It’s become a standing joke now between my friends and I that I am the lady who launches. In their eyes, they seem to think that my days consist of eating food, taking photos, drinking cocktails and enjoying myself and you know what? They’re pretty damn spot on!
I’ve had my eye on Vallum for a while now and never really managed to get round to visiting. So when I was invited to sample their Festive Friday Menu launch I couldn’t contain my excitement. From the early days of their pie stand at Tynemouth Market to their most recent partnership with Mama Buci honey. Which is endorsed by Bear Grylls to help create livelihoods for the Zambian people. They’re just going from strength to strength! It’s clear to see that Vicky and Peter, the owners of Vallum, have big plans for the future of the farm. And we can’t wait to watch it flourish!
As we arrived at the Farm we parked our car and headed across to the restaurant. Where we were warmly greeted by Nick, who showed us to the Chef’s Room and offered us one of their new cocktails. On offer were a Blackberry Bramble and a Winter Crumble which was Martini, Ginger and used the Mama Buci honey. Of course, we obliged (I’d be lying if I said I accepted hesitantly!)
Chatting away to the rest of the Ladies who Launched we were catching up and introducing ourselves to those we’ve never met before. Before some of the food was served up.
Pork sausages with cranberry were baked in a pastry to create the most gorgeous looking and tasting sausage rolls. They had been freshly made and were served piping hot. They were beyond delicious. Alongside the sausage rolls were Smoked Salmon Blinis with caviar. I love a blini and these were spectacular.
As we picked and nibbled and began to feel festive some more tasters were served this included an Ingoe Scotch egg. Consisting of quails egg and black pudding served with plum ketchup. Remember I’ve only eaten meat since April after a 20-year vegetarian stint. And at first, was hesitant to dig into the black pudding Scotch egg. But this Vallum twist on a traditional snack was to die for. It was soft, light and extremely tasty! I’m of the opinion if you’re lunching a Launch you have to taste everything. It’s the law.
Real food to farm food
Crispy Rabbit Rillette appeared, which was paired with Anne’s Apple Chutney and whilst Ruth from Pretty Little Gym Addict reminisced about her cute bunny rabbits. I was digging into these nugget pieces. Another first, rabbit. Caught locally and in a snare as opposed to shot. As with all of Vallum’s ingredients, they’re all locally sourced or produced on the farm. It’s pretty amazing really to have food so fresh, it really is a from ‘ground to plate’ family farm.
The rabbit was absolutely delicious, it was tender and flavoursome and I could have easily eaten a whole rabbit! I’m just glad I didn’t….we were blissfully unaware of what was about to unfold.
As the driftwood boards with the canapé sized tasting starters were cleared. Let me make this clear, we had been invited to a tasting menu, and I’ve been to some amazing tasting menus but usually, it’s a couple of bits here and there. Not Vallum. You’ll have to carry on reading through to find out what was in store.
Having thoroughly enjoyed our tasting session we sat back, relaxed and sipped on more cocktails. Until Nick brought some shot glasses with a thick white content. A pudding perhaps?
The thickest, smoothest, delicious homemade soup with freshly picked celeriac from the garden was almost sent as a palette cleanser before the feast we were unknowingly about to be served. As Pixie and I laughed and joked about shooting the deliciously hot soup the doors from the kitchen swung open. As Nick presented a serving platter in each hand he placed them on the table as everybody turned to look and ooed and ogled at the sight of Bruce Bogtrotter style chocolate cake.
That was…..until we realised…it wasn’t chocolate cake at all!!
It’s not a Brucie Bogtrotter special after all…
We all stood over the thick wedges accompanied by a jug and harmoniously screeched ‘it’s beef’.
The braised beef set upon the plate with beef gravy was accompanied with mashed potato and kale. You guessed it, picked from the garden! As we all sat down excitedly we helped ourselves to the food. The braised beef melted in your mouth and was honestly the best bit of meat I’ve ever eaten. True story. The mashed potato was super smooth and the kale well in the words of Pixie from Fashion Voyeur was simply ‘Mmmmm’. A side serving of a horseradish dumpling was totally unnecessary with this mountain of food laid before us. But you know what we all ensured we had a taste!
As the table fell silent as we all savoured every mouthful of our lunch we were in awe at not only the hearty homemade flavours. But the sheer amount of food served up. As all of our cutlery was beginning to be placed down on our plates to sign we were all finished another round of food was being served up!
WOW. Like seriously wow Vicky and the team you really went above and beyond for the afternoon!
Armed with fresh plates and cutlery, the team at Vallum had thought of absolutely everything. They were super attentive and extremely passionate about the amazing food they were serving – and rightly so!
For a minute I almost thought it was really Christmas. As turkey, ham, stuffing and pigs in blankets were served up. Accompanied by bread sauce, carrots, delicious roast potatoes and a beetroot gratin. This was my very first proper Christmas dinner as a non-vegetarian so let’s just say Vallum has well and truly set the bar!
Very full already we all knew we had a job to do. So in went, the forks and the plates began to fill up once more! The turkey was tender and moist, the ham just fell apart delicately. The pigs in blankets were crispy and delicious and the stuffing….sorry Grandma your stuffing has been blown out the water (and my Grandma’s stuffing is the bomb!). The stuffing was what dreams are made of!
Although I totally contradict myself here of my earlier point about trying everything beetroot is the one thing in the world you couldn’t pay me enough to eat. However, all who had the beetroot gratin said it was amazing. I believe them too as everything else was beyond perfect!
Deb from My Boys Club is vegetarian and I cannot stress how amazingly well catered for she was by the Vallum kitchen. She received a sunflower loaf, which I can only assume was like a nut roast while we enjoyed our beef. And then when the meats were presented a homemade mushroom pithivier which again looked amazing!
As June from Travel Jems departed to do the school run and Lady Pixie headed off to walk in a runway show (how on earth after all that food I’ll never know?!) they missed out on dessert being served up. Yes, you’re really reading this and yes, more food.
Wiggling our toes on the advice of Kayleigh from The Original Redhead to make room for more food Vicky brought through a Christmas Pudding and a large bottle of Brandy. In a blink of an eye, the whole bottle disappeared onto the pudding as she lit it. The cobalt blue flame rose up from the pudding and flickered long enough for photos to be taken. Then the pudding was whisked away to be served up.
Of course, you already know that it’s not just Christmas Pudding that’s going to come through the door don’t you? And of course, you know you’re right. Accompanying the Christmas Pudding with a Brandy cream was chocolate delice with praline bases. And Bakewell bites accompanied by blackberry jellies.
With us all sat around looking at each other we wondered how on earth we were going to manage this. We did, though. Digging into the Christmas Pudding it was absolute heaven, the best pudding ever! I genuinely mean this too! I don’t think I’ve ever tasted food as good.
More than just food
As we finished up and the plates were cleared we sat chatting for 15 minutes and then Vicky came to give us a tour of the rest of the farm. As we all struggled to fasten up our coats due to the food babies we seemed to all be sporting. We headed outside where we were led to the indoor marquee. With the most beautiful draped ceiling and little lights, a fully stocked bar and endless possibilities.
I certainly think you’d be mad to miss out visiting here if you’re looking for a venue for an important party or a wedding. The photos do not do the room justice as Vallum were setting up for Denise Welsh’s Dad’s 80th birthday which was taking place on Saturday evening and sounded like it was going to be a right wild affair!
Vicky also told us that Yurts were being installed in the Spring, so for those wanting to have a party and looking for a quirky alternative to accommodation this glamping style Yurt will be right up your street.
Boutique Weddings on The Farm
Behind the Yurt pitch was the ‘Garden’. I mean it’s not like a typical garden, it was huge, with massive all-weather coverings the kitchen garden is home to carrots, kale, beetroot, celeriac and much more fresh and delicious produce. There really is so much to be said about the ‘from field to fork‘ mantra Vallum enstill in all of their food as it truly makes a difference to the taste.
We moved on to the tearooms which serve gluten-free goodies as well as cakes, sandwiches, soup and of course coffee and tea. We also had the opportunity to visit the production line where the pies, bread and all the other wholesale produce is made. It was so amazing and interesting to discover this side of the business too.
The final part of our tour and probably my most favourite (after the food of course) was a visit to see Rose, the Brown Swiss, typically used in dairy farming most notably cheese production. However, Vicky told us all about the heard of Swiss they used to have and sold on, but Rose was kept. Not for anything more than to be a pet on the farm. Rose is expecting a calf soon so we are keeping watch on Vallum’s twitter for the first news of her arrival!
The Farm Shop
One last stop was to the Farm shop, which sells the Mama Buci honey, pies, bread, cakes, pastries and the all-important ice cream which used to reside in the tea room but became so successful that it was moved to the Shop. Oh, they serve fish & chips too!
There’s nothing that Vicky & Peter haven’t covered and Vallum is literally for the whole family! The restaurant is currently only open on a Sunday, however, for the whole of December, they’re opening for Festive Fridays so make sure you get yourself booked on the 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd December between 6pm-9pm for the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted! You really won’t be disappointed!
Make sure you join the team at Vallum on the 19th November for their Christmas Market from 10am-4pm.
Got kids? Santa’s Tea Party is being held on the 17th December from 3:30pm-5:30pm, tickets are £10 for children & £7 for adults
Disclaimer: This meal was provided complimentary, all views are our own. Read more about disclosure here.