Thinking of Valentine’s gifts – what could be nicer for food passionate couples? Our new relationship with the nation’s much loved River Cottage, established by TV cook, writer and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, gives us a chance to tell you all about their great experiences. Ethical lovers of fantastic food, read on.
Many things mark out River Cottage HQ as something special, not least their general ethos and commitment to seasonal and local food, as well as their keen sense of sustainability.
River Cottage HQ is a smallholding, a cookery school and dining venue, as well as a backdrop for the popular TV series. They are unique in operating as a commercial success, but with a refreshing aim to do more than just make money. It’s all about the food and celebrating the positive experience of eating, learning or cooking at River Cottage HQ!
The working organic smallholding was set up by Hugh in 2004 and is home to a very successful cookery school. Working all year round, they also run their unique dining experiences and one-off events (yes, you CAN even get married there) from the farm in Axminster.
We spoke to Steven Lamb to ask him about a typical day at River Cottage. He has been at RC since the beginning. As well as teaching, writing and appearing in the TV series, he is responsible for the customer experience and guardian of the unique culture at HQ.
“On a typical day at RCHQ our customers can expect to find themselves in a wonderful location with amazing views of the Devon/Dorset countryside and coastline. They are engaged by a small team of talented, passionate chefs, tutors and front of house staff who chomp at the bit to make their day special, but in an informal manner.
Anyone coming to River Cottage feels a positive vibe which not only stems from the beauty of the place, but the knowledge and energy of everyone involved in making the place work. Of course they learn a great deal and hopefully leave feeling confident and inspired to continue their learning journey. They will have eaten or made under expert tuition, some fantastic food – some of which is deliberately challenging but always local, seasonal and organic. Nobody goes home hungry!”
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching what experience would you recommend for your Valentine? “If I was buying a Valentine’s Day gift I’d have to go for a Friday Night Dining for Two at River Cottage HQ. Where else do you start your evening with a tractor ride down to the farm and drinks and canapés in a yurt? The food is sublime and the entire experience is unique and highly memorable. What more could you wish for?
Red Letter Days offers a choice of day courses at River Cottage HQ, ranging from, fish cookery, ‘pig in a day’ and a one day course covering all aforementioned aspects. After learning lots of valuable new skills with dedicated and enthusiastic staff, conclude with a big sit down meal to enjoy the fruits of your labours. Satisfaction guaranteed!
If food is your passion, click to review our gourmet range
IMAGES: RLD and River Cottage