It's not often you can say of a City of London bash that "the 10-year-old Somerset cider apple brandy was flowing", but there was no tipple more appropriate at the Feast of Albion, a £1,000-a-head charity banquet at the Guildhall offering ingredients fished, foraged, pastured or uprooted within a 50-mile radius of London.
Four hundred guests – including Mick Jagger, Sophie Dahl, Roger Waters and Jasper Conran – tucked into mutton and turnip pies, Thames Bay pickled herrings and nettle soup with wild garlic (possibly gathered from the Grand Union Canal towpath). The evening was organised by global concierge service Quintessentially to champion seasonal food and the Soil Association. The menu was master-minded by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. "We cycled all the vegetables here from Pangbourne," he said proudly, sipping tap water from a recycled jam jar.
Guests discussed their organic bakeries, vineyards and allotments. Fishtail dresses were much in evidence (perhaps inspired by the pollack from Fearnley-Whittingstall's smokehouse); Trudie Styler was much impressed by Richard E Grant clocking her powder-blue number as a McQueen ("I live with two girls," he said, in mitigation), while Colin Firth fell over Jemima Khan's purple train ("I'm so sorry!") in a moment of Bridget Jones-esque slapstick.
Diners sat at tables adorned with cherry-blossom centrepieces while Annie Lennox belted out a greatest-hits medley, leaving the Soil Association over £300,000 richer at the end of the night. They left with complementary hyacinth bulbs (a goodie grow-bag?) and a recognition that "seasonality" needn't just mean how high your hem should be.Reuse content