While we are not set up for general visits at Hepple, every now and then we just have to have a really cracking party - to thank our friends for their support, celebrate the seasons, and generally keep our martini stirring muscles at peak fitness.
In early October we were joined by a dozen hardy folk from bars, pubs, restaurants and retailers in North East. After a tour of the distillery, we climbed the through the bracken to our moorside bar, where our unflinching man, Flynn, stirred Marini in a healthy breeze and drizzle to the crackle of grouse. Undeterred by Northumbrian autumn weather, our guests sipped their Marini amongst our ancient juniper.
Once refuelled, we made the final stretch to the hilltop dining hut, where Valentine Warner had been busy preparing a feast. We tucked into Lindisfarne Oysters and crab mayonnaise with tarragon and capers and served with truly wonderful Sourdough bread from Fenwicks in Newcastle. Our main course was ox cheek stew with fennel, anchovies and capers with creamy mash. For pudding Walter's wife, Lucy, had made a delicious blackcurrant ice cream with currants from the Hepple garden; we topped the ice cream with a splash of gin.
Thank you to all our planters: Adam & Lucy Riley - Riley's Fish Shack; Tom Proud - Pleased to Meet You; Anna Hedworth - Cook House; Rachael Frame - Tiger Hornsby; Nick - Cafe 21; Robert Danby - Grapevine Wine Services.