I can’t think of a more magical place to escape to this Christmas than Coworth Park. Less than an hour by train from London, this Ascot escape provides fresh air, luxurious accommodation and refined food for the whole family to enjoy.
I visited this Dorchester Collection property with a group of like-minded foodies, for a lavish lunch by chef Adam Smith. Despite only taking over the helms recently, the restaurant received a Michelin star this year.
After introductions over tea by the fire we were led down into the kitchen for a show around with Adam. Champagne was poured and canapes were served, each immaculately constructed by the chefs in front of us and topped with shaved black truffle. We got a sneak preview of the pretty pastry room, and an insight into how the farmers’ produce arrives on site.
Adam devised a beautiful bespoke menu for us showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients. We took our seats in the festive private dining room, all excited about the meal ahead.
While the fish eaters were wooed with a succulent slice of salmon, I was delighted to receive a beautiful Celeriac Tart. The thin buttery pastry was filled with a silky smooth mousse and topped with delicate pickled vegetables and hazelnuts. It was just the right combination of creamy elegance and tart freshness.
Main course was an impressive piece of 80 Day Salt Aged Beef, served with celeriac and truffle. The beef was majestic and bold, but it was the celeriac that truly shone for me, salt-baked to intensify its subtle flavour, it gave a lovely smoky hint to the dish.
Usually I skip the cheese course in favour of saving appetite for pudding, but I couldn’t refuse a ‘Truffled Little Whallop’ which was as tasty as it sounds. Little Whallop is a soft goat’s cheese with a complex nutty taste, this was spiked with a trail of truffles running through it… pure decadence. It was paired with Graham’s 20 year old Tawny Port, which matched the strength of the cheese perfectly.
Chestnut is an ingredient I’ve seen a lot of on menus this winter, and I was beginning to tire of the taste. But the Coworth take on chestnut completely changed my mind, an irresistible parfait with a hint of pear and a touch of milk chocolate. The patisserie was airy and light, with cubes of pear and shards of sweet chocolate… definitely one of the best desserts I’ve tried this year.
We concluded our meal with handmade Coworth chocolate bars and strong macchiatto coffees, whilst chatting about which dish we’d loved the most.
After lunch there was just enough time for a quick tour of the property. We admired the spacious bedrooms and regal bathrooms, visited the spa and marvelled at the polo grounds before hopping on the train home.
Coworth Park is the perfect destination for a day excursion from London or better still, an indulgent weekend getaway… This English countryside property is particularly magical at Christmas time but lovely, I’m sure, all year round.
More information and book a stay or meal at Coworth Park here.