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A new rural retreat teaches you how to forage for your food, before enjoying a sumptuous feast in stylish surroundings
Nose-to-tail eating and a renewed interest in the provenance of ingredients have transformed the quality of restaurants in big cities. But to truly understand what’s on your plate, you need to head to the countryside and connect with nature yourself.
That’s the thinking behind The FEAST (Finding Excellence Around a Shared Table) Project, a retreat launching this autumn that invites guests to hunt, fish and forage for their supper. Under the expertise of a dedicated coach, teams head out to different locations in the picturesque Exe Valley, Devon, to partake in their chosen activity. The fruits of their labour are then whipped up into a multi-course menu by a professional chef on their return.
The hands-on courses available include fly-fishing, foraging in Exmoor National Park, clay-pigeon shooting and (for the less faint-of-heart) time on a working farm trying their hand at butchery.
After a day testing their survival skills, guests can put their feet up in the grand surrounds of Huntsham Court, a Victorian Gothic mansion nestled in the Devonshire countryside. Drinks in the library are followed by the specially tailored dinner served in the formal dining room, where the groups come together to share their experiences before retiring to one of the country house’s 34 bedrooms for the night.
The experience may be designed to bring out one’s inner hunter-gather, but being taken out of your comfort zone has never been more agreeable.