Archive for the ‘Suppliers’ Category

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We are very excited to introduce Charles Heidsieck as our new house Champagne.  Chosen for its individuality, exclusivity and downright deliciousness we look forward to sharing this wonderful Champagne with our guests here at L’Ortolan.

Charles Heidsieck Logo

Charles Heidsieck was founded in 1851 by the legendary Champagne Charlie himself. Charles was a dashing figure in Champagne, known as stylish gentleman and dandy who travelled extensively selling his Champagnes to the royal courts of Europe and American high society. He famously invested in the underground cathedral-like chalk cellars under Reims, originally dug out by the Romans 2000 years ago. The cellars are a unique place to age the Champagnes (only five Champagne houses today own original Roman cellars) as they remain an ideal 10ºC throughout the year and have a perfect levels of humidity, silence and stillness. They are still used today to house all the Charles Heidsieck Champagnes as they age.



Today the Charles Heidsieck Champagnes are recognised by industry experts as some of the very best to come from Champagne and win countless awards and accolades. The winemaker Thierry Roset places great importance on the reserve wines used in the production of the non-vintage blends. The Brut Réserve contains 40% reserve wines with an astonishing average age of 10 years, and is aged a minimum of 36 months in the Roman cellars. It is a Champagne with wonderful richness, complexity and balance.

sea of bottles


In 2013 the Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve was named the number one non-vintage champagne in the world, by FINE Champagne magazine. The wine was awarded the International Wine Challenge Trophy for non-vintage champagne, the Best in Show Award from the Sommelier Wine Awards (as well as Gold and Critic’s Choice), and was the only non-vintage champagne to be awarded a Master Medal in The Drinks Business Masters.


Enjoy a chilled glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut N.V. with our celebration Champagne Lunch offer…

Champagne Lunch

Three course lunch with Chef’s appetiser and pre-dessert and a glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
£39 per person

Tuesday – Saturday lunchtimes from 1st May

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Brock Hall Farm Goats

Brock Hall Farm in Shropshire is one of L’Ortolan’s most prolific British artisan goats cheese suppliers, so we invited guest blogger Sarah Hampton to delve into the world of Pure Saanen Goats, life on the farm and the art of Artisan Cheese.

Forget the groomed, high-maintenance look. Forget immaculate nails and wearing make-up every day. Getting muddy, wearing boiler suits or hairnets and white wellies are really where it’s at. Why pay for exercise by joining a gym or booking a personal trainer when you could be up and it every morning, in the clean Shropshire air or hefting around trays of cheeses in a sweet-smelling cheese dairy?

I think you’re maybe half-convinced…

Why Goats?
I’ll never forget seeing my first Pure Saanen goats at an agricultural show in Wales 12 years ago. They were so brilliantly white, so clear of eye, so sleek and just so calm and friendly. I knew there and then that these were the animals I wanted and this was the exact breed for me. I loved the fact that they this breed originated in Holland and Switzerland and that some far-sighted, tenacious goatkeepers in the 1920s organised an import from these countries in an effort to improve the qualities of British dairy goats.

So I managed to find a young pair of these special Pure Saanen goats from a lady in Norfolk and took them round the country to shows and country fairs. I gained prizes and rosettes and made a lot of goaty friends – for goatkeepers, like me, are a down-to-earth and quirky lot. There’s nothing they believe they can’t fix with a bit of ingenuity and baler twine. And there’s very little that phases them; when you work on a farm or keep livestock, believe me, we’ve seen it all!

These two beautiful young goats (‘goatlings’ is the correct term) soon became milkers; I found a great male in North Yorkshire and drove our two a few (hundreds of!) miles up there for the romantic liaison and bobs your uncle… the kids ‘slipped out’ about 150 days later.

Being such well-bred pedigree animals, my two original goats didn’t give just a few pints of milk a day but litres and litres of the stuff. I milk-recorded my favourite one, Pallas, and in the summer she gave on average of 7.5 litres a day, from two milkings. In the course of a year, she produced nearly 1700 litres! Well, I never had any great ambition to be a modern-day Cleopatra and bathe in goats milk 24-7 so I started making cheese.

I made a fresh, lactic cheese, very much like the Fresco Angelico I make today, a Greek-type, salty salad cheese whose name we’re not supposed to mention, a kind of Cheddar, a crumbly and even a blue cheese. The experimenting was always fun and always successful. I don’t know what it is about goats milk; I just enjoy working with it. It’s like a form of appreciation of and justification for our beautiful goats.

The problem with goats, though, is that they multiply. With all that milk flowing and goats to look after, kids to feed and so on, the goat-showing had to take a back seat. I had a licence from Environmental Health to make and sell cheese, a real yearning to make the best cheese possible and what’s more, an order book that I couldn’t keep up with. The decision was: sell the goats and become a ‘normal’ wife and mother (what?) or make a go of the business.

I’d been a very successful editor, journalist and PR director so why not choose something so closely connected?



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L'ortolan Cheese TrolleyFrom today the L’Ortolan cheese trolley gets a British makeover – out with the French cheeses and in with the British. The trolley will now contain a variety of 14 different English cheeses and a Scottish blue cheese.

Head Chef Nick Chappell explains that as L’Ortolan moves forward with contemporary tasting menus it is important we support British artisan suppliers. British artisan cheese producers produce great quality cheese, as good if not better than French suppliers.

A couple of cheese suppliers can be found on L’Ortolan’s doorstep in neighbouring Berkshire towns; Village Maid in Riseley produce two of the cheese trolley’s classic soft cheeses, Wigmore and the French farmhouse style Waterloo. The Barkham Blue produced by Two Hoots Cheese is another local favourite with its rich blue taste, smooth buttery texture with a melt in the mouth flavour.

Other suppliers are sourced from all over the country, from North Yorkshire and Linconshire to the southernmost counties  including The Isle of Wight Cheese Co. with their award winning IOW Blue.

L'ortolan Goat's CheeseBrock Hall Farm in Shropshire is one of L’Ortolan’s most prolific British artisan goats cheese suppliers. Sarah and her goats supply three wonderful cheeses; Capra Nouvea, Dutch Mistress and Pablo Cabrito. Capra Nouvea was a winner of 3 Gold Stars at Great Taste Awards 2012 and named as a Top 50 Food in Great Britain 2012. This is one the Chef’s favorites and can often be found on the menu in dishes such as; Scorched Brock Hall goat’s cheese, beetroots, beetroot sorbet, soy nuts & seeds.

Foraging at L'ortolanDiners can enjoy a selection of L’Ortolan’s British cheeses as an additional course with any of the menus. The cheeses are plated with a variety of different condiments such as a truffle honey with the goat’s cheese, quince paste jelly with the blue chesse, a pear and fig chutney with the soft cheese, and a rosehip jelly with the hard cheese.

L’Ortolan Sous Chef Mark Apsey is a keen forager and when the ingredients are in season you’ll often see him around the grounds of the building and in the local area foraging for the fruit to make the chutneys and jellies to accompany the cheese.

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Big Green Egg Lortolan Demo
On Tuesday seven enthusiastic guests joined us for the Summer BBQ demonstration with Alan Murchison and Head Chef Nick Chappell. With the welcome arrival of the British summer sun, the terrace made a very pleasant setting for the event, creating a true BBQ atmosphere.

After the initial welcome, Alan introduced the guests to the Big Green Egg, a barbecue that has quickly shot to fame on our screens in recent cooking shows and has become very desirable in the finest restaurants in the UK and Europe.

The Big Green Egg is a charcoal based ceramic cooker that offers a wide range of precise cooking modes never seen before on a barbecue. It can grill, roast, smoke or bake pizzas in temperatures ranging from 80 – 400C.

Alan Murchison and his team began using a combination of large and small Eggs in the kitchen about a year ago, and were quickly won over by its diversity of cooking techniques; smoking, baking, slow cooking for a range of different dishes.

“This is the Formula 1 of barbecues. Every now and again a product comes along which redefines everything. The Big Green Egg is it.” Alan Murchison


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L'ortolan Reading Audi
Our ‘Day of Excellence’ last Friday was a huge success and attracted over 200 guests, old and new. A big thank you to everyone that attended and raised £800 for Hospitality Action in the raffle. We extend our  gratitude to our partners and suppliers who provided the afternoon with fabulous food and wine tasting and stunning displays.

Sommelier Craig welcomed guests with a glass of Pommery champagne and goodie bag before whisking them off on a tour around the restaurant to sample the many delights on offer. Our ‘behind the scenes’ team from marketing and reservations were on hand and enjoyed meeting  guests that they’d had the pleasure of previously arranging bookings for.

Upstairs in the bulthaup demonstration kitchen, Thermomix kept guests entertained with a rolling demonstration using their unique food processor – a favourite with L’Ortolan chefs and great for anyone with food allergies and intolerances.  Cacao Barry brought their popular chocolate samples from around the world whilst Peter from James Gourmet Coffee gave visitors the chance to experience the change in coffee flavour as it progressed through the brewing process.

James Gourmet Coffee L'ortolan


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