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The Lost Orchard: A French chef rediscovers a great British food heritage


8 Reviews

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Trees, wildflowers & plants

An enchanting book about the orchard that Raymond Blanc planted in the Oxfordshire countryside. Full of ancient varieties of fruit, each one is celebrated through anecdotes and recipes, weaving a rich story about our country's past.

'Blanc set about the most thorough apple-tasting and cooking project I have heard of . . . [The Lost Orchard] condenses the highlights, his love letters to the forgotten apple breeds.' The Times

'I began to dream about an orchard filled with thousands of fruit trees... Today we have an orchard with over 150 ancient varieties of apple. Each one has its heritage in a village or a county that used to thrive on that particular variety. They tell the story not only of what we have lost in Britain but also what we could regain.'

Over the past seven years, Raymond Blanc has planted an orchard of 2,500 trees in the grounds of his hotel-restaurant in Oxfordshire. Yielding about 30 tonnes of fruit for his kitchen each year, it is full of ancient and forgotten varieties of British apples and pears, along with walnut trees, quince, medlars, apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, damsons and cherries. A further 600 heritage fruit trees have been added from Raymond's home region of Franche-Comte in France.

The Lost Orchard is a love letter to each of these varieties, complete with beautiful black and white drawings, photographs of Belmond Le Manoir and fascinating information and anecdotes about each fruit, along with recipes and stories.

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Praise for The Lost Orchard: A French chef rediscovers a great British food heritage

  • The recipes are lovely. . . [The Lost Orchard] is about Blanc's love of orchards and how he established one in England . . . It's also a guide to the varieties of apple, pear, fig, quince and stone fruit he has planted . . . offering tasting notes and history for each. As useful for gardeners as for cooks. - The Telegraph - One of their Top 20 cookbooks of the year 2019

  • Raymond Blanc has created a garden haven at his Le Manoir restaurant in Oxfordshire . . . keenly aware of the perilous state of heritage apples, pears, cherries, medlars and quinces, he was determined to add an orchard of forgotten fruits to his ensemble. This magical book describes his quest and the hard work needed. - Simple Things

  • The legendary chef opens the door to a living library of lost varieties of heritage English fruit in a treasury of recipe and reflection. - Waterstones Weekly

  • Blanc says [apples are] . . . the root of everything. A kind of symbol for Britain to move forward by reconnecting with the past. - The Times

  • Blanc set about the most thorough apple-tasting and cooking project I have heard of . . . [The Lost Orchard] condenses the highlights, his love letters to the forgotten apple breeds. - The Times

  • Beautifully written by our favourite French chef, these recipes are inspired by Raymond Blanc's love of the British orchard. It's a love affair with apples and a bit of history, too. - Closer

  • A beautifully presented recipe guide that doubles as a nostalgic paean to the heritage and provenance of forgotten varieties of British fruit, Blanc's latest volume is much, much more than just a cookbook. Adorned with evocative black and white drawings and a treasury of anecdote, The Lost Orchard is a sumptuous feast for the senses. - Waterstones

  • More than a cookbook, this is a love letter to the English orchard, [Raymond Blanc] writes tenderly about the hundreds of varieties he has planted in his orchard at Le Manoir, each as precious to him as a much-loved child. - Sunday Times Best Food and Drink Books 2019

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Raymond Blanc is acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. Completely self-taught, his influence on gastronomy has been so great that he is the only chef to have been honoured with both an OBE from Britain and the equivalent of a knighthood from France. His beautiful hotel restaurant, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, has retained two Michelin stars for over 30 years and has been voted the UK's No 1 hotel and Food Hotel of the Year by the Hotelier Awards. Raymond has written more than ten books and presented many television shows. He is also Culinary Director for Eurostar Business Premier, Chef Director of the Arsenal Diamond Club and Brand Ambassador to Kenwood for their kitchen appliances in the UK and Asia.

Raymond is renowned for his passion for seasonal, sustainable and organic produce. When sourcing food for Le Manoir, he makes sure to know everything about its provenance. With his gardeners, he has cultivated herb beds, a two-acre vegetable garden, a mushroom valley and heritage orchard. Raymond champions an ethical approach to cooking with sourcing and seasonality at the heart of it. He is involved in many movements and is honorary President of The Sustainable Restaurant Association and Vice President of Garden Organic.

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