Crème de cassis… a Right Royally British Version!

Kir Royale? Don’t mind if I do!!!!

But, hold up, why does it need be French?

In a time when we are so concerned about keeping it local and reducing our carbon footprints, we have endeavoured, even whilst embracing our equally important Italian heritage, to source more local produce where we can.

White Heron Cassis is the fine produce of a farm nestled in the rolling hills of Herefordshire and there you will find a tiny blackcurrant, rarely seen and little known. Carefully harvested under the summer sun, fermented with champagne yeast and blended with a tiny touch of vodka and a little sugar, they are making a rich, fruity and divine cassis . . . a British Cassis if you please!

The Whittern Estate is an historic farm with a passion for the contemporary as well as their time‑honoured traditions, in fact, 140 years of passion.  The farm has grown from traditional arable farming into the more careful cultivation of the blackcurrants that are transformed into the uniquely sultry flavour profile of British Cassis.

Whittern derives its name from the White Ern, or White Heron . . . hence the name of the cassis.  These iconic birds, otherwise known as white egrets, used to breed at The Whittern.  Unfortunately, they are now a scarcity and rarely seen in the area, but they are something of a symbol of the natural environment that the blackcurrants are grown in, so it seemed fitting for them to name their company and their cassis after these elegant and sophisticated creatures.

For us?  It makes a mighty fine Kir or Kir Royale . . . and it’s terribly good in a summer berry compote too . . . also, delicious with Panna Cotta!  And we get to support a like-minded and family run farm, not so local to Kibworth, but of our green and pleasant land

 Ciao for now!

Sarah x

 20TH ANNIVERSARY QUIZ

Q4  What’s the difference between Kir and Kir Royale?

Just answer in the comments below and we’ll enter you into our prize draw celebrating our 20th anniversary!  (Please be sure to put your email address on your comment so that we can contact you if you’re one of our lucky winners)

Look out for other 20th anniversary quiz questions on our future blog posts.  Prize draw winners to be announced on 1st January 2020.

 

Thanks a lotta for the lovely panna cotta!

We alluded to this favourite dish and all-time feature on all our menus over the past 20 years in our Favourite Foods Blog . . . but we decided that a mention simply wasn’t enough!

Lino’s panna cotta was causing a sensation even before we came to Kibworth; back at Welford Place which we opened in 1991, it was always received with open arms . . . or should I say open mouths!!!

In Firenze days we often went for the obscure: a liquorice panna cotta, coconut panna cotta with an oh so bitter dark chocolate sorbet with just a touch of chilli, rose water panna cotta with our own Turkish delight . . . the list goes on . . . we even did a savoury panna cotta once but we didn’t want to confuse people so we called it parmesan cream!  We have served it in a mould, out of a mould, tiny cutesy size, and we did a trifle bowl size once.

How often have our customers said to me, “I have eaten panna cotta all over the world and never had one as good as the ones you serve”????

I have pondered what makes ours so special?  And why do others find it difficult to get right?  I guess it’s the fine balance of the ingredients, too much sugar. . . too sweet, not enough sugar . . . not sweet enough . . . and adjusting the basic recipe to suit the extra ingredients that you might add to create something a bit different . How can something which is essentially fully loaded with cream be so light? (Panna Cotta, literally means cooked cream)

The balance of gelatin is critical, not enough and we have a whole runaway affair, too much and it’s something closer to rubber ball . . . my mum and I had an hilarious meal once when we encountered such a panna cotta, so rubbery we could barely get our spoon through it!

So, since 1999 there has always been a panna cotta in one guise or another on all our menus . . . big hint for the answer to Question 1 of our Anniversary Quiz by the way!

We hope that you are a fan of these sweet treats and enjoy the variations on the theme, I wonder if you have a favourite?

Ciao for now!

Sarah x

20TH ANNIVERSARY QUIZ

Question 3: Which ingredient in panna cotta stops it from being vegetarian?

Just answer in the comments below and we’ll enter you into our prize draw celebrating our 20th anniversary! (Please be sure to put your email address on your comment so that we can contact you if you’re one of our lucky winners)

Look out for other 20th anniversary quiz questions on our future blog posts.  Prize draw winners to be announced on 1st January 2020.

Posted on July 22, 2019 .

20 Years In Kibworth!!

In October we shall be celebrating the 20th anniversary of our life in Kibworth!

We moved in August 1999 and within 2 short months had turned around the old David Snelling Violins shop into our first restaurant, Firenze!

Our girls were only 1 and 4 years old and we Polis lived upstairs in the flat. . . we thought it would be small affair this new business of ours, just the two of us and a few part-timers to help out at weekends!  We thought we would open mid-week so we would not be too busy, revving up for the weekend, which we hoped would be a little busier!!

Hmmmm . . . the restaurant was rammed, from the day we opened, 26th October, to the day we closed for Christmas, 23rd December . . . we were welcomed with open arms, encouraged by those who knew us from the Welford Place days in Leicester, and quickly supported by our new community here in Kibworth!

We also quickly recognised the need for more staff, babysitters, cleaners and bookkeepers . . . . to start with we tried to do it all ourselves but that was not going to work!!!

From those first humble beginnings, we have enjoyed the praise and attention of the guides and the foodie journalists, but most importantly, the enthusiasm of our regulars, which is a list that is forever and still growing.

2007 saw the arrival of Boboli and 2013 the exciting rebrand of Firenze to The Lighthouse, and currently we have about 50 local people on our payroll!!!!

So, 20 years on, we can reflect on what has been a hell of a ride!  With gratitude and affection for the awards, accolades, staff, customers and altogether wonderful people and memories that we have been blessed with . . .

Sarah & Lino June 2019 3x2 enhanced.jpg

Grazie Mille

Sarah & Lino x

20TH ANNIVERSARY QUIZ

Question 2: What year did we open Firenze?

Just answer in the comments below and we’ll enter you into our prize draw celebrating our 20th anniversary! (Please be sure to put your email address on your comment so that we can contact you if you’re one of our lucky winners)

Look out for other 20th anniversary quiz questions on our future blog posts.  Prize draw winners to be announced on 1st January 2020.