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Pierreponts at Home

Pierreponts at Home

As we hope you’re learning from reading our blog, Pierreponts is so much more than just a café. If you love our food and style of cooking, then you might like to know about about Pierreponts at Home. We describe it as stress-free entertaining, from our kitchen to yours. And that’s exactly what it is.

Party time

Whether it’s an intimate dinner party or a large event, we are able to provide delicious food so that you can concentrate on enjoying your guests’ company and not stressing in the kitchen.

Over the years we’ve provided food for a wide range of events, from corporate canapé receptions to sports day picnics. We’ve catered for christenings and funerals, as well as events including Henley Regatta.  Our largest booking to date is for a wedding this summer for 200 guests.

Time for dinner

If it’s hot food that you’d like, then we offer a selection of mains including lamb tagine, fish pie and aubergine parmigana. All are served with seasonal vegetables or salad. We can also provide starters, including potted crab and soup with homemade bread. And if you’ve room for dessert after all that, we have a range of sweet tarts such as rich chocolate, glazed lemon and almond with seasonal fruit.

We provide a lot of food for dinner parties – perfect for when you want to entertain but don’t have the time or the inclination to spend hours in the kitchen. Some of our customers ask for the food to be put on their own dishes so that they can pass it off as their own! Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with us.

Salad selection
Eating al fresco

Being so close to the river, we are often asked to provide picnics during the summer months. Popular choices are our savoury tarts with a selection of tasty salads, followed by one of our famous cakes – and we have a dozen flavours from which to choose.

If you’re already thinking ahead to your school sports day, then we’d be happy to help provide a delicious picnic for you. We also give a 10% donation to your school association as a thank you for choosing us.

Afternoon tea

Our afternoon tea parties are very popular particularly for weddings and birthdays. We provide freshly-made sandwiches, homemade scones and our delicious cakes. We can also put you in touch with local companies who hire out vintage china if that’s the look you’re going for.

Delivery and other services

Like the café, our style is very casual and informal, so we don’t provide staff. Instead, we will deliver the food and set it up to your requirements. If you have ordered hot food, it will be delivered chilled and we provide clear instructions for how to reheat it. Delivery is free within a five-mile radius. Beyond that we are happy to deliver to any address in the area for a charge.

If you require additional crockery or cutlery then let us know and we can arrange hire at an additional cost. We can also provide special occasion cakes to give your event the wow factor.

For a large event, do get in touch sooner rather than later but for smaller gatherings of up to 20 people, we can normally provide food with just 48 hours’ notice.

The Pierreponts at Home menu can be found here. This is just a starting point though listing some of our most popular choices. So do get in touch with your ideas as we’re very happy to provide dishes that suit you and help you create the perfect party.

If you’d like more details or have a chat about how we can help then please call Steph or Linda on 01494 874464 or email steph@pierrepontsgoring.co.uk

Saturday Stalwarts

Saturday Stalwarts

If you’ve been to Pierreponts on a Saturday morning, chances are you’ll have spotted a stack of bikes outside and inside two tables full of chattering people with rosy cheeks – one lot top to toe in lycra, the other in muddy walking boots. They are the weekend walkers and cyclists, and they are just as much a part of Pierreponts as the cakes.

The cyclists

Goring residents Paul and Mark have been Pierreponts customers since the cafe opened back in 2008. Every Saturday morning, they meet their fellow cyclists in the Catherine Wheel car park at 8am then set off on a two-and-a-half-hour bike ride which always ends for them at Pierreponts.

‘It’s our spiritual home,’ Paul explains. The two men have cycled together for around 20 years, first on mountain bikes but now on road bikes. They enthuse about how wonderful the area is for cycling – quiet country lanes, some challenging hills and glorious views aplenty.

Over two decades, they have seen a huge increase in the number of cyclists on the roads in Oxfordshire. ‘We used to ride to Henley and not see another rider,’ Paul recalls. ‘Now we’ll see around a hundred or so.’

They describe their Saturday morning jaunt as a social ride, and it certainly is with around half a dozen of them usually ending up in Pierreponts for breakfast. And what’s their post-ride breakfast of choice? ‘Bacon sandwich,’ Paul responds in a heartbeat. ‘And coffee.’ For Mark it’s a bacon sandwich too. ‘And sometimes a doughnut,’ he smiles.

The walkers

As the cyclists are unclipping their pedals and taking off their helmets, another merry band is arriving to refuel – the walkers. I squeeze onto a table with Joëlle, John, Judy, Bernard, Ernst, Liz and Jo, who are all keen ramblers as well as friends for longer than any of them dares to remember.

The seven friends met through a shared love of exploring the countryside on foot. They get together every Saturday morning at 9am for a circular walk around Goring, starting and finishing at the Rectory Garden. Whatever the weather, they complete four-or-five-mile route (‘which always includes a hill,’ Joëlle adds) before descending on Pierreponts 90 minutes later for breakfast and a lot of chatter. This lot like to walk but they really like to talk!

Their enthusiasm for Pierreponts is huge, and they are all regulars – not just on Saturday mornings but throughout the week too. They particularly like coming for an early supper on a Friday evening before heading out to one of the Goring Jazz events.

The Saturday-morning walk is just one of nine which take place each week under the banner of Goring Gap Health Walks. There are walks to suit everyone, with different levels of difficulty and distance. The weekend walks tend to attract around 20 walkers but during the week there can be as many as 40.

The benefits of walking in a group are huge – it’s sociable, great for your physical and mental health, and it’s free too. Each walk is led by a trained leader so you can rest assured that you’re in safe hands.

Back at Pierreponts it’s time for breakfast, and the walkers feast on kippers, porridge, granola and French toast. ‘I was ill recently,’ Jo tells me, ‘and I had to miss the walks. But I really missed the breakfasts!’

For more information about the walking group, visit www.goringgapwalks.co.uk

 

Meet the supplier: Vicars Game

Meet the supplier: Vicars Game

In our first ‘Meet the supplier’ focus we’re talking with Vicars Game who supply all our meat. We love working with them because they are able to supply a broad range of wonderful fresh local meat produce, and our customers often comment on the quality.

The word Vicars is synonymous with good quality meat in Berkshire and the surrounding area. William Vicars and Son was established in Reading in 1886, and the butchers shop stayed in the family for three generations. It was bought by Alan Hayward, a pork butcher and pie maker by trade who trained at Griffins in Newbury, in 1973. Hayward has owned the business since then – Vicars Game, as it is now known.

A growing business

Over the past 45 years, Hayward has expanded the business from a single shop to a huge enterprise which has more than 50 employees and operates 24 hours a day, six and a half days a week. ‘We decided to go into catering,’ he explains, ‘and it grew, and grew, and grew.’

Today, Vicars supplies meat and game to butchers, catering companies, wholesalers and retailers, as well as around 150 pubs, hotels and restaurants, including Pierreponts. From Monday to Saturday, seven vans are sent out twice a day delivering produce in a 60-mile radius of Vicars’ base in Ashampstead, near Newbury.

Only the best

Daily deliveries ensure that the meats you are served at Pierreponts are super fresh. ‘It’s important that we talk to them about what’s on the menu and why so we can, for example, ensure the bacon is of the right thickness,’ says Hayward. ‘Our relationship is really important and we talk to them regularly.’

But however much the business may have expanded, quality is absolutely key, as Hayward explains. ‘We buy the best quality meats we can from three local suppliers – nothing second rate – so it just sells itself.’ For example, they only use female pigs as they are bigger than male and produce better bacon. All their beef is under 24 months old, and the vast majority of game they sell, including pheasant, partridge, rabbit and deer, come from the countryside surrounding Ashampstead.

The big three

Vicars’ three biggest products are venison, bacon and, the biggest of them all, sausages. Each day, around two tonnes of sausages in a range of 50 flavours are made on the premises. The company also makes black and white pudding to their own recipe. In fact sausages have been key to the Vicars’ most recent innovation – Casey Fields Farm Shop.

Shop talk

‘I never intended opening a shop but there was a demand for sausages,’ Hayward explains, ‘so I put in a counter in our office at Ashampstead. That got busy so I put in two counters. Then I converted one of the offices and put a shed out the front for veg.’ And so it continued, with the shop expanding more offices were built to create extra space and most recently a café has been added.

‘We want people to be able to get everything they need,’ he adds. And indeed you can – cheese, cooked meats, fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables are all for sale, as well as bakery products. Hayward now has plans to expand the café and put in a play area for children. ‘I’m going to get some meerkats too – I love them!’

Meat today

With a career spanning decades, Hayward has seen big changes in how people buy meat. ‘The main difference is people only buy portions now, not the big piece of beef that they roast on a Sunday, which lasts for three more days. And there’s very little demand for offal any more,’ he bemoans, but tastes are changing. ‘With all the cookery programmes on TV, cooking has become entertainment and people are becoming more adventurous. People are eating more venison, guinea fowl and corn-fed chickens than ever.’

www.vicarsgame.co.uk

Casey Fields Farm Shop is off Dog Lane in Ashampstead, RG8 8SJ