So, you know how I love getting peeks into `behind the scenes' features on blogs and in magazines? Never did I think I would be lucky enough to actually get to be a part of one on a random rainy Tuesday afternoon....but that's exactly what happened this week...and here's how it all unfolded... :)
Fete Magazine (you may remember I have a crush on them) is travelling around the countryside hosting pop-up dinners in beautiful locations...all by way of an invite to their Facebook followers. A friend of mine happened to see the invite and got herself a seat at the table, plus one...needless to say I didn't need to think twice before saying yes! And that's how we found ourselves in The White House...a gorgeous home that I have admired from afar for many years...never knowing that one day I would get to wander around the rooms in person....not in any way deterred by rumours that one of the bedrooms might be haunted ever so slightly ;)
We were greeted by Annabelle and Jane, who used their backgrounds in styling/event planning/design to create a magazine they themselves would love...and as such, Fȇte was born. Even after spending a few minutes with these two, the genuine warmth and enthusiasm they have for Fȇte shines through in the stories they tell about the beginnings and the incredible work (and help from those around them) it takes to get a project like this off the ground. But, you can tell they absolutely love what they do...and this comes across not only in person but on the page. Gorgeous photography, styling that is simple, beautiful and oh so achievable...events, recipes, features on inspiring homes and people they've met...it makes for such a lovely read with a cuppa in hand :)
We stood around the crackling fireplace, the rain falling softly in the garden outside...chatting with the others as they arrive...one has travelled all the way from Sydney just for tonight. With about ten of us, it's the perfect size for the open plan living/dining/kitchen area...all of which has special touches added by the girls to match the colour scheme for the night...white, black & neutrals with splashes of carefully chosen greens. Their photographer is capturing the evening for a future issue.
There's plenty of time to explore the house...complete with a library...and a sweet little free standing building nestled in the garden with an extra bedroom/bathroom. I can't help but think that it would be my studio if I lived here...if I could bear to leave the main house that is!
I'm loving that the kitchen is right there amongst everything...the chalkboard walls...the freestanding benches...a collection of herbs near the sink...scrabble tiles on the window sill that spell out culinary things :) I watch the chef, Jane's husband John, as he plates the canapés and adds the final touches to the main meal.
Dinner is served as a buffet...and we take our seats at the long dining table which is decked out in a collection of my favourite Aura linen, pieces from Ikea, chalkboard menus...and flowers (home grown I think!) which travelled with Annabelle, Jane and the crew all the way from South Australia...no detail is overlooked :)
The team has worked hard to source all the ingredients locally...which would add an extra logistical layer to planning for tonight. But watching John's face light up as he talks about meeting the farmers and sensing the pride in their produce...being able to support the families behind the businesses is something they clearly feel strongly about....
Goats Cheese Tarts with Caramelised Onion Jam
Smoked Trout Potato Cake and Horseradish Creme
Mushroom Paté on Melba Toast
Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder w/ Pickled Quince
Baked Murray Cod w/ Olive Tapenade
Macaroni Cheese w/Truffle
Apple Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Yoghurt Panna Cotta
Needless to say, the food is amazing...especially the pork...and how can you go past comfort food like potato gratin or macaroni and cheese on a wintery Daylesford night? Everyone takes a moment to savour the dessert...the panna cotta is melt in your mouth good. Conversation flows covering some of my favourites...Brooke Holm, Megan Morton's "The School"...who loves reading which blogs...renovating...growing up on a farm...husbands & children...Etsy.
It's the strangest thing...it doesn't take long before you forget that you've only just met all these people...that everyone has travelled from all over just to share an experience that doesn't come along often. I can only put it down to the fact that the room feels inviting and intimate...the lighting, the fire...good music...laughter and wine....knowing the care that has gone into planning every last detail. I was trying to explain it to a friend the next day...stepping out into the cold dark night afterwards...it was almost a little bit like waking up from a dream. You found yourself looking over your shoulder, back towards the little front gate & brightly lit porch...just to make sure it really did happen. I'm so glad it did :)