Beaufort Festival of Polo: Summer Menu
All Chukkas away this Summer for Fosters, what better way to quench thirsts than with Elderflower sparkling wine, an easy recipe for a delightful summer tipple.
English gardens are at their very best in June; the peas are burgeoning, the elderflower is blossoming, asparagus is growing thick and English raspberries are hanging heavy on their stems. We certainly made the most of the mid-summer harvest at the 2015 Beaufort Festival of Polo in June. The festival brings together world-class polo, family entertainment and of course; our fine dining feast, featuring plenty of local and seasonal ingredients. This year, there was an extra special royal treat: Harry and Will took part in the tournament, with Kate and baby George cheering them on from the sidelines.
Serving fine dining cuisine from a temporary field kitchen is just the kind of challenge we love. We served 400 covers in the marquee over two days, with seasonal dishes like pork with apple and elderflower puree and asparagus; mushroom and parmesan pastry tart with truffle, butternut puree and tagliatelle vegetables and Heywood Farm chicken breast with lemon thyme cream sauce, Dorset Down chestnut mushrooms, poached asparagus and new potatoes in truffle butter. And, finishing off on a high note, our espresso brulee with almond praline ice-cream and English raspberries.
If our menu has your mouth watering, then we have just the thing. Here’s a great way of using one of June’s loveliest ingredients – elderflower. Pick some young sprays and turn them into gorgeous fizzy champagne bursting with summer flavour.
* 4 litres of hot water
* 700g caster sugar
* Juice and zest of four lemons
* 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* About 15 elderflower heads in full bloom
* A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this)
• Pick young flower heads, which have not yet started to drop petals or turn brown, and be sure to use them as soon as you’ve picked them to ensure the best taste.
• Mix up the hot water and sugar into a large container, such as a clean bucket, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Top up the mixture with two litres of cold water.
• Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
• Cover with clean muslin and leave to ferment somewhere cool and airy for a couple of days. Check on your brew, and if it’s not becoming foamy and beginning to ferment, add a pinch of yeast.
• Put the muslin back on and leave the mixture to ferment for a further four days.
• And it’s ready to bottle! Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin, and then decant into sterilised screw-top plastic bottles. Lots of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide, so glass bottles are not recommend: these can explode.
• Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for at least a week before serving, chilled. Pour carefully, avoiding any sediment at the bottom. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months when stored in a cool, dry place.