Eat Cambridge Opening Dinner

The festival kicked off in style with a dinner at Corpus Christi College. Mark Poynton, chef patron of Michelin starred Restaurant Alimentum in Hills Road created a three-course menu inspired by Mrs. Parker’s 16th century cookbook Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye (link to the history and an online version of the book).

The evening started with a drinks reception during which I met a few of the guests and easily found a conversation topic, food and restaurants, as pretty much everyone there had a keen interest in good food, which was to be expected.

We were then led into the dining room, laid out with a large horseshoe shaped table, an apple with a name tag marking each place setting.

Eat Cambridge opening dinner

After a short opening speech by the Lady Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Sheila Stuart, food historia Dr. Annie Gray from Ely (you might remember her from Kitchen Cabinet) gave a presentation on Mrs. Parker’s book and a short history on cookery in the mediaeval and Tudor periods.

The Lady Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Sheila Stuart

Dr Annie Gray on food history

Then it was time to eat and Mark Poynton presented his starter, a salad of smoked eel (a very common ingredient at the time, especially in Cambridgeshire where the Fens were full of them) with apple, turnip and horseradish:

Smoked eel, apple, turnip, horseradish granita

This was a familiar dish to the Alimentum regulars (of which there were quite a few) as a similar version was on the menu last year and it was just as good. The horseradish and fresh ingredients cut through the fattiness of the fish without masking its flavour. Wine: Albarino, Rias Baixas, 2009

Slow roast venison, liver parfait

The main was slow roast venison, liver parfait, charcoal baked celeriac, savoy cabbage, confit lemon and port sauce. The deeply flavoured meat was perfectly cooked and the other elements harmonised with it just as you would expect. Wine: Apaltagua Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011

Rosewater parfait, pistachio, orange

And finally, dessert: Rosewater parfait, coated in pistachio crumbs, with orange granita. This was really fresh and surprisingly light. Wine: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, 2008

A few more impressions:

Eat Cambridge opening dinner

Eat Cambridge opening dinner

Eat Cambridge opening dinner

Eat Cambridge opening dinner

Eat Cambridge opening dinner
Sian of the organising committee

Still more photos on flickr.

Jean-Luc Benazet has a number of photos from behind the scenes.


3 thoughts on “Eat Cambridge Opening Dinner

  1. Pingback: Eat Cambridge Opening Dinner, Corpus Christi college, Cambridge

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