Shhhh! Secretly Eating Kent

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a secret supper club by some intriguingly named group called Adventures in Fruit. Delighted and curious as to what fruit based adventures they had up their sleeve, I warned them of my potentially difficult dining proclivities and was assured that it would be fine. Curious to find out if it really would be fine (a familiar tall tale) or if all I'd be served would actually be fruit salad masquerading as supper, either way, I was definitely going along to find out!

I pulled up to Monks Farm in Sittingbourne early last Thursday evening and it immediately felt like something a bit special was about to go down. There was a lovely marquee set up in the grounds of this beautiful orchard and it had a free bar - a free bar with cider! These fruit farmers are obviously my kind of people. There were also cider and rum cocktails topped off with apple and pear juice, which showed off our Kentish fruit perfectly and made me glad that my family were coming to pick me up later. Hic.
I hadn't heard of Adventures in Fruit before, but discovered that it's their job to promote a collection of fruit growers called Fruition, and I'm pleased they do. I know I literally live off of fruit and veg, but I'll be honest, I get a bit disinterested when I walk by the apple and pears in my local shop. There's usually very little choice and I find that once I've had an apple at home for a couple of days, it's already passed best and the texture is all pappy and leaves a chalky coating in the mouth. Not pleasant and apparently not how apples should be!

We took a tour around the orchard which spawned Britain's tastiest apple, and apparently growing apples is actually a lot more technical than I'd have ever guessed. As you may remember, I am notoriously terrible at nurturing any plants and generally harbour a windowsill of death. This state of affairs once led someone to advise me to get a fruit tree, "just plant them and leave them alone" they said. Great! I bought 2. 1 is still alive, but being regularly strangled by next door's vine and the other was ripped up by a foster dog and used to chase our resident pooch around the garden. Fruit growing- not for dummies!

Anyway, for all of Simon Bray's hard labour the apples are truly delicious. Literally, these growers have restored my faith in apples - it also helps that we got a goody bag with one of those apple slicer gadget wotsits and I've been gleefully shovelling down the greens and reds every day since. I just wish that these apples were more widely available to me - I could (and quite possibly have) eaten a ton.

Anyway, after all that - I suppose you want to know how dinner turned out? Well, let me tell you, it was better than fine - it was great! I had nothing to worry about, as I was in safe hands with Marcus Bean and his team from Brompton Cookery School. Did you know Marcus Bean not only pulls off a waistcoat and wellies with aplomb, but he also employs wizards? Well, he does! His baker, Robert Swift, made a gluten free pizza base that was not only fluffy and soft, but also not a heavy stodge brick. I have no idea how he did it. It looked exactly like the other pizza bases - wait a minute, maybe they were..? No! No, it's OK. It was definitely safe. I'd know by now if it wasn't. Also, pickled pear on a pizza?! For starters, I need to get on this pickling fruit malarky, 'cos that's clearly right up my street. Secondly, if you put pineapple on my pizza, I will stab you with a rusty spoon, but I fully welcome this particular fruity pizza topping. Seriously, you have to try it.

So, all in all, I had a lovely evening and have come away feeling incredibly passionate about the humble old apple and pear. Turns out they're worth shouting about. How d'ya like them apples? Well, I bloody love them!

Have a look at some beautiful fruit, in beautiful Kent, at a beautiful event and go and grab some of our homegrown goodies from your nearest M&S. Although, I petition that these gems should be much more widely available. I think I may have a new addiction.

If you want to read other people's experiences, check out Never Wears White.


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