Match of the week | Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

Match of the week

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

I’ve just had a sneak preview of a very lush new B & B Langford Fivehead which opens next week (March 1st) in the Somerset Levels just outside Taunton. The building dates back to 1453 and is owned and run by former BBC Good Food editor Orlando Murrin and his partner Peter Steggall

At weekends they will also be providing supper in their splendidly baronial candlelit dining room (right). Following on from the pattern they established at their previous restaurant with rooms Le Manoir de Reynaudes in south-west France, Orlando cooks a no choice menu, country-house style, and Peter sources and pairs the wines.

This was my favourite of the matches though all were good. The meat was shoulder and leg of hogget which is year-old lamb, sourced from the Quantocks near the Somerset coast, slowly braised and served with mash and spiced Russian kale (a particularly hardy variety - just as well this winter.) It had a gorgeous, slightly gamey flavour which was perfectly offset by a dark, dusky Sicilian red Azienda Agricola Ceuso 2005, a blend of Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

I was also impressed how well the wine went with a selection of cheeses including King’s Favourite a washed-rind cheese from Dorset producer Cranborne Chase and a Welsh blue called Perl Las from Caws Cenarth - not always easy with a red.

We started with a lovely salad of smoked eel, duck egg and hazelnuts which Peter paired with a Domaine Mas Saint Laurent Picpoul de Pinet but then I know I’m always banging on about smoked eel . . .

*Incidentally - and nothing to do with food and wine matching - the house has an Aeolian harp, a box strung with harp strings that resonate in the wind and emit curious and mystical sounds. Worth going for that alone . . .

I stayed at Langford Fivehead as Orlando and Peter’s guest. Photograph by Steve Dalton.

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