For Summer Solstice on 21st June in 2019, I arranged an event during Bristol’s annual food festival Bristol Food Connections that features events put on by communities and restaurants, as well as food demos and talks from well-known chefs. The invitation to my event was for people to get off work early and welcome in the summer. I took 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' as a theme to style with, working with florist Jennifer Owen and prop hire company, Rustic Rentals. We began at 3pm with James Wood, of Totally Wild UK, exploring Snuff Mills woodland for edible treasures, especially those that could be picked and taken back to be used in cocktails. I'll do a separate post about that!

A sign that reads 'Welcome, Take a seat & Enjoy the Midsummer Feast!'
Fire cooked vegetables

While the group of 15 were away in the woods, we got busy prepping the space in the willow circle at Grow Wilder, an Avon Wildlife Trust site. At this time of year everything is green and in full bloom, so that you quickly forget that the motorway and bus stops are mere metres away. I used wooden pallets on site for the tables and cushions and rugs for seating.

Tip: Between each row of pallet tables add two widths of blankets and cushions to allow extra wiggle room for guests to get up.

Some of the guests brought extra blankets and cushions with them. The tables were filled with medicine bottle floral arrangements and golden ferns and ivy collected from the local woods. (The rugs and cushions featured in the photos without people in belong to Rustic Rentals).

Outdoor feast with flowers and candles
A table setup with ivy leaves, cutlery and fabric napkins
Pallet table setup with rugs and cushions summer feast enamel plates
People sat on rugs and cushions at pallet tables summer feast
Barebones enamel deep plates with copper rims and salads
Pallet table setup with rugs and cushions summer feast

The dinner started with an introduction from Sean Williams, who is known as ‘Sean in the Woods’ on Instagram. Sean cooks at many outdoor supper clubs and has recently bought his own woodland to offer more of the same on his own turf. He combines a Michelin star background with a love for gathering people together around food in a relaxed style. We were instructed to take a handful of dough, stretch it out a bit, and then throw it straight onto the charcoal. It was very quick to cook and there were several homemade dips (with chargrilled vegetables blended in) to enjoy it with, as well as various salads and sweet potato.

bread cooked on an open fire held with tongs
People cooking bread on an open fire
Cooking on an outdoor fire
Cooking bread on an open fire
Enamel platter with fire-cooked carrots and broccoli

The final element was a home-cooked pavlova and foraged berries. For more events like this, check out Wild Folk's event page. And if you'd like to explore hiring my enamelware crockery for a look like this, please do get in touch.

A pavlova on a wooden table topped with wild cherries and raspberries
People enjoying food outdoors pallet tables enamel plates
People enjoying eating outdoors in the summer
enamel bowls and platter with vegetables and dips

Credits

Event host and organiser: Me! (Over at Wild Folk)

Flowers: Goldfinch

Props and styling: Rustic Rentals

Photography: Gem Hicks Photography

Food by Sean Williams Sean in the Woods 

Foraging: Totally Wild UK

Foraging bags by Bric Company

Venue: Avon Wildlife Trust Grow Wilder site (formally Feed Bristol)

Enamelware Crockery: That's here! And @enamelwareevents on Instagram

Wider event with Bristol Food Connections

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