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Dia de los Muertos, The Ethicurean, Wrington

Having never been one who’ve celebrated Halloween much before, this year I was surprised to find that I was getting rather excited about this years’ bash because of this wonderful menu and email that popped through my inbox.

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For one, I love The Ethicurean to bits. And just being back from the most wondrous time in Mexico, I was happy to hopefully relive my food experience of it. The night started with everyone being seated at two long banquet tables; strangely one table was full of people who were as dressed up was us – face paints on to full pelt, outfits donned; and the other table was full of people who were totally normally dressed – no costumes to any degree at all. It was almost as if there might’ve had two totally different emails that went out about the event.

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Upon sitting down, we were served a lovely short drink that I wish was explained to me the contents of; as it was delicious. The night carried on in this vein – lovely things put in front of us but with no explanation (aside the printed menus) about the concept, the history, the ideas, the thoughts behind it. Call me pedantic. But I love getting to know the thought processes of the chefs behind a meal such as this. It’s interesting!

In the middle of chats and drinks (more were ordered), the first course of blue corn nachos came out! The nachos were piled high in a huge bowl with fresh chopped coriander, onion and spices. The dips of sour cream and guacamole with more fresh coriander was brought out on another piled high dish. The guacamole was indeed heaven – chunky avocado bits is something I will never say no to! Sour cream tasted lovely and fresh, however I am personally not a fan so I only had a little taste :) I only felt like there was an element of spice missing. Salsa please! (I apologise here, my camera didn’t come out till the main course started arriving!! Which it certainly did..)

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With much gusto! Huge plates of Mexican coleslaw started filling our tables, along with refried beans, caramelised and charred pineapple and a plate piled high with corn tortillas. Phew! Then plates bigger than my face popped in front of us, full to the brim with rice (the tastiest rice that you ever did eat), corn on the cob, a giant heap of stewy pork juiciness to go with the two tacos on the plate, purple kale all topped with an edible flower. Phew again! I think I looked at all the food and was gobsmacked, for the first time I might add. I’m quite a big eater and I don’t think I have ever been gobsmacked at an amount of food, much less all off them that I know will be mighty tasty. Uh-oh! How to choose what goes in the belly!

Well, turns out it was a pretty easy decision :)

More drinks were had, and some time for that massive main course to be digested a little before the dessert was brought. Another first for me; I have also never thought that I would say “Omph, I don’t think I can finish this dessert” Never, ever ever! However the enticing milk stout pudding and especially that churro sat right in front of me overpowered my mind.. It was so delicious and definitely a highlight of the dinner, just as all the desserts at The Ethicurean always are. Maybe it needed something cold with it to add some lightness – like a simple vanilla ice cream but hey, it was still amazing ice cream or no ice cream. (Where’s the picture of the dessert Char? Well, again, ha ha, I apologise. During the mental and tummy battle of how full I was to eat this dessert, well, it got eat.. 😀  Before my camera had a chance).

Here is the point where I started getting confused – the email had also mentioned bringing pictures and photos of loved ones, where there would be Ofrendas’ – altars where we would place these pictures of our passed loved ones. Which gave the whole night a feeling of a beautiful, haunting, respectful celebration of the dead.. if it did happen. I think maybe wires were crossed; the night perhaps wasn’t clear in the middle of planning, who knows? Aside from the knowledge of great food, it was a main point of why I wanted to go to the event. So for me, it fell flat on this front. I was ready to have a moment of silence, a moment of cheer, a moment of hearty toasts with everyone, a centrepiece of the heart of the banquet which I thought was going to happen but sadly it didn’t. Pedantic you think.. maybe. But I was really looking forward to having a tiny moment of ceremony in saying hi to my loved ones that have passed. Silly, as I could do that at home in my own way. But hey, I’m a romantic maybe. I fell in love with the idea of a set aside event to pay homage to them. And I certainly was looking forward very much so, to doing that.

..which gives me an idea to set up my own one.. carry on Dia de los Muertos everyday at home. <3

Here’s a great way to end this post. My two loved ones of all time. Boo, Happy Halloween xx

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