Being a curious foodie, I’m always interested to see behind the scenes of places I love. Last Saturday Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire, provided just the opportunity when it opened its doors for the annual Summer Fair.
UPDATE: To attend the Daylesford Summer Festival on Saturday 20th May 2017, register for your free tickets:
Grey skies and persistent drizzle couldn’t dampen the spirits of hundreds of visitors keen to take a peek at this decidedly chic and stylish destination for foodies. Kitted out in wellies, armed with large brollies and accompanied by a motley crew of dogs, they flocked to Lady Bamford’s organic farm in Kingham. When a vintage Bentley decked with plants and organic vegetables greets you at the entrance, it’s a large hint that this will be a rather classy English country fair.
Browsing the Great Taste Producers’ Market, festival go-ers warmed up with tastings of Cotswold gin and single malt whisky produced at The Cotswolds Distillery. Daniel Szor, who previously sold derivatives in the City, happily explained his journey from hedge fund to hedgerow. His gin includes local botanicals such as lavender from the Cotswold lavender farm at Snowshill and bay leaf. It is the result of experimenting with over 100 recipes before hitting exactly the right note. Other stalls were bang on trend selling produce such as superfood snack bars, bone broth, melt-in-the-mouth marshmallows and rapseed oil produced from the surrounding fields of gold.
Daylesford’s smart and shiny Cookery School provided the perfect shelter from the rain and the opportunity to watch cheese-making and steak masterclasses. The Egg Store, one of several chic holiday cottages decorated in calming tones and natural wood, offered an inviting place to warm up by the fire (each of the three bedrooms conveniently has one). At the Budding Chefs Cookery School, there were hands-on classes for children on how to make buttermilk pancakes with rhubarb, honey and mint or vegetable wraps with a herby dip. Other creative options were block printing, basket decorating and wood work.
Summer entertaining inspiration came in the form of beautiful and colourful table displays from Summerill & Bishop. Long tables were adorned with their hand painted linen tablecloths and pretty ceramics in Provencal blue, cerise pink, sunny yellow and apple green. Stunning flowers and rustic antiques completed the scene. For those in need of calm and relaxation, the Bamford Spa offered relaxing mini massages, free yoga sessions and divine smelling organic creams and scented candles.
All it needed to end a perfect day was a stop at the Rhubarb Bar for a slice of rhubarb and orange polenta cake baked by the chefs from The Refreshment Rooms in London’s Peckham. They travel to Daylesford each spring to source organic rhubarb and to forage for ingredients to make their own Aperol.
We went home with one last treat – a bottle of rosé from Château Léoube, the Bamford’s Estate in Provence. When the clouds part and the sun eventually breaks through, it will be opened in celebration of the start of summer.