The 24th of June 2016 was a memorable day. The EU Referendum result which is proving to be an historical political shake up and on a lesser note, I set off to London for a family wedding.
The wedding was held in a beautiful old church steeped in Tudor history. I took my rather less-abled Mum and my son who proved to be fantastically attentive to both his Mother and more importantly his Grandmother. Yes, it was one of those precious days where you swell with pride and with love and it makes all the anxiety of life’s struggles worthwhile.
It was a cousin’s second marriage, there is a story, and one where tragedy has been endured but testament that love can and does blossom to reignite faith and hope for a better future. But it is their story, so not mine to tell.
To experience a day full of love and unification on a day when there was despair at the reality of how divided our communities, our country and indeed Europe is, was nothing less than a perfectly timed tonic. Politics, for a few hours was pushed to one side and it was a truly welcomed relief.
It was a large and excellently planned wedding. The attention to detail was outstanding. Well chosen words were delivered with compassion, the choral music performed beautifully, and the vows taken, each component made me for one, feel part of a very special and memorable occasion.
As we were ushered out of the church and into the courtyard and under a canopy, adorned with richly coloured flowers and ivy leaves. With the grandest of church halls opposite we were met with a champagne reception like no other I have experienced.
This is not to say that other weddings are any less special or beautiful or meaningful but because this was all about a moment of unification, between families who do not see each other often enough and about a marriage. All highlighted by the political backdrop.
The glorious champagne reception with indulgent canapés that seemingly had no end.
Tempura batter that coated the prawns was the lightest I have ever tasted, served with teriyaki sauce with the perfect depth of flavour and salty acidity to cut through the batter.
Little crostini, that were not much bigger than my thumbnail, that would have been individually sliced to be consistently the same size. Baked and each one would have been individually turned half way through the cooking process. Such time was taken. They were topped with creamed feta, basil and sun dried tomatoes or Parmesan, capers and Parma ham. Both were the perfect hit of intense flavour all loaded onto the smallest of crostini.
Miniature tartlets filled with mushrooms, herbs and goats cheese, tiny little minted lamb meatballs – each one would have been individually rolled – and boiled quails eggs, each one painstakingly peeled, served with an array of different flavoured salts.
So simple. So beautiful. So delicious.
Working as a chef makes you truly appreciate the amount of work and effort that goes into organising, preparing and cooking such delicious food that is served as a mouthful and gone in seconds.
The Champagne was vintage and sublime, the wine from Bordeaux and ditto. All of it together at that moment in time with the reunion of family and the unification of a marriage was perfect.
After the speeches and toasts, a table of cheese adorned with fruits, breads, crackers and in amongst other things a Comte to die for.
The table looked like a Renaissance painting, stunning and richly coloured.
Outside was a seafood table. Two men furiously opening oysters and laying them on ice beside a crab salad being served on radicchio leaves and large, marinated tiger prawns skewered and served on slate.
Overwhelming. Stunning. Delicious.
If love is about communication and food is a conversation, then this day married these two beliefs perfectly.
To the left of the seafood table was a vodka shot bar. The rest as they say is history, mine to cherish, theirs to make.