One of the most charming places around London to enjoy a relaxed weekend lunch is in my opinion Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. The award-winning restaurant was opened in a local garden by the Boglione family in 2004 and in 2011 was awarded its first Michelin star under the direction of Chef Skye Gyngell. The restaurant is surrounded by a garden centre, the nurseries, which has existed since the 1970’s and was completely restored by Gael & Francesco Boglione to become the beautiful place it is today.
Damian Clisby is now the Head Chef at Petersham Nurseries Cafe and he works alongside the Culinary Director Lucy Boyd to “create an evolving menu inspired by what is growing in the garden, the changing seasons, and our connection to the environment”.
Petersham Nurseries regularly organise events such as cooking and gardening classes, food walks, fundraisings and wine lunches. In December I had the great pleasure to attend the Emilia Romagna Wine Lunch organised by Petersham Cellar and hosted inside the Garden Shop glasshouse.
At the lunch we sampled four courses designed and prepared by Damian to celebrate the food of this Italian region.
Emilia Romagna lies between the River Po and the Apennine Mountains. It is one of the most fertile and productive regions of Italy, thanks to the mitigating effect that the Adriatic Sea has on the coastal climate. [quote from the wine lunch menu]
Emilia Romagna is of course famous all over the world for Parma Ham as well as Grana and Parmigiano cheeses. They also produce great wines, such as Gutturnio, Trebbiano, Lambrusco and Sangiovese. During the lunch we tasted five different wines carefully selected by the Petersham Cellar team.
On arrival we were offered a glass of Lambrusco Secco from Cantine Ceci to go with the Prosciutto di Parma by Pio Tosini and Parmigiano Reggiano “Scaglia D’oro” D.O.P. (aged 30 months), drizzled with traditional San Giacomo Balsamic Vinegar.
During the aperitivo I had the chance to finally meet in person Valeria of Life Love Food, a food blog I have been reading for a couple of years now, and her husband Jesse who works for Petersham Cellar. Jesse had kindly invited me and my husband to this event. We chatted about life in London, travels and our love for Italian food!
It was time for the next wine: Ageno from La Stoppa winery, a wine made with White Malvasia grapes.
Shortly after our main course was served: Tortellini cooked in a broth with Pumpkin and Sage. The chef plated the dishes so that the broth was served hot.
I loved this dish, so warming and tasty, and it definitely reminded me of Emilia Romagna.
Before the next course arrived, Jesse offered us a glass of the third wine: Arcolaio by Leone Conti, a 2008 red Sauvignon from Ravenna. Intense and well-balanced, it paired well with our second course.
Rare Breed Tamworth Pork Sausage with Bramata Polenta and Cavolo Nero. The meat was from Paddock Farm in Warwickshire, a Slow Food UK producer.
My husband doesn’t eat pork, so he was served a vegetarian dish of giant couscous with poached egg and roasted roots with bread on the side.
We tasted another red wine with our second course, a Sangiovese wine called Ceregio from Fattoria Zerbina. Sangiovese is a dark-berried wine and is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy (though it’s mostly associated with Tuscany).
In true Italian Christmas spirit, the dessert was warm Panettone cake made by Petersham and served with Vin Santo Ice-Cream. The matching wine for this course was Malvasia La Stoppa, Vigna del Volta 2008, a sweet and delicious dessert wine.
It was a fantastic event, very well organised with really good food and wines. The location of Petersham Nurseries is spectacular and I only wish I had arrived a little early for the lunch so that I could wander around the beautiful garden and shop! If you have never been, I highly recommend you do. Whether it’s for dinner or an event or just to have tea and cake at the teahouse, Petersham Nurseries is a great weekend day destination!
If you are interested in attending a wine lunch, the next Petersham Cellar event will take place on Saturday 24th January and it’s all about traditional Piemontese wines from Alba, paired with a menu designed by Petersham Nurseries Cafe chef Damian Clisby.
Disclaimer: I was a guest at this event. All opinions are my own.