Review: The Free-Range Chef’s Pop-up Pizzeria

If you follow me on Twitter @sal_godfrey (and if not, why not?), then you’ll know that last year I set up a Twitter community for Bath’s independent businesses, #bathindiechat. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to meet all sorts of amazing people, including the lovely Beth, also known as the Free-Range Chef. A fabulous foodie, she started out freelancing for FareShare South West’s Surplus Supper Club, which gave her a taste of catering for large numbers but also opened her eyes to the huge problems of food waste. Now she’s committed to seasonal ingredients and sustainability. When she started her business Beth’s Bakes she also made a commitment to try and say yes to whatever she was asked to do, and it’s taken her on all sorts of adventures cooking for exciting events across Europe. When she’s not gadding about, she organises pop-ups and supper clubs in and around Bath, and when she invited me to her latest event – theme: pizza and puddings – it didn’t take me very long to say yes.

For January’s pop-up pizzeria, we made our way to Holt, where the village hall had been transformed into a cosy little restaurant for the evening, full of nice touches. Bright mismatched vases on the tables were filled with daffodils and pussy willow, while tealights in jam jars were placed on stacks of old hardbacks. The much-anticipated puddings were already laid out amongst fairylights and scattered physalis, and the air was full of delicious smells. We started out with three different pizzas – Somerset goats cheese & balsamic mushroom, classic margherita, and marinara with purple sprouting and pesto. They were all tasty but the goat cheese was the standout for me – a gorgeous combination with the balsamic mushrooms.

Although I loved the pizzas, it’s the puddings that stole my heart – in fact, it’s very hard to pick a favourite. We had crisp, pale pink meringues flavoured with rose and pistachio, mini pasticciotti (little filled tarts) with bergamot custard, dreamy sherry syllabub and Seville orange & cardamom brownies which tasted like they were almost pure chocolate. In keeping with her no-waste policy, Beth provided us all with little takeaway boxes to fill with our favourite delights, and I’m not ashamed to say our whole table got stuck in.

For two delicious courses, the evening was just £25 a ticket, or £20 to Holt residents (a lovely little touch I think), and you can bring along your own tipples. Beth’s menus are usually vegetarian and offer vegan and gluten-free options too, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.  We had a fabulous time and I’d thoroughly recommend getting a group of friends together for Beth’s next event! Check out her blog for more information as well as great recipes and, of course, stories of all her latest adventures…

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