Monday, 10 May 2010

A Taste of Honey

I wouldn't normally attend work related things at the weekend, but the chance to learn about and taste gorgeous honey was too tempting to resist! So after a quick training session on the river, I scurried down along the Thames in the pouring rain, to Petersham Nurseries.
Now this is a place I would not normally rush too either, despite it being a beautiful location and despite the fact that the food is pretty good. My main problem with it is the outrageous prices, mainly I assume because it is the wonderful
borough of Richmond (who now have a millionaire MP which just says it all!), so they feel justified in charging rather over-flated prices to sit and have lunch in a greenhouse!
Anyway, back to the purpose of my visit, which was to attend a Guild of Food Writers talk, which are always very informative, and this one was certainly no exception.
We started with a brief talk by Skye Gyngell, who is the chef at Petersham, and who is very passionate about combining natural flavours of foods together, which she did brilliantly in serving a plate of cheeses matched with subtle cheeses - Creamy St Tola goats cheese with rhodedendron honey, and toma (Piedmont) cheese with herb honey - the combinations were divine. To finish we were served vanilla ice cream with chestnut honey and turron....despite it being a cold and rainy day I couldn't resist eating the bowl clean!
After that we were given a great talk by Hattie Ellis, who appears to have spend a large amount of her life travelling the world to learn about honey and bees. It certainly was not time wasted as she made everything sound such fun and so interesting. I have always wanted to keep bees and she made it seem such an easy thing to do, especially as she mentioned that local bee keepers may even be happy to 'borrow' your garden for one of their hives - thus giving you the pleasure of sharing them and sampling their honey, but none of the work!! And a great chance to learn more about it before you take the plunge and get your own colony. One great thing I did learn was that bees are banned in New York, in that you are not allowed to keep them there. But....there is an overground underground of bee keepers who keep them on their roof! Only in America!
My stroll back home after all that sweetness was made even sweeter by the discovery of Greedies on the river. Greedies is a cafe in Isleworth that is frequented by myself and a large number of rowers who need a good breakfast or brunch after a heavy morning's training. Over the years we had explored a number of local workman's caffs, where you can get a good fry-up and sit and recover from the mornings exercise in a nice surrounding. We were never quite satisfied until I came upon Greedies. They do one of the best breakfasts in West London - and not only a World Cup fry-up either. If you want something a little more up-market there is eggs benedict or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, along with lots of other goodies. For a Sunday brunch with the morning papers it takes a lot of beating.

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