Spring always brings a great sense of anticipation and now that the season is well and truly with us, we’re busy behind the scenes anticipating and planning Taste of Wisley’s summer Herbfest. Once again we are working with renowned herb authority Jekka McVicar and this year are taking a less-width, more-depth approach to selecting herbs to feature in our displays and on the menus.
Wisley Herbfest visitors will be able to compare and contrast four different varietals of four of the most popular and useful culinary herbs. Jekka has come up with some intriguing ideas.
The basils, for example, will include ‘Dark Opal’, which has dark purple leaves with the scent and flavour of cloves – it makes a brilliant pannacotta.
We’ve opted for ‘Orange’ thyme, because the small grey-green leaves have a great warm spicy flavour that works as well with chicken as it does in treacle tart. Lemon variegated thyme on the other hand has a strong lemon scent and taste that is lovely with fish – but we will be sneaking it into our bakery’s Lemon Thyme Cupcakes as well!
I’m looking forward to trying 'Barbecue' rosemary on the grill – it has a very upright habit that makes it perfect for skewering meats. ‘Sudbury Blue’ is a pine-flavoured rosemary that is good with fatty meats like pork and duck, as well as vegetables. We will be using common rosemary in our luscious caramel oranges dessert.
Herbfest will also see the launch of some delicious new herb breads from Wisley bakery, so there is much to do, and much to look forward to. The nursery is seeding the herbs now and I am planning the displays so that you will find it easy to run your hands through the leaves and experience the fascinating range of scents. We look forward to welcoming you.
Herbfest takes place in June, July and August. For more information on events at RHS Garden Wisley please click here.
Recipes from the Wisley Herb Garden, sponsored by Witan Investment Trust are available for free online.