• The Harborough Room


On the eve of Melton Mowbray’s hosting of the East Midlands Food and Drink festival, lovers of fine food and wine gathered at the Stapleford Park country house hotel for a Taste of the East Midlands Gourmet Night to showcase some of the region’s produce.


Before the dinner in the hotel’s Harborough room, guests were welcomed with Champagne and canapés as they waited to take their seats for the five courses, each of which was accompanied by a wine specially selected to complement that particular dish.


Between some of the courses, Melton Borough Councillor and chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association Matthew O’Callaghan regaled guests with stories of how the region had become famous for its foods like Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray Pork Pie.


Dinner got under way with a local beetroot carpaccio and Colston Bassett mousse, accompanied by a light, fresh wine Eden Valley, Riesling, The Saviours. Next came a Lincolnshire cauliflower puree with seared scallops and baby capers teamed with a Bourgogne, Domaine Raymond Dupont-Fahn.


Leicestershire aged beef fillet with savoy cabbage and parsnip puree formed the main course, washed down with a delicious red, Saint Joseph The Offerus, J.L. Chave.


A feather light local blackberry soufflé followed, accompanied by an MR Moscatel, Telmo Rodriguez, Malaga. Carrots were at the heart of the final sweet course with Fenland carrot cake and cream cheese carrots teamed with an Elysium Black Muscat, Andrew Quady, California. Both wines has just enough sweetness to balance the dish that they accompanied.


Coffee and petit fours concluded the evening, during which Mr O’Callaghan also revealed the area’s links with the creation of the tradition of afternoon tea – said to have been started by a visiting aristocrat to Belvoir Castle – and the fact that the Melton area has historically been an important crossroads in the nation’s food, as well as having the third oldest weekly market in the country.


He also revealed how traditional pies and puddings had developed over the centuries, including “umble pie”, which was apparently filled with the offal from deer. While the masters of the house dined on venison, the servants had to make do with the entrails or ‘umbles’ which went to make up “umble pie”.


Stapleford Park holds regular gourmet evenings throughout the year. For more information call 01572 787000.



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