May feasts ("Maifeste") are held all over Germany to celebrate the arrival of spring. An old tradition calls for a decorated May pole to be put up on the eve of 1st May as part of a procession with lots of dancing and music and of course, food & drink. May poles are then closely guarded to avoid another common practice: stealing May poles the following night! If successful, this may become very costly for the village as a ransom in the form of beer & food has to be paid to the thieves!
For our May Feast themed supper club we served a menu celebrating seasonal and foraged ingredients, starting with a traditional May punch, a drink of sweet woodruff-infused white wine mixed with sparkling wine. The non-alcoholic version of woodruff-infused apple juice with sparkling water was just as refreshing and delicious. Seasonal canapes included Yorkshire radishes coated with radish-leave butter, poppyseed & parmesan puffpastry sticks, home-baked bread with wild-garlic flower butter and for the carnivores, crispy pig's ears - courtesy of Moss Valley meats with rhubarb chutney. Drink and canapes played their magic and got our 7 guests chatting and laughing immediately so that we soon moved over to the dining table for the 4-course meal.
A white asparagus soup drizzled with wild garlic oil and served with potted brown shrimps and rye crisps was served as the first course. Though very popular on the continent, sourcing white asparagus in the UK was a challenge, but once again, Beanies wholefoods saved the feast! The soup was followed by a trout terrine with apple-horseradish cream and a rocket and wild pink purslane salad. The trout was home-caught and cured and made into a terrine, which was wrapped in leek leaves. For the main course, we decided to serve poultry as one of our diners doesn't eat red meat, and took on the challenge to serve turkey the German way. The leg was brined, de-boned and stuffed with a chicken liver parfait with prunes and walnuts before being slowly braised in turkey stock. It was served with home-made sauerkraut, bacon, wild-herb bread dumplings and lots of gravy. After the main course, it was time for a rest allowing us to sit down with our guests for a chat before preparing our colourful dessert, which championed this supper's Ark of Taste forgotten food product: Goosnargh Cakes. These forgotten cakes are made after an old recipe from Lancashire and were traditionally served at Pentecost, which fitted nicely with our May theme. The biscuits flavoured with caraway seeds were accompanied with a strawberry jelly, dandelion ice-cream (find the recipe here), strawberry puree, cream, mint and dandelion-honey. We loved seeing the clear plates coming back into the kitchen and were happy to make coffee and tea for our guests. A final treat of poppyseed-meringues and for a bit of fun, iced lollies of rhubarb sorbet dipped in milk chocolate rounded off a fantastic evening. We thoroughly enjoyed our second supper club and are immensely grateful for the amazing and very thoughtful feedback that we received.