Good afternoon everyone,
Don't worry, this email is not going to detail Hugo's previous career as an actor. Rather, we wanted to talk about an aspect of the hospitality industry which we really value, a different kind of stage. A couple of emails back Kate mentioned her month spent at a bakery in North Carolina. This kind of unpaid, informal work experience, or staging, is common amongst professional bakers and chefs as a way of gaining inspiration, learning new skills and exchanging ideas. In the early days, Kate would combine visiting family in Stockholm with spending time at the city's best bakeries. These times heavily influenced the style of bread she wanted to make and led to the development of the Stockholm loaf back in London. In the last few years, staging has mainly been a way of catching up with baking friends, for example at Pekarna Praktika in Prague or last summer visiting Coombeshead Farm, Landrace and Small Food. Even on our long weekend in Glasgow at Easter, she snuck in a day with Sam and Anna at Two Eight Seven. There's something about shaping dough together which induces good conversation and strengthens bonds. And you always, always learn something to bring home. At Hamblin, we've welcomed bakers from across the country and beyond. Just this week we had a talented baker over from Bread 41 in Dublin specifically to learn about working with stoneground flour.
This coming week, we have superstar pastry chef Anna Higham, formerly of Lyle's, Flor and River Cafe joining us. Anna has just published The Last Bite, a book of recipes which puts seasonal fruit front and centre. The bakery copy is already well-thumbed, particularly the rice pudding page...She will be there, Sharpie poised, if anybody wants to bring a copy for the author to sign. We are beyond excited that Anna will be taking over the ice cream sandwiches for the week, which are going to consist of hazelnut sponge, strawberry parfait, and Higham magic. It's not everyday a world-class dessert-smith rocks up in town, so definitely consider a preorder. Read on for cheese and wine recommendations.
Our very best wishes to all you players,
Kate and Hugo
Cheese of the week: Stonebeck Wensleydale is a true labour of love born out of the passion of Andrew and Sally Hatton to create a traditional, authentic Wensleydale. They keep their own tiny herd of native Northern Dairy Shorthorn Cattle and only make the cheese in the warmer months when the cows are feeding exclusively on the divererse pasture of grasses, wildflowers and herbs that abound on their property in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. Every part of the cheesemaking process is done by hand and the attention to detail even extends to wrapping the cheeses in locally made, undied calico. The result is a gentle, mellow cheese with extraordinary complexity and long, layered flavours.
Wine of the week: Domaine Bohn 'Coup de Jus'. The Bohn family have been vigneron in Reichsfeld, Alsace, for over three centuries, handing over prime terroirs and passing down savoir-faire from generation to generation. Nowadays Bernard and Arthur – father and son – look after their heritage with biodiversity and wildlife conservation as core values. Coup de Jus is typical of their pioneering approach - a short infusion (few days) of whole bunches of pinot noir into blended juices of pinot gris and riesling. This technique delivers vibrant and fruit-forward aromatics and a lightly coloured, electrifying wine that can prove addictive (beware!). No added sulphur, naturally.