23 MAR 2017: Goodwood is a British sporting estate, encompassing 12,000 acres of land in rural West Sussex which includes a hotel, a horse racing venue, an aerodrome and flying school, a motor circuit and a racecourse. The headquarters of Rolls Royce Motor Cars is also on the property, so it is no wonder I woke up in a guest room at the Goodwood Hotel to the sound of honking. In fact, honking - and flapping - as there were geese outside my window. 

Goodwood Hotel describes “service by good old-fashioned manners” on property maintained by good old-fashioned aristocracy for over 300 years by Dukes of Richmond.

The present Duke’s son, the Earl of March and Kinrara founded the Festival of Speed - an annual summer event (this year June 29 to July 2), which plucks heritage cars out of museums and luxury vehicles off dealer lots for a weekend of breakouts, burnouts and door-slammers.

The Hillclimb is the undisputed highlight. The March family estate’s narrow driveway becomes the track for vehicles to gun it, with bales of hay just beyond the grass shoulders and spectators just beyond the bales. Cars run one at a time, all day long.

The Hillclimb is more show than competition and although many serious drivers are there to be timed, some just want to be there, charging their automobile or motorbike up the muddy driveway and trying to avoid contact with the stone wall along part of the track.

Outside of the Festival of Speed weekend, the Goodwood property is used for more organic purposes. For centuries the free draining chalk soil has sustained the livestock that have produced award winning beef, lamb and pork.

We were a group of 18 and the lucky recipients of a meal produced on the fields and pastures of the Goodwood estate. First we luxuriated with drinks by the fireplace of a small lounge area before being invited into a private dining room.

Large platters were laid out, with sourdough bread and flavoured butters, baked Atlantic salmon with lemon and boiled eggs, and potted mackerel and horseradish.

But that was only the initial feast, as there was a subsequent feast to follow which included beer braised beef cobbler, Swede and horseradish dumplings and a salt baked lamb shoulder with kale and roast turnips. Accompanying this was cauliflower cheese gratin, butter roasted vegetables, new potatoes, beef dripping & mustard dressed oak leaf salad with torn croutons.

Our dessert included Bramley apple oat and almond crumble with Vanilla custard but that was only the initial dessert as there was a subsequent treat to follow. Stewart Bennett of Denure Tours stood up with a dram in his hand to accept a toast for his birthday and performed a song by Andy Stewart, a tribute to a man’s adopted land of Canada and native land of Scotland. ‘Two Lands’ was a most appreciated choice for the Canadian guests in Great Britain.

 

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Pam Stellini

Pam Stellini delivers her original spin on alternate Tuesdays in her column Without Reservations. (Formerly titled, Notes from A Broad)

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