The Power of the Plant

Have you heard about our new vegan tasting menu at Forge? We’ve got to say it’s rather delicious! A nine-course tasting menu, full of freshly grown produce from the estate’s restored Kitchen Garden and surrounding land.

We’re talking wild garlic, woodland sorrel and fresh root veggies, all finding its way onto the dishes served at Forge. The menu will change seasonally but for now expect exquisite winter dishes, such as; beetroot tartar, heritage carrots, grilled cauliflower and one of our favourites, spiced squash, pumpkin seeds and leeks.

As we’re in the winter months, the menu is limited to what has been preserved after harvest, but thanks to the installation of the polytunnel, our chefs can grow produce that needs a warmer environment to grow, throughout the year. Come early Spring, the menu will change again focusing on produce that is ready to be picked at this time of year.

We took a seat by the fireside at Forge, tasting each of the nine courses, served on handcrafted ceramic pots with the most sensational vegan wine you really could ask for. The most magical part? You couldn’t tell the dishes were plant-based, from the charred broccoli, Jerusalem artichoke to the blackberry mess (yes with homemade egg-free meringue), there’s absolutely no compromises here.

Our estate sommelier, Lewis Allport, has also created a vegan wine flight to complement each dish, we caught up with him, over a glass of wine (of course!) to find out how he’s created the new vegan wine flight…

Can you tell us a little bit about the vegan wine flight as we’re super excited to try it!

Of course, so it’s basically six glasses of wine which have been handpicked to sit alongside Gareth’s menu. Starting with a glass of Argentinian wine, a traditional method from Ruca Malen, a producer whom is committed to sustainable viticulture and vegan wine. The flight then moves onto some classic and emerging appellations. A bone-dry herbaceous Sancerre to go with the broccoli and an off dry Marlborough Riesling for the cauliflower and sea vegetables dish.

Lewis, when we’ve tried to read up on vegan wine, we’ve really struggled to find anything! Where on earth have you managed to source the vegan wines for the Forge wine flight from?

Sourcing the wine has been interesting, I’m lucky enough to work with a range of local and national suppliers who have access to so many great wines who have helped with the process. There’s plenty of good vegan wines available but we’re about finding those unique, one-of-a-kind wines, which must also must with Gareth’s dishes.

Having never tasting a vegan wine before, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference in the texture or fragrances of the wine. What would you say the noticeable differences are?

That’s good, there shouldn’t be a difference really. The main difference is the way it’s made, each wine needs to be clarified and to do this most makers usually use a protein which contains isinglass, basically it’s a protein from fish bladders, they can in some cases use gelatine too! Vegan wine is created using a vegan friendly replacement ingredient, however producers don’t always like to declare the clarifying agent that’s why its difficult to source guaranteed vegan wine.

If you’re looking to taste the estate and try our new wine flight, please call us on 01325 377977 to make a reservation for Forge. Open for evening reservation only from Wednesday to Saturday.