When you think of autumn, mulled cider, hearty food, and wooden interior details that are oh so hygge come to mind. All of which were at the latest The Literary Hour experience! You might have read my last post about this incredible supper club, which is the brain-child of five students with a shared love of food and entertaining. Last week they were back in action with a new autumnal adventure inspired by the book Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee. Now I'll admit, I had never even heard of this book, but I saw the word cider, I saw The Literary Hour, and I thought that this would be yet another night of delicious treats - and I was right.
The Literary Hour experience begins as soon as you walk through the door - the front door of the very house the hosts live in, of course. Seated along a long wooden table are twenty or so other guests, friends, strangers and couples. Once Elliot and I had found our apple place names, 'Molly' & 'Molly's Pal' (you can tell who wears the pants in this relationship), a hot steaming teacup of Golden Fire Punch was presented to us, the perfect medicine on a cold and rainy October evening! I learnt from my first supper club experience that it is blasphemy to only talk to the person you came with, and so once we'd gulped down a bit of liquid confidence Elliot and I introduced ourselves to our neighbouring guests. And the conversation flowed from then on!
Each course is inspired by a verse from the book, Cider with Rosie, which is read before each dish is served. For our starter, we were presented with a rustic log tray covered in Apple and Beetroot Gyoza with a cider vinegar dipping sauce. It was also served with a lid that trapped what I believe is called an 'air', if my many years of Masterchef have taught me anything!
Following our gyoza, we were served mussels in a creamy cider sauce with tempura samphire. Yum-my. I didn't like mussels until that very moment, and I fear that I will never taste mussels that delicious again! Already suitably stuffed, the main course was pork cheek, a ham hock bon bon and apple compote. Last time I was at The Literary Hour I ate rabbit and crickets, so pork cheek seemed pretty tame to me - but the simplicity of the ingredients was totally made up for by the flavours. If there was ever the perfect Autumn dinner, this was it.
Back to the crickets... There is always a 'surprise course' at these evenings - just another reason to book a seat at the table - and this time it was not designed to be eaten. Passed around the table was a book-that-was-not-a-book, but instead it contained a little tin of snuff for each of us to try (for those who, like me, have no bloody idea what this is, it is ground tobacco that is often mixed with a flavouring, which in this instance was menthol). And eager to accommodate their guests as always, there was a tobacco-free mint version being passed around the table as well. Safe to say we were all buzzing for the next course...
Snuff sniffed and washed down with an aperitif, it was onto cider cake and toffee apple for dessert. I really can't emphasise how incredibly high the standard of cooking is, considering it is entirely home-cooked! And finally, the way that all the best meals end: with a cheese board.
(Can you guess what the next theme is?) Great company, spectacular food and free-flowing wine made this The Literary Hour another unforgettable experience. If, like me, you want to surprise your other half with something a little different, or you just fancy home-cooked food in the comfort of someone else's home, then book yourself a seat at the next The Literary Hour now!
Thank you to The Literary Hour for, yet again, being the most incredible hosts. See you in Narnia!