Eating to help people starving around the world may seem like a bit of an odd thing to do. But there’s nothing that concentrates your mind on what people don’t have, than a well said word or two in your ear about hunger while you’re salivating over a plate of fabulous food.
And it’s not often you can eat for a good cause. So when the chance came to join a dinner at Fernandez & Leluu’s supper club in aid of Action Against Hunger, I grabbed it. Throw in produce sourced from around Europe by Unearthed, and you’ve got the recipe for a fine evening indeed.
What really struck me when Sophie from Action Against Hunger spoke about what they do was their emphasis on sustainability. It’s great saving people from starvation, but if you don’t create some sort of sustainable solution, then you’ll be saving the same people again next year. And the year after. Providing ways and means (and skills) for people to grow their own food, to support themselves is hugely important.
And good on Unearthed for buddying up with the charity to support something they believe in. These guys source fine foods (I know, I’ve sampled them at home) from around the continent and not only did they provide the raw ingredients here, they also give 1p from every product sold to Action Against Hunger. And in these days of low profit margins, that’s a real gesture of support.
I’ve been to Fernandez & Leluu before and boy was I curious, in a drooling anticipation kind of way – to see what they would make of the Unearthed set list they were given. I wasn’t disappointed. A whole raft of exciting continental goodies came out. I won’t go through them all, not least because I had to disappear early (damn you early starts) and missed the baked rice and divine sounding churros.
One thing these guys certainly know about – which many chefs don’t – is when to leave good ingredients alone to speak for themselves. And the Rilettes, Serranno ham and duck mousse all spoke of warm Mediterranean climes and deep sunny flavours. Of unctuousness and fatty goodness, of well raised animals and respect for taste.
A sweetcorn veloute with chorizo film brought out the sweet flavours of the corn while the chorizo film added just a hint of smoky heat to balance it out. And meatballs were very tasty indeed – moist and well seasoned, these were a joy to eat.
And then there was the flamenquines (top picture) – rolled pork loin, pepperoni and ham, breaded and flash fried, these were delicious. And very moreish. I was readying myself to do mortal combat with my fellow diners over these, but there were plenty. Even for a greedy guts like me. I can still taste that wonderful crunchy porkiness. Great stuff.
Add the wine that liberally flowed, the constant conversational buzz and great company and you have a perfect dinner experience. If only all charity events were like this, donations would surely come flying in.
For more on the evening check out these blog posts from people that were there: