With guests galore staying over August, rather than slaving over a hot stove or going out to restaurants, we pulled in some help from local chefs and indulged in gastronomic feasts at The Moult. We also wanted to check out some caterers that we have been recommending to those renting The Moult.
Jonny from Hermanos Paella popped up a gazebo, pulled out his pans and filled the air with fragrant Iberian smells unknown to the gardens at The Moult. As the light dimmed, the lanterns glowed, the music played, the sangria flowed and we consumed the warm paella we felt transported to some Mediterranean shore, many miles from Salcombe.
As a complete contrast Gemma and Polly from The Galley Girls brought us back to Britain another evening with a sumptuous beef Wellington served with dauphinois potato and our own garden vegetables. There were meant to be leftovers for lunch the next day, but somehow or other our greedy guests devoured every last mouthful of the beef, amazingly leaving some room for their tangy, lemon posset.
Of course for aperitifs we had to indulge in flavour of the month, Salcombe Gin. There’s definitely a buzz in the South Hams’ air as everyone samples the new distillery’s creation. We served it with tons of ice, lemon and tonic and we were told by the guys running the company that we should try it with pink grapefruit too. The gin tastes light and refreshing and is exceptionally good drunk on a warm evening, overlooking the Salcombe Estuary.
Claire’s Kitchen cooked up a feast another night with much of the food being produced on Claire’s own farm a few miles up the road. The sea bream and Muscovy duck with red wine and sour cherry were so enjoyed by the happy diners that they applauded the chef at the end of the meal.
Wild Artichokes is a newer duo who ‘pop up’ at local events or on special nights prepare generous meze meals from their warehouse kitchen down a back alley in Kingsbridge. Jane and Sam also do outside catering and our guests were overwhelmed by the southern Italian banquet that they served us at The Moult. Thank goodness our dining table is huge as the generous dishes kept coming. Highlights were the truffle arancini which melted in the mouth and the crab and chilli bruschetta were divine. If only I could have captured the smell of the fish bourride with aioli, rouille and croutons, a dish which will stay in the memory for years to come. Their hot raspberry clafoutis and baked custard with blackcurrants were heavenly. This was an accomplished meal, prepared by two celebrated chefs.
You will be pleased to hear that we didn’t just eat the entire month away. We swam in the pool, picked vegetables, walked, played on the beach, shopped, zipped round the water on boats, surfed in Bantham and then returned to the calm of The Moult, to eat some more!
Dartmouth Fine Foods come from a little further away, but hopefully this won’t be seen as ethically wrong, as Dartmouth is really only a few bays away. Serin Aubrey dropped off Moroccan chicken and vegetable tagines and complimentary dishes for one delicious evening meal. On another night he took over the kitchen and prepared a mouth-watering vichyssoise followed by Devon lamb for some and local line-caught sea bass for others. I really shouldn’t mention the tarte tartin that followed as it was supremely wicked. There was little time to savour our meal on this occasion as we raced outside to view the Salcombe Regatta fireworks from the garden back to the house in time for coffee and digestifs.
As you have read, over the month of August we had some amazingly tasty treats cooked by some extremely accomplished chefs. It makes you realise that we have a great pool of local talent and also makes you realise how lucky we are to have such fabulous, quality ingredients on our doorstep.
I think that after all this indulgence, September will have to be a month of light vegetable broth made, of course from our own garden vegetables!