[Editor's Note: photos courtesy of Jason Rosa; bangers and mash photo courtesy of Britny Fowler]
Highbridge is an event known for its daytime education (fun, IC classes taught by PCs to PCs) and for its immense feast. In the past, Rhiannon set a table of devastatingly good food. This year, Melissa managed to fill those shoes (and bellies) in an amazing fashion. While this was my first Highbridge, I was stunned at how tasty the food was. While I do not claim to be a gourmand of any sort, I do love food. Of course there were a few glitches, but these are unavoidable when serving such a massive amount of food pre plated. Many dishes came out cool, but still incredibly tasty. Each course had a MADE FROM SCRATCH bread to go with it. What?!?! No, seriously. I could have been thrilled with the breads alone. But why stop there?
The first course was the "salad course" Out came these delightful little plates with baby spinach, dots of balsamic, a pecan half, and topped with a goat cheese filled raspberry. It looked like a little bloom,
This lead to a fun IC interaction between Atticus/Tam Lin (the host) and Aymise having a fun argument about portion size. She rectified the situation with a different salad:Below is a picture of the "salad course". Bangers and mash with proper brown gravy, served with a side of peas with mint.
After the "salad" course was a soup course. creamy and smooth potato and leek soup was simple but elegant. Its hard to get the flavor balance right for this soup, it can easily be bland, or too oniony, but this was just luscious. It was served with home made rosemary focaccia that was crispy and chewy.
While some people might have seen this as a strange detour from the traditional English fare we had been feasting on, the chicken curry is, in fact, a very very common dish at English dinner tables. This
At this point, we were starting to feel the effects of 3 full meals served (each course was a meal unto itself, by design) Many plates were going back tot he kitchen with a lot of food still on them. Sadly, mine was included. To mangle a song quote: The spirt it willing, but the flesh is getting full.
For those who had the professor package, a croquembouche of profiteroles filled with cream and drizzled with chocolate could be had. Again, very well executed, pretty to look at, and just as
This was the knock out course for me. 1- after this, I couldn't eat any more. 2- I am sure the nothing could top this course, it blew me away.
I ordered the beef, and was shocked at the rare roast beef with roasted veggies, asparagus, and
The trio of desserts (each full sized) included sticky toffee pudding, treacle tarts, and banofee cupcakes.
To round out the meal, tea was served. Not just the beverage, mind you. No, proper English (low) tea. Scones, sandwiches, and other snacks. Which no one had the room for. A shame, it all looks lovely.
In sum, this feast was fantastic. Easily one of, if not THE, best feasts I have been to. The flavors were all perfectly balanced, the theme was clear and adhered to. The only negatives were minor: cold food, and an upsetting amount of wasted food due to portion size. While I understand the point is to have an overwhelming amount of food, it was kind of heartbreaking to see so much of the delicious food sent back to the kitchen, then to the trash. Half portions of the servings would still be a meal unto themselves, and would allow folks to enjoy (most) of each course.
This feast is absolutely worth the drive and the price. I ate better here than I would at most restaurants.
All in all, I know I will be trying my damnedest to hit this feast next year.