Journey back in time and discover the provenance, recipes and stories behind the traditional Christmas pudding at The School of Artisan Food this Christmas.
The School, set in the beautiful historic Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire, is serving up a host of traditional and contemporary Christmas courses throughout November and December.
To get the home cook’s festive preparations underway, The School has invited food historian Ivan Day to give a special Stir Up Sunday festive demonstration and tasting class, on Sunday 25 November, 2pm-5pm (booking required, priced £35).
Stir Up Sunday is a tradition that dates back to Victorian times when the family would gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas. The pudding would traditionally contain 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples and is traditionally stirred by each member of the family from East to West, to remember the Wise Men that visited Jesus in the Nativity Story.
Ivan will share the fascinating and remarkable history of the iconic British Christmas Pudding, as he produces a selection of plumb puddings dating back hundreds of years including a 15th century frumenty, a sweet Christmas haggis known as hackin as well as the intriguingly named Empire Christmas Pudding. To accompany each of the puddings, Ivan will showcase a mouth-watering range of historical sauces. Each pudding will be available to taste.
Julie Byrne, The School of Artisan Food, said: “Sharing great food is such an important part of Christmas and is a time when many of us enjoy going the extra mile to entertain family and friends. It’s fascinating to travel back to Victorian times to discover the origins of many festive traditions that have endured. Why not introduce some traditions into your own preparations this year?”
If uncovering the secrets of the Christmas pudding whets your appetite, there is a Christmas Collection at the School to enjoy with everything from demonstrations and tastings to one day courses.
Courses also explore an Italian Christmas, Continental Baking, festive French patisserie and German-inspired stollen to bring a flavour of Europe to any festive feast.
Festive Chocolate & Confectionery on 2 December is a hands on day where you will master the art of producing artisan sweet treats, perfect to share with family and friends over the festive season.
Resident cheese expert Katy Fenwick will be sharing her wisdom in an evening session on how to put together a delicious cheese board for Christmas exploring drink pairings, accompaniments and traditions. Festive Cheese Board on 5 December runs from 5pm to 7.30pm and will provide an insight into the stories behind the cheeses, how and when we eat them, and a chance to taste a festive selection of cheeses.
Christmas is the perfect time to pull out the preserving pans and create delicious homemade marmalades, chutneys and relishes as gifts for friends and family. Christmas Preserves on 13 December is the chance to try out creative recipes that capture and enhance the flavours of winter from spiced pear mincemeat and spiced cranberry and orange relish to three fruit marmalade and Venetian eggnog. Delicious Magazine gave the course a thumbs up in its Test Report (see Nov issue) and said it ‘would make a great Christmas present too (no skill level required).’
Seeking inspiration for home entertaining? Forget shop-bought canapés and the usual cocktails this Christmas. Explore exciting Italian-inspired appetisers and drinks with celebrated author and chef Lindy Wildsmith on Christmas Canapés & Cocktails on 14 December.
All the courses take place in the tranquil surroundings of the historic Welbeck Estate, in purpose built kitchens and demonstration theatre, led by the School’s food experts.
For more information, visit www.schoolofartisanfood.org/categories/christmas-collection