Saturday, 26 April 2014

An Evening with Aspall

Aspall, Suffolk,
Aspall Est 1728
Crossing the border from Essex to Suffolk under the cover of darkness, always raises a smile and brings back memories of childhood trips to the Suffolk coast. I hated the A12 then and I absolutely loathe it now! Resembling a track that Constable might have trundled down on his way to paint the Haywain the A12 continues to carry its heavy load.
No wonder this part of the world feels slightly dislocated from reality. 

I always wondered how lucky Gerry Milsom must have felt when he setup Le Talbooth just on the right side of the track (Stratford Road) so to speak. Probably one of the best restaurants in Suffolk but so nearly in Essex! That's not to say there aren't any great restaurants in Essex before any of you have a Towie, if that's possible?! 

Jimmy's Farm, a safe haven for Rare Breeds and HQ for The Essex Pig Company is owned and run by Jimmy Doherty, a farmer come TV celebrity and erstwhile inventor. As we arrived all Rare Breeds had retired to the shelter of their duvets and heated pig styes. Only blanket covered donkeys were left in their fields to greet us. So, the welcome as you can imagine was slightly underwhelming. Where was farmer Jimmy? I was most miffed! 

Anyway who needs celebrity. We were here for the main attraction that is Aspall Cyder with a 'y'. The boys and girls from Aspall had given up a night of fun and games at Ipswich Town Football club, to try and enlighten us Aspall groupies, on the virtues and provenance of said company. The presentation was given by a Norfolk bloke working for a Suffolk company that has its roots in France. Confused yet? Well, after copious cyders we were, as were the staff, who continued to break glasses throughout the evening. All good fun and entertaining.

Cyder tasting without a spittoon, the waitress didn't know what I was talking about either, hence why taxis are a la mode for the trip home. Hiccup... 

Berry CyderPulled Pork, Aspall Evening

The menu was simple and straightforward, nothing flash just good homely cooking in a rustic and charming environment but without the draughts. A selection of canapes to start and a chance to drink more cyder. Our main course consisted of Rare Breed pulled pork with lashings of cyder sauce and delicious Savoy cabbage. Service was laid back and friendly. 

Dessert was apple parfait, caramel sauce and apple crisps atop. This was accompanied by a new Aspall creation, Isabel's Berry, not even on the shelves yet, a tribute to their Great Grandma, Isabel, who was often seen tending her berry plants and bushes. 

Isabel's Berry, Cyder, Aspall
Isabel's Berry Suffolk Cyder
Strikingly pink and effervescent this cyder has plenty of sweetness but not too much and punnets of redcurrants and raspberries working their magic. Perfect with summer pudding or gooseberry crumble.....c'mon summer! This one is going to be a hit amongst the ladies and will probably give those Belgian ciders a run for their money.

A great evening hosted by the Aspall team and at £35 per person fantastic value for money. An exceptional Goodie Bag included. Visit Jimmy's Farm event page to find out more.

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