The Waitrose annual conference is held at Celtic Manor each February- lovely hotel, comfy room and good food. However, possibly more exciting than that was the entertainment- Strictly Come Dancing! I was close to the stage and was mesmerised! And I had a little chat with Pippa Middleton- poor woman was besieged by alot of drunken managers. (not me though- unbelievably I remained sober!)
But, back to the food. I managed to take photos of each course despite the colleagues on my table thinking it was a little strange…. I said it was to show a foodie friend- that’s you!!!
Starter was a mushroom trifle topped with a maderia jus, pickled walnuts and mini mushrooms. The little bread stick on the side is made of lava bread.
It was good, although very rich. The trifle was more like a rich mushroom pate and the fruitiness of the jus on top worked really well. I couldn’t finish it all as it was so full flavoured, and I wanted to leave space for the 3 courses to come.
Main course was lamb cooked in 2 ways.
One piece of lamb was a stuffed saddle of lamb, the other being a slow roasted breast. The breast was sat on top of smoked potato mash- really lovely, and like nothing I had tasted before. The gravy was a reduction using pomegranate molasses, but it was quite weak as I would have liked to see more of the sweet/sour flavour of the molasses to shine through. One the side were some griddled leeks which complemented the meal very well.
Dessert looked absolutely amazing!
I’m not entirely sure I can accurately describe this creation- it was quite something. The plate is actually white but had been sprayed with chocolate! There is chocolate ‘soil’ on the plate with the blackcurrant sorbet, and this was absolutely gorgeous. The chocolate sphere was holding a chocolate mousse on a fennel compote. Quite amazing, very rich, and not something I could ever make. Lovely.
As of that wasn’t enough there was a cheese course! It was actually about 11pm by now and I wasn’t sure I could fit any more in….
The left hand cheese was very unusual. Italian, it was made from the milk of cows, goats and sheep. This made it very creamy, rich and yummy. The middle cheese was a gouda which was almost crunchy, and the blue on the right hand side was very strong and a good contrast. I didn’t eat the welsh cakes as I am not keen on them, but the rest of the table gobbled them down.
I have come back about 3lb heavier I think! Good job it’s only once a year.