Imagine being a small or artisan food producer – possibly a family firm, making a product you believe in, to what’s probably a tried and tested recipe. Something you’re passionate about and believe in, and want to be able to focus on perfecting.
Or a committed foodie, a consummate party-thrower, someone for whom “fun” is inviting thirty strangers over to your house three times a week and producing dish after dish of marvellous morsels to an unknown audience.
Simon Day created Unearthed Foods as a way to not only showcase but to distribute fantastic regional continental foods in the UK. With links into major retailers, they can get great exposure for smaller brands and allow the manufacturers to concentrate on production. Importantly, they also operate a robust supply chain so that the logistics make sense and they can import goods from a number of different locations in Europe efficiently. That makes more goods affordable for the consumer here too, and helps support the company’s aim of introducing regional specialties to this market. I guess that, technically, coordinated shipping reduces the carbon footprint too?
Fernandez and Leluu are long-time favourites of mine and they were a great pairing with Unearthed. Simon Fcame up with some fantastic combinations, using Unearthed products along with original dishes – sweetcorn soup with chorizo oil drizzle above. The first course included unctuous rillettes from Le Mans, not unlike the ones I had when I spent time in that city as a teenager. Nothing you could have told me as a seventeen year old would have convinced me that a couple of decades later I’d be wolfing them down, I loathed them then. But paired with oyster mushrooms cooked in wine and butter, and they were unbelievably moreish. This was probably my favourite course of the evening – or was it the pears poached in champagne and vanilla? The broken rice was damn good too. As were the flamenquines. We were also treated to Campo Viejo wines and both the Rioja and the cava went down really well.
There was such a buzzy crowd, the chatter was so loud we were on the verge of yodelling at each other, while cooing over each successive course as it appeared before us. Conversation and consumption aside, there was actually a more important reason for us all to be gathered together.
Action Against Hunger. They’ve moved on from their ‘Fight Hunger Eat Out‘ campaign in September and October to focus on ‘Fight Hunger Eat In’. You see where they’re going with this. I’ve had many fabulous meals in supperclubs for a donation of about £35. That’s roughly the amount of money that’s required to treat a child for malnutrition which is pretty sobering. Providing tools for a family costs around £20 (and if you donate online and are a UK taxpayer, boost your donation with Gift Aid). Unearthed will donate 1p from all sales, and they’re aiming to support a project in Zambia for grandparent-headed families, where parents have died (mainly due to AIDS) and the children are now the responsibility of elderly relatives who may be unable to work or support them.
Check out Fernandez and Leluu’s great tips on entertaining, stock up on Unearthed tapas if you don’t want to cook and get some friends around. Cook for them and ask them to make a donation to the charity as ‘payment’. If you’re allergic to kitchens perhaps consider buying the charity lunch – donating the same amount as your next restaurant meal. It really is all in a good cause.
Thanks to Fernandez and Leluu, Unearthed, and Wildcard.