Local tasting menu a success for Oxfordshire Convivium


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With Terre Madre day a month away, the Oxon Convivium jumped the gun, and twenty Slow Food members enjoyed the talents of Andrew Hill, chef at The Half Moon, Cuxham, a thatched 17th Century gastro pub near Watlington, Oxon.

The efforts of Eilidh Ferguson, Andrew's partner for the last 8 years, in sourcing nearly all the produce from sustainable and local growers within 10 miles, shows just what can be done.  Post aperitif, Bob Nielson, the head viniculteur at local Brightwell Vineyard, gave a history and appreciation of his local wines, to set off  the whole evening perfectly.

From the initial service, the guests were quietly astonished, and as the meal progressed slowly with the rising volume of discussion and good comments heard so positively, all knew this was a special occasion.

With high compliments from known gourmands, the evening soon proved to be a taste adventure of an exceptional nature.  ‘The best meal I have ever had' according to one guest.

A talent in the kitchen as outstanding as this deserves reward.  We await the Michelin assessor's secret visit.

Chef Bio

Andrew was offered a lucky break at 'The Dew Pond' in Burghclere, a small restaurant with three rosettes and a Michelin Bib Gourmand.  He learnt to make bread, desserts and prepared all the food from scratch alongside the Chef Patron. After 2 ½ years he moved on to a large four star hotel to gain banqueting experience.

At 21 he started working at 'The Vineyard' at Stockcross, and the brigade were awarded with a Michelin star under Billy Reid's direction. By the age of 25, Andrew got his first job as Head Chef at a new restaurant in Witney; he later moved to work for Stuart and Caroline Pierrepont at 'The White Lion' in Crays Pond as their Head Chef. Working in Pubs made Andrew realise he could cook fantastic food in an understated and informal environment.

In 2006 he decided to buy the tenancy at 'The Half Moon'. Here, he has all the freedom to rear and grow his own food, cold smoke his own salmon, source meat directly from the farmers to be butchered from whole on-site, and to create a Pub that he would love to come to!

Slow Food Dinner 10th November 2009.  Aperitif @7 for 7.30pm


Tasting Menu at The Half Moon, Cuxham

Aperitif From The Organiser, Brightwell and Kir

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Bibury Trout ‘Scotch Egg'

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Jono's Wood Pigeon Pate, Cuxham Fruit Jelly

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Potted River Thame Crayfish on Toast

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Local Rabbit Roulade,  Sage , Lemon Risotto

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Ipsden Belly Pork, Bruce's Berkshire Black Pudding, Crossroads Apple Puree, Hand Dived Cornish Scallop

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Harlesford Farm Organic Mutton Stew, Our Jerusalem Artichoke Mash

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Slow Roast Rare Ranger Beef Pavé of Rump, Garden Root Vegetable Salad

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Farleigh Wallop, Poached Waterperry Pears & Local Green Walnuts

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Lacey's Cream & Cuxham Fruit Jelly

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Sticky Damson Pudding, Toffee Sauce

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Fair Trade Coffee & Our Chickens' Meringues