WORDS WRITTEN BY KIM WILLIAMS OF LOCAL LIFE MAGAZINE AND SUMS ME UP PERFECTLY
It has been 7 years in the making but finally Amanda Farnese Heath has found home for The Mad March Hare outside with the arrival of ‘Dining In The Wild’.
Food has always been a mainstay in Amanda’s life, brought up in an Italian household, everything happened around the kitchen table. A culmination of years in a busy kitchen led to the Mad March Hare pop-ups. The idea was to find redundant kitchens and set up camp for as long as they were allowed. Amanda explains “Mad March Hare was conceived in a pub kitchen, we had no name and no idea how many folk were going to turn up because we didn’t take bookings at the time. It was the craziest opening evening ever imagine and was completely heaving, myself and the guys in the kitchen just managed to pull it off! Mad March Hare was born!”
Mad March Hare organises magical foodie events reminiscent of Amanda’s childhood days. She focuses on small specialist food and drink launches, outdoor promotions, small exclusive weddings and long, slow wild dinners, which are mainly outdoors, in secret, beautiful and remote locations, where Amanda’s love of sharing big plates of rustic, delicious food comes into its own. Amanda says “When I started popping up in the beginning inside kitchens with bad lighting, (strip lighting really effects my mood), I loved the idea of what I was doing, but it never felt like it was completely me. It took time to realise that somewhere In my soul was the joy of being outdoors, in a warm climate seated at a long table in an olive grove, enjoying a rustic feast with friends. But I live in Scotland and it’s cold, yet, I thought why not? Let’s give it a go.”
The first Wild Dining event launched last October, with a seven-course meal served over four hours in a chilly, yet beautiful, Autumnal Forest in Scotland. Amanda adds “The ground was covered in pine needles it was like an outdoor carpet, soft and smelt divine, the tall trees protected us from the westerly wind, and even the candles stayed alight. There was no kitchen or walls to restrict me and the whole evening felt like a dream.”
Each menu is planned around the seasons, the location and the tastiest ingredients Amanda can find. There is always something extra to make each event magical and memorable; be it a forage along the seashore, screening an outdoor movie, or a classical ensemble. Amanda explains “If there’s a forage beforehand, for example, seaweed, we will make sure one of the dishes includes that ingredient. Although, I’m mindful that not everybody will enjoy a whole menu of seaweed because it might be a first taste for some people.”
The food is not fussy, it’s simple, delicious and tasty. It is mainly cooked over fire to enhance flavour and is served slowly throughout the evening so guests can enjoy each course and absorb the magic. And it really is magical – long tables beautifully decorated, stunning locations – Scotland and Wild Dining works, you just need to wrap up warm. Although Amanda can help with that as well “For our first event, I made some cashmere pockets from an old jumper I never wore, and I tucked hand warmers inside if anybody needed them!”
The first event was always going to be a challenge, especially in Scotland, and in October, but following months of planning, the day had finally arrived. Amanda and her Mad March Hare team set to work, transporting their beautiful vintage long table, and settling it in the forest. At the mercy of the weather, on a particularly windy day, nestled amongst the protection of the beautiful East Lothian tall Fir trees, ‘Dining in the Wilderness’ was born.
The evening commenced with an amazing Mushroom forage and talk by the queen of Foraging herself, Monica Wilde, before cooking these delicious mushrooms over an open fire for the start of the feast.
The creative genius behind ‘The Mad March Hare’ is Amanda Farnese Heath who blends her styling and food experience together to craft visually inspiring events and experiences that centre on food, wine and the great outdoors. Amanda can often found exploring the great outdoors, with her husband Simon, to come up with new places and ways to serve ‘dinner in the wild’. Amanda’s background as commercial food stylist, photographer and yoga teacher sets her apart from her competition. Should you be looking to venture further afield, Amanda also organises foodie/yoga retreats around the world.
To find out about all of the Mad March Hare’s events in 2019/20 or to become a food sponsor