As the yellow Chinese dragon reared its head and the drumming of the band became more frenzied, passers-by stopped to stare at the spectacle threading its way through Manchester’s busy streets. Behind the dragon was a formation of British and overseas members of the International Richemont Club, on their way to a special Chinese banquet to kick off a three-day gala, hosted by the British members.
Around 90 top patissiers and chocolatiers from 10 different countries came to enjoy a special series of events, hosted by the British Richemont Club and its president Dawn Van Rensburg. Together with patissiers John Slattery and Liz Davidson, the event, which took two years to plan, saw guests tour historic Manchester and then visit Waterfields Craft Bakery of Leigh, where sandwich demonstrations included a Lancashire Cheese and Real Ale Chutney Sandwich, winner of the ’New Sandwich of the Year’ accolade at the British Sandwich Awards.
After a superb buffet, everyone moved on to the famous Old Trafford football ground, to tour the home of Manchester United, or else visit local bake-ries in town.
In the evening, a fantastic dinner took place in Manches-ter’s gothic-style town hall, where guest numbers swelled to 140 and included many sup- pliers. The decorative table-tops were all hand-crafted by Slattery’s and featured a patissier at work. Entertainment was provided by a young opera singer and a ’swing singer’ of the rat pack era.
Further visits took place to Chatwins Craft Bakery at Nantwich and two of Chatwins’ shops, hosted by joint MD Trevor Mooney. Both shops had cafés and visitors saw a superb array of baked goods in the well-stocked outlets.
The final visit was to Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier in Whitefields, where international members started taking photos of the celebration cake window display before they had even entered the building - a converted Victorian pub.
Following a buffet lunch, there were workshops representing the four corners of the British Isles: Irish potato breads by Robert Ditty, Welsh cakes by Dawn Van Rensburg, Scottish shortbread by Ben Milne, and English breads by Chris Rose.
In addition, Stephen Hallam demonstrated hand-raised pies and Slattery staff showed sugarpaste modelling and chocolate work.
The visit ended with a medieval dinner at the 14th-century manor house, Samlesbury Hall, near Preston, where guests expressed their thanks for the marvellous tours, demonstrations and hospitality.
=== Waterfields’ recipe ===
Lancashire Cheese & Real Ale Chutney Sandwich
(The British Sandwich Association New Sandwich of the Year Winner 2007)
This sandwich is based on the tradition of eating fruit with cheese at Christmas
== Ingredients ==
Vine fruit bread (contains 25% fruit - sultanas 15%, currants 10%) 2 slices
Real ale chutney 20g
Lancashire cheese 2x 30g slices
Black pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves and rocket to taste
== Method ==
1. Butter two slices of the vine fruit bread. This creates a barrier and stops the bread from going soft.
2. Spread 20g of the real ale (traditional beer) chutney on one slice of bread.
3. Add two slices of creamy Lancashire cheese (white mild).
4. Season with black pepper.
5. Add mixed lettuce leaves and rocket to balance for a more bitter taste.
=== Sponsors of the British Richemont Club gala event included: ===