by Dee Bodle
I must say that you are in for a treat if you decide to join us for the ‘Iconic Britain Christmas Ball’ this year. Just to remind you, it will be held at the NH Barbizon Palace Hotel in Amsterdam on Saturday 12th December 2015.
When asked to help organise the ball, I never imagined I would be invited to a tasting at the Barbizon Palace to sample what was going to be served on the night. It was a real treat for lead organiser Jane Walmsley and myself.
Jane wanted the food to go along with the theme of Iconic Britain. Michelin star chef Chris Naylor did not disappoint. He took some of the classic things that we all remember, and put his own twist on them. We were expecting to be given a small sample of the food at the tasting, but we were in for a wonderful treat. What we were served blew us both away.
When we arrived, we were whisked off to the kitchen by Nienke. She introduced us to Dave, who will be overseeing the Ball. Nienke joined our table for three, and of course we opened with a glass of Carver. I was really pleased that I’d travelled by train!!
The amuse ‘Cheese fondue with vegetable hedgehogs’ came first. My recollection of a fondue (I can only just remember as I’m not that old) was nothing like this. It was was out of this world. I must admit, I didn’t leave any behind. I ate every vegetable, and used the bread to savour every drop. The taste made we want more…
Well… more of this delicious food was to come. We sampled the white and the red wine. Although I’m a red wine drinker myself, the white was very nice. Jane agreed that fully chilled white wine would go down a treat.
When I was a child, we always began with a classic starter. This time it was with a twist: Shrimp cocktail with avocado, lemon and curry salad cream. From start to finish, it surprised with every mouth full. Naturally, it was served in an iconic way. The main course was… Chris had worked his magic again. I’d certainly never had Venison Kiev before with Stilton and bacon, honey ginger carrots, and duchesse potatoes. My memory of a ‘Kiev’ was nothing like this. It was so mouth watering and tasty, we turned to each other and said “ummmmmmm”.
Before dessert arrived, I was reminiscing about when I was a child and the desserts that my mum used to conjure up. A regular treat was ‘hole in the middle’. I remember my brother and I eating everything up! It was not until we grew older that we realised that the ‘hole in the middle’ was because the cake had sunk when it came out of the oven, and my mum made the most of it.
Well the dessert from Chris did not disappoint. He came up with a ‘Chocolate pineapple upside down pudding with lime yoghurt sorbet’. The presentation was really classic, and the lime yogurt sorbet blended the tastes beautifully. If my brother had been there, he would take the pineapple off the top (as it was a new thing for us back then), and eat the chocolate bit. He would have missed the best bit, however, as the combinations of everything together were delicious. I’ve never had a desert like it before.
Coffee. We could have just had a cup. No. When Chris mentioned that he was going to also serve a midnight snack, we thought we would wait for the infused tea with bacon and egg sandwiches. As it was getting late, I only intended to have a little portion of this old British classic. I’m not exactly sure what he does with his ingredients, but it’s not as I know it. Although there will be HP sauce on the night, I really enjoyed the taste without it. And managed more than a mouthful!!
Well, now you know that the food will be delicious for the Iconic Britain Christmas Ball. Thanks to word of mouth, several tables of ten are already reserved. People are really excited that the ball is happening again this year. Tickets go on sale on the Britsoc Shop website on the 15th September. So make sure you take a look, and get your place reserved.