The Big Autumn Eat – and how to do it

Londoners always need a good reason to escape from the city.

Right now, The New Forest – just 89 minutes by train from London Waterloo and less than two minutes from the end of the M27 – is that reason, with a week-long series of breakfasts, lunches, afternoon teas, picnics, dinners and chef demonstrations.

The New Forest Food and Drink Festival (October 31- November 6) is the ideal excuse to grab an away day and overnighter or a weekend – the chance to savour not only the finest food and drink from one of the UK’s best-kept foodie destination secrets but to experience autumn in all its splendor.

There are more than 30 events taking place to celebrate the New Forest’s culinary heritage – it goes right back to before King William the Conqueror – and we can’t list them all, but here are just a few we think you wouldn’t want to miss…

Smoking Hot – A Smokehouse Dinner at Hartnett & Holder, Lime Wood Hotel near Lyndhurst. Monday October 31

Each of the three courses in this headline event at one of the UK’s hippest hotels features home-cured and smoked meats or salmon from Hartnett Holder & Co’s very own smokehouse, done in the Italian style for which this restaurant has become justly renowned. The menu’s still a secret. But given that HH & Co, overseen by Angela Hartnett – Gordon Ramsey-trained and now one of Britain’s top female chefs – is famous for its loin of pork cured with lavender, perfect pancetta and salami and salmon smoked to perfection you won’t be disappointed.

The Very English Afternoon Tea – at the Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu. Wednesday November 2

What you need to know here is that not only has The Montagu Arms been awarded the prestigious Tea Guild’s ‘Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award’ again but these classic treats are prepared under the direction of a Michelin-starred chef – Matthew Tomkinson. Matt’s passion for this most English of institutions will be very evident indeed, starting with a savoury selection of delicate finger sandwiches and an array of sweet treats, followed by freshly baked scones with homemade jam and clotted cream. Afternoon tea will be perfectly accompanied by a selection of finest loose leaf teas and Fairtrade coffee and will be served.

A Celebration of Fish & Seafood – at The Master Builder’s, Buckler’s Hard. Friday November 4

Did you know the New Forest has a 40-mile ‘secret’ coastline, plus a number of rivers running through it? It’s why the fish and shellfish served at The Master Builders is so very fresh. Dine in a restaurant overlooking some of England’s most historic views (The Master Builder in question made ships for Lord Nelson’s Navy) but not before you’ve sipped champagne and dipped into our oyster bar with its selection of vinaigrettes. Leave room for seared scallops, cucumber gazpacho, langoustine croquette and wild sea bass, braised winter vegetables and char-grilled squid, followed by apple mille feuille, apple sorbet and apple crisps, finished off with coffee and home-made petit fours.



Louise Neville



T: 01329 822866

Issued on behalf of:

The New Forest