Sunday, 20 September 2015

Maes y Neuadd

In 2007 I wrote about the magnificent fruit and veg gardens at Maes y Neuadd that supplied the top notch restaurant and its clients with the freshest of food. Former guests include Edward Kennedy and Jackie Onassis when they attended the funeral of Lord Harlech. Richard Gere and Sean Connery also stayed here during the filming of First Knight. Yesterday I drove past  and it has changed beyond belief. The hotel and gardens have been neglected and the property is for sale. Rumours say a deal might be about to go through. Can they salvage this jewel? What will it be?

This is what I wrote a few years ago ....

Beyond the flower beds there is an idyllic walled garden and orchard where two full-time gardeners work their magic. The 149 items of fruit and veg only just fit onto a sheet of closely typed A4.

Each morning the head gardener reports to the kitchen with the complete list of produce indicating what’s at its best. Armed with this knowledge the chef finalises the day’s menu taking account of any other windfalls; maybe a diver has provided some scallops, a salmon has been caught overnight, wild mushrooms have been picked in the woods at dawn.

Walking back with the marked list the gardeners set about the daily harvest. It takes two of them half a day to deliver the fresh produce all of fifty yards to the kitchen.
Those perfect gardens September 2015

Between them they pick 8 tonnes a year! Fortunately the times of greatest availability coincide with peaks of customer demand. Greenhouses, cold frames and polytunnels (discretely tucked away) lengthen the growing seasons.

The vegetable garden is not just a culinary feast but an aesthetic inspiration. What better than an early evening stroll in the garden spotting the gaps from where tonight’s supper was plucked. Maybe some helpful hints and tips from one of the gardeners?

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