Thyme at Southrop
Thyme at Southrop is part of a masterplan to restore the Southrop Manor Estate to its former glory. Although only opening in spring 2010, it has already attracted enormous attention, with House & Garden magazine calling the Thyme at Southrop experience, "exceptional. Located in an award-winning, restored Tithe Barn set on the edge of an idyllic village, it's stunningly beautiful, and highly functional Bulthaup kitchens and highly professional equipment are breathtaking.” Owner Caryn Hibbert is passionate about the countryside- particularly the agriculture of Gloucestershire, which inspired a food school that goes further- a true 'field to plate' endeavour. The school is unique in having its own Farming Advisor, and benefits from both an in-house team of artisans and guest experts including Brindisa's Jose Pizarro and Whitechapel Dining Rooms' Maria Elia. Thyme at Southrop also boasts its very own pub in the village of Southrop. The Swan is run by Sebastian Snow, and has just been awarded '2010 Restaurant of the Year' by the Good Food Guide. Sebastian also hosts some of the cooking days at Thyme.
One-day courses encompass forgotten skills, 'journeys of discovery' focussing on single ingredients, with all courses working on the school's 'Five Culinary Building Blocks' principles- Sowing and Growing; Sourcing; Skills and Technique; Flavour and the “Art of the Table”. Demonstrations are combined with tastings and hands-on cooking. Menus are dictated by seasonality and ingredient availibility- topics include Seasonal Foraging or Pepper- The Spice That Changed The World.
Hands-on classes are limited to 24 people; demonstrations can take up to 30. The atmosphere is social, collaborative and interactive, with a typical course day starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m.. A late lunch is then held in the Tithe Barn or al fresco in the olive grove courtyard. Prices range from £125 to £250, with accommodation available in Southrop Manor Estate's four luxury cottages.