Following a continental breakfast, at the Institute of Directors, the majority of the group travelled by coach to Cambridge.  Fellow Gastronome, Bill Brogan, Catering and Conference Manager, was the host for this very memorable luncheon, visit, and afternoon tea, in the glorious surroundings of the 500 year old St John’s College, Cambridge.
The Pol Roger Champagne reception was held in the grounds of the College on the banks of the River Cam and near to the College Bridge of Sighs (bottom left picture above).
The lunch was held in the Hall and the group was honoured to be joined by the Master of the College, Professor Christopher Dobson and his wife Dr Mary Dobson.
First course – East Anglian Carrots
Selection of different varieties from near Ely, served with orange and sea buckthorn granita, pine nut nougatine, and vinaigrette made with sae buckthorn juice, apple vinegar and rapeseed oil and olive oil.
The wine was Sol Lucet, 2013, Yamanashi Japan.  Made using wild yeasts from the Koshu grape, the wine is not oaked and is left on the lees.  This is a delicate wine with notes of citrus and stoned fruits.  The closest European comparison is Muscadet Sur Lie.
Main course – Canon of Suffolk Lamb with a herb, brioche and mustard crust
Wonderfully tender lamb served with a croquette of lamb shoulder, kimchi rosti and sauce Robert.  The dish was completed with Elizabeth potatoes, panache of green summer vegetables and cauliflower Hollandaise.
The accompanying wine was the Astralabe 2009, Chêne Bleu, Ventoux AOC.  Made from a blend of Grenache and Syrah, this wine is classic Rhône; opulent, pure and with great texture.  St John’s was the first place in the UK to stock this wine.
Dessert – Water Pudding
Served with Norfolk raspberries, St John’s honey tuille biscuit and Japanese sea salt ice cream.  Water pudding comes from a recipe from the 1800s and features water, lemon, sugar, eggs and it is cooked slowly.  Bill had learnt how to make the Japanese salted ice cream when he had worked in Japan.
Artisan British Cheeses
Cote Hill Blue, Baron Bigod and Morfold Dapple with grapes, Fenland celery and a warm Eccles Cake.  Decanters of College Label Tawny Port, by Barao De Vilar, were liberally passed round the table.
Fairtrade Coffee or Estate Handpicked Tea (Jin Shan Ski Yu)
Served with St John’s truffles.
Still and sparkling water were available throughout the meal and the non-alcoholic drink available was the delightful Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Pressé.
Following the luncheon there was a tour of the College and the Gardens.  Afternoon Tea was served in the Cha Stone Garden, named after the internationally renowned Louis Cha (who had gained a doctorate at the college) and the coach left for London at 17.30.  Throughout the day the group had been splendidly looked after by Franco Elia and his team
Text and pictures by John Cousins, with additional pictures by Paul Wenham