Spring food: Nature's larder awakes and bursts into flavour

 

Spring is one of the most anticipated seasons in the culinary calendar. Rhubarb, purple sprouting broccoli, lamb, asparagus and St George's mushrooms should all be starting to appear on greengrocers' shelves.

Tender spears of English asparagus are one of the quintessential spring delicacies. Diners at the Star Inn Harome (01439 770 397; thestaratharome.co.uk; doubles from £150 B&B) in Yorkshire are treated to some of the finest stems from the nearby Low Moor Farm, during the vegetable's brief season.

New-season lamb is another flavour to savour. Welsh lamb is some of the most celebrated and the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre (01492 651 1000; bodnant-welshfood.co.uk) sells locally sourced meat at its butchery. On Sunday 17 May, Hefin Roberts is giving a Welsh lamb masterclass for £115 per person.

Blackface lamb is similarly sought-after. Visitors to Kilnford Farm (01387 253 087; kilnford.co.uk), in Dumfries, can sample meat from its Blackface flock at the farm's restaurant or buy some to take home from its shop.

White flowers of wild garlic should soon be pushing their way into hedgerows. Sign up for Gooddayout's (gooddayout.co.uk) Spring Forage and Wild Garlic Bake in aid of Slow Food Cymru on 19 April. Chef Margaret Rees will take participants on a forage through the Towy Valley, followed by a class making soups, sauces and pesto. The trip lasts five hours and costs £55.

Langoustines are at their best at this time of year. At Doune Knoydart, near Mallaig in Scotland (01687 462 667; doune-knoydart.co.uk; from £77 per person per night), they are served virtually out of the boats straight on to the dining table of this remote lodge.

The unique growing conditions and seaweed fertiliser for Jersey Royals are what make them special. To sample them in situ, visit the Jersey Food Festival (jersey.com/food) from 21-25 May, an annual celebration of the island's famous potato.

The Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink (exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk), founded by the chef Michael Caines, takes place this year from 24-26 April in Exeter Castle's courtyard and Northernhay Gardens. Tickets from £7.50. Also in Devon, River Cottage HQ in Axminster consistently champions the virtues of eating seasonally. On 23 and 24 May it will be playing host to the River Cottage Spring Food Fair (rivercottage.net).

Learn how to get the best results from seasonal ingredients at the temple to all things organic, The Daylesford Cookery School (01608 731 620; daylesfordcookeryschool.co.uk) just outside Kingham in Gloucestershire. On 8 and 23 May it has a one-day Spring Dinner Party Course, costing £175 with lunch.

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