In recent years there has been a tide of ethical consuming – that is to say, knowing where one’s food comes from and that it has been sourced in the most sound way. For epicureans who want to dine with a full sense of traceability, but without having to go back to basics completely in terms of comfort, the Huntsham Court Feast Project offers the perfect balance. Set in the elegant surrounds of the Victorian gothic stately home (first picture) in Devon, the one-day/two-night courses (from £900), launching in the autumn, give guests a chance to hunt, shoot, forage and fish for their dinner, before it is turned into a gourmet feast by a team of talented chefs.
Accommodating up to 30 inquisitive gourmands, the adventure begins with a briefing at breakfast, before teams are led across the Exe Valley by an assortment of fishing, foraging and clay-shooting experts. Teamwork, being taken out of one’s comfort zone and reconnecting with the land are paramount to the experience. Once the bounty has been caught and prepared – some can even try their hand at butchery – the chefs will dream up a menu to be served in the grand dining room (second picture). This will follow drinks in the inviting reception rooms (third picture) surrounded by crackling fires and stags’ heads.
The focus is not merely gastronomical – The Feast Project co-founder Lynn Blades trained as a life coach and feels the event is an important way of reconnecting with our roots: “We simply don’t take enough time to live in the moment. So much of our time is spent with our heads down, looking at computers, phones and readers that we’re losing touch with our core instincts. I wanted to do something that would bring us back to basics, teach people about the power of being at the source of life, and work together to create something everyone can appreciate. That’s what The Feast Project is all about – going back to nature, fishing, butchering, shooting and foraging for your food, then sharing it together as a collective with big ideas and stimulating conversation.”
The course also taps into a trend for knowing the origin of what is on our plate: “It is no coincidence that millennials are migrating towards a more authentic style of eating – whether it is foraging or insisting on ingredients from sustainable sources,” says co-founder Mari Carras. “They are a ‘connected’ generation to a certain degree, but also a bit more interpersonally disconnected. Now that we have access to knowing everything about everything, and as horror stories come out about how animals or fish or vegetables are produced, I believe we – consumers – naturally demand the best products available.”