples and the over sized chestnuts resembling woollen pompoms that line the Somerset lanes this September.

Now most private views offer their guest a drink with nibbles but this evening's offering was a true feast, an art performance for the taste buds. Artist Tasha Tucker - Vallecillo and professional chef Damon Palmer had collaborated to create a 'micro-tester' menu exploring a sustainable food supply. This meant that the majority of the menu was fabulously fresh, seasonal native produce - we were also informed that over 90% of the food was also prepared by hand without the use of fossil fuels.

 Artist Tasha Tucker- Vallecillo

On arrival at the gardens we were presented with the evening's menu which heralded a little foreboding with the words - 'You are likely to find some parts of this challenging, some informative and hopefully some enjoyable.'

The Menu

1.Plum and Apple Cider
Naturally fizzy and made with wild yeast

2. Wild Leaf, Mushroom & Seaweed Pocket
Made with Bladderwrack Seaweed from Dorset
wrapped in Tree Spinache 

3. Savoury Wild Seed Biscuit, Garlic Sauerkraut, no sugar
Plum Jam with Local Game
Made from Wild Plantain Seed and 
Elephant Organic Garlic

4. English Berry Apple Juice & Seabuckthorn
Health Tonic Fruit Cocktails

5. Fruit Leather & Raw Cheese Roulade
Fruit leather made with organic Raspberries &
Plums dried for 8 - 10 hours
Raw Cheese made from un-pasteurised milk.

The Plum and Apple Cider

 Meticulous preparations

The evening's organiser and Abundance X Curator  SAW's Zoe Li

The evening was very relaxed, the food was a wonderful topic of conversation as guests mingled and viewed the displays that Tasha had created to explain about the foraging, preserving and production processes involved in eating sustainably. To view some of Tasha's ideas and planning for the evening's feast do take a look at the SAW Abundance Blog.

Alongside enjoying the feast the evening was also a chance to view Abundance X Venue 61 and part of the Abundance Garden Trail. Organised by SAW's Zoe Li the exhibition is naturally all about gardens and features the following artists

Laura Pearcey
Chris Dunseath
Judy Willoughby
Emma Riley
Nadja McDevitt
Jan Ollis
Rachel Waldock
Sue Lowe
Margaret Wall
Linda Bristow

All the work is available to purchase and the commission from sales will be donated to the National Gardens Scheme.

 Judy Willoughby

Chris Dunseath

I realise there are many venues to visit during SAW, however this one may inspire you to harvest some of that fruit currently adorning the hedgerows and make some jam that can be enjoyed on a cold winter day - invigorating your culinary skills if pencil or paintbrush are not for you!

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