A handsome hamper at Hever Castle with Mattdenweirberg

Perusing the blog of late you could be easily forgiven for thinking I’ve been swanning around drinking lots of nice things and eating in the sunshine. The thing is, I have been doing that quite a bit but I’ve also been working hard too.

One particular day from the last few months that definitely involved posh food, plonk and actually a few swans too, was the big Mattdenweirberg reunion fun day at Hever Castle, Kent. Mattdenweirberg is the collective nickname (and watsapp group) for some of the lovely friends I made in my old job. Weir (also known as Katherine) moved to Kent a few months ago, so pining for her and feeling brave we made the big trip down to Kent for a visit a few weeks ago. Feeling the pressure to entertain, Katherine took us on a whirlwind tour of the garden of England and Hever Castle played an important part, not least because it was the venue for possibly the best picnic of my life!

A little while ago I received an email asking if I’d like to sample a hamper and it was this hamper – stocked with champagne and luxury breakfast goodies no less, which formed the basis of our picnic. We started out with a breakfast hamper from hampergifts.co.uk, the basket itself was beautiful, so I’ll be reusing it come Christmas when I start my homemade present factory for family and friends! It usually costs £57.99, so we were feeling very lucky to be sampling it in such a fantastic setting. We chose a spot next to the lake to enjoy our brunch and the view was pretty special…the lake

I was a particular fan of all the lovely condiments in the hamper – from acacia honey and wholegrain mustard with spitfire ale through to the award-winning three fruit marmalade (the rest of which is destined for a sponge pudding) each one was of a really good quality and flavour and there were chunks and lumps in all the right places. We’d purchased a few little extras to go with the hamper – namely some olive bread, croissants, chorizo, brie and butter.

We settled down and popped the cork on the bubbly (which was a different brand to the usual featured in the hamper but actually my favourite champagne to date) and started spooning generous lumps of butter and strawberry jam onto the croissants. Generous partially through greed and the good portions the hamper (meant for two) contained and partly because we were armed only with a bread knife and it’s hard to spread things with a bread knife! Our second course (of many) was Edinburgh Preserves Wild Boar Pâté, which was rich and meaty and worked beautifully with the wholegrain mustard on our olive bread. Here’s how everything looked on the day!

Thanks to Beth (Den) for sharing her photos with me!

The hampergifts folks select a lot of award-winners for their baskets and it showed, we were impressed with the selection. The only things we weren’t so keen on where the cakes, which didn’t match up to the excellent quality of the rest of the goodies but it’s possible we were unlucky. I do send some of my clients hampers at Christmas time and think the British themed hampers they have might work their way into the present list as I like to support Great British Food where I can. Speaking of which, it’s British Food fortnight next week, are you doing anything special to celebrate? I’ll be paying extra visits to my favourite butchers and putting the leftover marmalade to use in a sponge pudding, because autumn is all about comfort food, right?

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