Heralded as one of the first of its kind in the UK, the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden continues to exhibit contemporary sculptures in a truly magical environment. The story started thirty five years ago, when landscape designer Anthony and his wife Hannah bought some land in Surrey. Having grown up in New Zealand Anthony did not want your average “Surrey Garden.” Anthony decided he was going to make his mark on this garden. He found unique and individual species of tree and bush and began work on a garden that was overgrown and in need of some love and attention.
Meanwhile, his wife Hannah grew up in Holland and went to a ceramic gallery exhibition where the gallery had ordered too many pieces and therefore some were stored outside. This was the light bulb moment. Hannah had a vision of what the garden could become.
After travelling to London and asking artists if they fancied a challenge, a number of people jumped on board. The garden has come a huge way in thirty five years and the relationship between art and nature continues to grow, year in year out.
A couple of weeks ago, The Salt Box decided to host a supper club within the grounds of The Hannah Peschar Sculpture gardens. Upon arrival we were greeted with an aperitif of strawberry vermouth spritz, which was very refreshing. We sipped on these as we heard about the exciting first few months The Salt Box had experienced after they launched in October 2017.
The Salt Box was born out of a passion for local produce and seasonal ingredients, and has set out on an adventure to bring people together through food and fire in and around the south east of England. Based in Surrey, Beckie and Christian offer creative open-fire catering, pop-up events and group/private courses as well as running cookery courses. Their dishes are just as often inspired by the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is on their doorstep, as they are by their love of travelling the world. It makes for adventurous dining with local provenance at its heart.
Our first course pallet teaser was seared Venison with charred broad bean hummus, sprinkled with wild garlic seeds and capers, served on homemade cornbread. The meat was melt in the mouth tender with a slight bitterness from the broad beans, paired perfectly with the subtle flavours of the garlic and capers.
We were invited to walk through the Sculpture Garden to a separate garden known as “The Bamboo Garden” where Vikki, the curator, spoke about the history of the garden as well as explaining how the garden works and where pieces come from. As we were educated our second course was served. This time we were treated to hot smoked maple salmon with pickled monk’s beard, radish and onion seed salad served on crispbread. Again the flavours complimented each other perfectly and the textures of the soft salmon against the snap of the crisp bread worked perfectly.
Finally, we were shown to our table under the trees as the sun slowly began her descent. The table was decorated with second-to- none detail and had lamps dotted around the table to ensure once night fell, the ambiance would not be disrupted. We settled down to a main of local Etherley Farm Duck served with carrots with haydari and hazelnuts, courgettes with chilli and chervil, charred tomatoes, Hodmedod’s lentils with nettle salsa verde and ajvar. The duck was again cooked to perfection and all the food had been prepared outside over an open fire. The essences of all the ingredients used worked perfectly and complimented each other subtly but brilliantly.
Once the sun had set, and the lamps were lit, we enjoyed a desert of cherry Bakewell in a jar under the moonlit sky. The evening was a complete success from start to finish and I would highly recommend getting in touch with both of these brilliant local businesses.
Whether it’s a day out with friends or a meal under the stars, let the experts look after you.
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