Summer Preserves & Pickling

Posted on July 05, 2017

We were delighted to welcome Sophie of Experience Nottinghamshire to the School for a celebration of summer flavours and produce. Here, she talks about her day on Lindy Wildsmith's summer preserves and pickling course ...

The School of Artisan Food is a deluxe culinary school hidden away in the depths of The Welbeck Estate in North Nottinghamshire. Since the school was founded in 2006 by two dedicated bakers, it has grown to cover a vast range of courses for all abilities, stretching from one day courses to ten month Advanced Diplomas, each under the tutelage of top national and international cooks.

I was absolutely delighted to be given the chance to try a course recently and a truly fabulous day was had by all. Exploring the courses online is really simple, and the range on offer is quite spectacular, each covering something you probably wouldn’t learn yourself at home. Along with a main focus on fermented foods (bread, cheese, beer, charcuterie), the school teaches patisserie, butchery, chocolate making and many more. It currently being the warmer months I opted for the Best of British Summer Preserves and Pickling course, which included jam making, piccalilli, and a mouth-watering elderflower cordial.

On arrival at the school I was shown upstairs to a canteen room, which felt more like a welcoming cottage of a country kitchen. Other guests were already chatting away, browsing the cookbooks, and getting stuck into the fresh coffee, fruit, bread, and preserves on offer, whilst delving into the free tote bags that contained the course information.

Our tutor was the lovely Lindy Wildsmith, author of several travel and culinary guides and the kind of lady you know you can learn a lot from. I had never made any of the creations on our list but her direction was clear, presenting the process in simple steps and sharing her knowledge along the way. It was also an absolute treat to work in such a spacious and well-equipped kitchen, and with the small class size we were able to spread out and make the most of it.

We began by mixing strawberries, sugar and lemons to make jam, mushing gooseberries for jelly, and chopping vegetables for a classic English piccalilli. Most of the ingredients were freshly plucked from the allotments at Welbeck, and the scent of the produce was distinctly more fragrant than that which you usually get at the supermarket – a good reminder to visit my local greengrocer more often!

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