Winchester’s Heritage Open Days 2021 are back – and this year’s theme is Edible England.
Starting today (Friday 10 September) and running until Sunday 19 September, this is your chance to celebrate and explore the city’s history and heritage by touring its glorious buildings and green spaces (some normally closed to the public) completely free; while also savouring many interesting and fascinating food experiences too.
Not only will lectures, films, walks and tours, workshops, kids activities and more (online and in person) focus on the area’s culture and architecture, but our favourite dishes and shared love of food will be honoured also.
Here are some of the items on the events menu that piqued our interest:
1, Let’s start with dessert and for much of the festival (check dates), Inn the Park presents Winchester Deserves… Cake – an exhibition by internationally renowned artist, David Ferry, who combines heritage landmarks with delicious sweet treats to create mouth-watering pieces of art. Take the secret staircase to find the hidden gallery.
2, 2TimeTheatre explore the significance of food in Jane Austen’s letters and novels in Pies and Prejudice about two characters, Jenny the cook and Charlotte the lady of the house, who share their thoughts on food, health, gardening and marriage. Staged at the Mayor’s Residence, Abbey House, due to popular demand the show is currently fully booked – but there is a waiting list that you can join as the organisers hope to release more tickets.
3, If you enjoy testing out the local delicacies on holiday, why not join students from the University of Winchester for Edible Cultures of Winchester, as they speak to the city’s international communities about what they like to eat, and who will also share exciting and delicious recipes for you to try at home. A series of blog posts will be released during the festival on the Cultural Heritage and Resource Management website.
4, Ever heard of the Winchester Pudding? Now the head lecturer of Rick Stein’s Cookery School reveals the secrets behind the dish the TV chef created, based on a 1906 recipe – with mixed spice, Grand Marnier and butterscotch sauce. The film will be available throughout the festival on the Winchester Heritage Open Days Youtube channel.
5, Interested in learning how to grow your own? Incredible Edible Winchester Community Allotment will show you how to save seeds and share them with loved ones on a tour on Saturday 11 September. Or, on the following Saturday (18 September), the Winchester and District Allotment Holders Society will ‘open’ their 100 plots bursting with beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables. Plus, visit the sheep grazing areas and bee hives.
6, Join Lady Foxley (played by historical interpreter, Patricia Silver-Warner) on the cathedral green for Medieval Cookery classes, on Sunday 12 September. She’ll explain what to prepare for the confused medieval traveller, going through recipes of the day and what’s in the larder. Audience participation is encouraged.
7, Keeping with food history now, and two Winchester College boys have delved in to the archives and interviewed former pupils to record Trenchers and Teapots, exploring the history of ‘school food’ at the boarding school, including 14th century celebrations and hardship during the wars. Available from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 September from the Hampshire HistBites podcast.
8, Also hear how in 1403 Winchester was chosen to host a lavish royal Wedding Feast for the new King Henry IV and his bride – and see it partially recreated by medieval historians Professor Chris Woolgar and Dr Ellie Woodacre (as the menu from this luxurious celebration survived). All will be revealed during a Zoom talk with them on Wednesday 15 September.
9, Plus, if you have expensive tastes, Rick Stein’s shellfish masterclass might be just for you. His restaurant will be conducting sessions – with an emphasis on oysters – on the cathedral green tomorrow (Saturday 11 September).
10, But, if you’d rather a tipple, learn how to make cocktails with Bombay Sapphire Distillery’s virtual class. From today (Friday 10 September) until Sunday 19 September, Senior Brand Ambassador Sam Carter will teach you about the history and production of gin – and more importantly, give you the tips and tricks to make the perfect g&t – from the comfort of your own home. His tutorial is available on Youtube.
Or head to the independent, family-run Stratton Lane Brewery, tomorrow (Saturday 11 September) or next Saturday (18 September) for a micro tour. Barnaby will give you an insight in to how they brew their ales, combining tradition with modern processes, and there may be a complimentary taster on offer too.
Finally, make sure to check the Winchester Heritage Open Days website for all dates, times, and to book events – and please remember to respect any recommendations that individual attractions and events have in place to keep yourself and others safe by helping prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Last updated date: 10 September 2021