Raymond Blanc (pictured) is famously full of joie de vivre, and this autumn the two-Michelin-starred chef will still be smiling, as he has an event to celebrate: it’s the 21st year of Le Festival aux Quat’Saisons. The annual spectacular combines wonderful music with Blanc’s fêted cuisine at his idyllic Oxfordshire hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and Elaine Paige are the world-renowned artists who will sing – on the nights of October 4, 5 and 6 respectively – in the beautiful 12th-century St Mary’s Church. The church is a close neighbour of Le Manoir, so after a Laurent-Perrier champagne and canapé reception at the hotel, it’s just a short, torch-lit walk to the performance. The soirée continues with a five-course dinner created by Blanc, Gary Jones and Benoit Blin, and accompanied by some of Blanc’s favourite wines. Mingling is in order – and there should be plenty to appreciate and chat about – as guests will be seated together at large tables.
This is a black-tie event with seriously classy credentials. If you can, stay at the hotel afterwards (note: sadly, the £450 ticket price does not include a stayover in the superbly luxurious rooms and suites, which are often fully booked). If you can’t stay at Le Manoir on the night of your choosing, make sure you book a driver – and a return visit. You’re bound to want one.