The annual staff party took place last month. For the past 3 years Season +Taste have traded a traditional Christmas do for a Sunday in the Welsh hills, to coincide with the Abergavenny food festival.
This year the shindig would be bigger than ever, with 50 or so of the Season+Taste team setting off early in the morning along the windy lanes of South Wales to the heart of the beautiful, if yet soggy, Breacon Beacons.
First stop, as always, was the Angel Hotel for a morning fix of Oysters and Champagne, and orange juice for the more sensible amongst us.
We spent the morning exploring the festival and sampling all it had to offer, tempura soft shell crab, outrageously spicy Padron peppers, local cheeses as well as one or two local beers. In the meantime, our beloved Sara Sanna was representing Masa+Mezcal at the festival’s drink stage by giving her first talk at Abergavenny Food festival, an introduction to the world of Mezcal. Sara has visited Mexico twice in search of all things Mezcal, and has just set off on her third visit – she is fast becoming an authority on the spirit, if you want to find out more you will find her at Masa + Mezcal, where she is always happy to share her love of the drink!
By late afternoon it was time to reconvene and head up the hill in convoy to Kieran and Imo’s cottage, https://www.welshmountaincottage.com/. It is hard to explain quite how hidden away this cottage is, and quite how long it takes to shuttle 50 people up there…. But when you get there and are greeted with a frozen margarita, everything makes sense. Tasha, Kieran, Mark, Fee and Sara had been hard at work setting up fires to keep us warm and shelters to keep us dry, as well as testing Jose’s beer, brewed especially for the occasion. The cottage had been transformed into a great party venue, with beer hanging in trees and straw bale seats all around, in true Season+Taste hospitality style, the atmosphere was great.
Once everyone had arrived it was time to get down to the Season+Taste championships, with each site vying for the Season+Taste cup. Reigning champions Cantina were desperate to retain their crown but would face stiff competition from the rest.
The welly wanging was won comfortably by Bravas’ Ally but things stepped up a gear once the homemade ping pong tables were in place and the nominees from each site were sent into battle….
These games went on for such a long time and were fought so fiercely that the championships were totally derailed, with the quiz and karaoke events long forgotten as we played until the light faded.
After all that ping pong, everyone was in need of something to eat. Luckily there was an absolute feast waiting for us in the barn that was light with strings of lights and candles. Kieran and Cas had been hard at work grilling prawns, scallops, steak and we were treated to cured meats, cheeses and copious amounts of focaccia from Angel bakery.
To round off dinner, the chefs from all 5 sites had been tasked with making the most delicious pudding possible, with everyone hoping to take home points for the championships. Cantina threw away their chances at back to back championship titles with a Colin the Caterpillar entry, Bravas, Gambas and Masa all went for boozy desserts – with the mezcal hot chocolate proving very popular. But there was only one winner in the end: Brett’s creation, a delicious pumpkin, chocolate & olive oil cake topped with burnt cinnamon cream and chocolate brittle.
With dinner done, it was time for Tasha to go on her traditional hunt for the lost band. The 45’s, a 60’s rock and roll band had a little bit of a tricky time finding us but were well worth the wait! Thankfully, there are no known photos of the dancing, but it is safe to say that everyone worked off most of their dinner during the set.
Towards the end of the set Kieran, Mark and Jose snuck up the hill to prepare for the almighty firework display. The grand finale to a long day of enjoying ourselves did not disappoint, but did mark the end of an incredible party that nobody wanted to end. Exhausted and exhilarated the team headed back down the hill, and back to reality. Everyone but a small group, who were treated to an incredible karaoke performance from Sara late into the night – with her rendition of ‘Aladdin’ a definite highlight!
After a hard-worked summer, and the festive season approaching, Aber-FEAST couldn’t have come at a better time to unite the whole company and indulge in the fantastic hospitality that we so often provide but this time enjoyed!
Oh and who won the championships you ask?…Plot Twist, Masa+Mezcal were named this years champions thanks to chef Mark Coldham’ s fantastic spontaneous acoustic guitar set during dinner!