It’s not everyday that you get invited to the inaugural ‘Grand Blogger Dinner’ in London hosted by Alwin, CEO and co-founder of the creative agency @mrgoodiebag, which is based in the Netherlands in fact. The company has been hosting similar decadent dinners across other European cities and their most recent launch was in London at the stunning ‘Renaissance Hotel St Pancras’.
Forty food bloggers were invited to attend the sumptuous dinner that a select group of food brands had helped to inspire a different course. The proceedings started however with drinks and canapés, by what has to be one of the most incredible staircases in London. I discovered the Spice Girls used it in their ‘Wannabe’ single. It is also the staircase that was part of the original Midland Grand Hotel, designed by George Gilbert Scott, which opened in 1873. Amusingly it was made extra wide to allow ladies to pass each other with their wide bustle dresses. Can you imagine?
Peter’s Yard, a brand I was already familiar with, as I adore their sourdough crisp bread, inspired all the canapés. The smoked salmon, sour cream, salmon caviar, edible flower and leek ash were particularly standout. These were accompanied with deliciously light and fresh sparkling wine by Familia Torres Wines.
Photographs by @annekejagerphotography
It gave us all the opportunity to get to know fellow invitees before Alwin, our host for the night, welcomed us and spoke about the various brands that we were going to come across over the course of the evening.
After our meet and greet we were then ushered into the most magnificent room that was to host the dinner itself.
Pretty spectacular hey? I loved the floral arrangements and then discovered they were fakes – but rather brilliant ones don’t you think? They were made by @casashops
Photograph by @annekejagerphotography
The menu was included in a little booklet which outlined which brand was supporting the course.
- trio of canapés with sourdough crisp bread by Peter’s Yard @petersyard
- red shrimp crudo on orange and strawberry panzanella with aceto balsamic di modena’ by Ponti @pontiofficial
- pearl barley ristotto, laverstoke burrata, fresh English peas, pea tendrils, lemon, ramson flowers @stpancrasren
- watermelon granita with natural goats milk yogurt @sthelensfarm
- galletto all’arrabbiata with delicious anchovy fillets in olive oil and peppers @delicius_official
- authentic Italian artisan gelato @remeogelato
Quite a feast don’t you agree?
Photograph by @annekejagerphotography
Each course was paired with a different wine and we were given a brief introduction to each one. Standouts for me were:
Purgatori 2014 Costers Del Segre
Vina Esmeralda 2018
The evening went by really quickly – always a sign of a good evening. It was great to get to know others who are equally passionate about food and were happy to photograph it at length without any ‘oh hurry up’ or sarcastic remarks from our other halves.
Above is me pictured with (from left to right) @anders_kitchen @kokkiecooking @eathappyfeelgood @emmaeatsandexplores and @endofthefork Do check out there feeds and blogs – all so inspiring and creative.
After a quick round of photos we were handed the most incredible goodie bags – I’m surprised I managed to carry it all home – and said our farewells and thank yous before heading off into the night.
Back at home I decided to make the watermelon granita again for the family. It’s perfect when you have a super hot day and need cooling down. Here are my efforts:
It’s absolutely delicious and easy to make ahead of time. The only part you need to do last minute is the blitzing of the iced watermelon in the blender.
Check out the recipe below and give it a whirl this summer
Watermelon Granita with Natural Goats’ Milk Yogurt
recipe created by St Helen’s Farm for the Grand Blogger Dinner 2019
1 small watermelon (approx 1.8kg)
60g stem ginger in syrup
1/2 bunch of fresh mint (approx 15g)
8 tbsp St Helen’s Farm Natural Goats’ Milk Yogurt
- First prepare the watermelon by removing the rind and chopping into small chunks and removing the seeds.
- Roughly chop the ginger and place in a large sealable freezer bag with the watermelon chunks.
- Finely grate in the lime zest, juice and then freeze for at least 8 hours (I froze mine for a few days as I wanted to have it ready for a hot day)
- When ready to serve, pick and reserve the baby mint leaves then put the rest into the food processor along with the contents of the freezer bag. You may need to do this is batches so that it is properly blitzed.
- Serve 2 heaped tablespoons of the ‘pink snow’ granita per person with 1 tbsp of goats’ yogurt, a drizzle of ginger syrup from the jar and a few baby mint leaves.
I was kindly invited to this event. All views and opinions are my own.