... and so did masses of other people. But while the "Barbarians" headed right towards the Rugby Stadium, beer in one hand, pie in the other, the "Culinarians" took a swift turn to the left to enjoy the, I dare say, more sophisticated pleasures of tapas & antipasti alongside carefully selected matching wines.
For the first time in history, the foodbloggers of Great Britain were meeting up... in the broadest sense, since we were also joined by the only Irish blog I am aware of (Meg of the-blog-stubbornly-known as "Let's eat with Meg and Ted" flew in from Dublin for the occasion) and the only professional wine drinker (or should I say "taster"?) with a blog, Andrew of Spittoon.
I am, of course, aware that there must be more UK foodblogs out there - some were invited, but either couldn't make it or couldn't be bothered, some others we weren't aware of... this is not a closed circle of snobbish food fanatics - if you think you deserve a place at this table, please let me know. We'll be more than happy to welcome you at our next get-together!
Last Saturday's 5-hour get-together in our kitchen conservatory made for merry eating and wine tasting (courtesy of Andrew and some free samples provided by Decanter Wines). Cécile of english patis brought a goats cheese, sundried tomato and pesto terrine and empanadas with a meat-raisin-egg filling reminiscent of her native Philippines, co-host Jeanne of CookSister! supplied a fabulously refreshing zucchini carpaccio with pecorino and some duely garlicky marinated mushrooms and Jenni of Pertelote made a paprika-smokey chickpea salad with tuna and roast peppers - a stunning combination! All this was accompanied by an assortiment of artisanal breads, which Meg of Though small, it's tasty (aka LEwMaT) carefully selected and carried all the way up from Brighton. I had planned to make vitello tonnato, but bed-ridden as I was I could only drag myself out of sick ward for a few hours and only managed to put some caprese on toothpicks (great idea for finger food there) and wrap gorgeous green asparagus stalks (blanched, of course) in parma ham and sprinkle them with parmesan.
Desserts were supplied by Keiko of Nordljus - and oh! what desserts! Gooey and melt-in-the-mouth tiramisu, the best crème brulée I have eaten in years - not too eggy, not too runny, great vanilla taste and and utterly crunchy burnt sugar crust... and if you thought that couldn't be topped, then think again - Keiko's hazelnut mousse au chocolat on a bottom of the fluffiest chocolate sponge cake can only be described as divine!
Loose plans were made for a follow-up meeting, an informal picnic in the hope that more foodbloggers might join us - Jeanne and I are pencelling in the first weekend in July on board of the Thames in Henley. And if nobody turns up, the two of us will have a rather splendid time sipping Pimms (with cucumber? really?) and watching the fittest men in the country walk by in their lycra suits - and for once, the food will have to take a back seat...