I like to tell you about interesting events happening locally, and this one sounds fantastic. Chef Tim Zikki will be hosting a pop-up tapas evening this Saturday and Sunday (16/17th May) in a huge tipi, in the grounds of Hammonds End Farm, Harpenden. It’s a lovely rural location near the FoodSmiles community garden and it should be a very special experience.
Tim is calling his series of pop-up events “Duende”, which reflects the tapas nature of the food. Apparently Duende is the hardest Spanish word to translate to English but the sense is of spontaneity and passion.
Tim has run pop-ups in London and around the Chilterns, and was a Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Hero on UKTV. Since moving to the Chilterns in 2013 Tim has popped-up as The Lop-Eared Pig in an old tractor barn on a farm, and as the original guest chef of the Temperance Social Eating House in Chesham Old Town in 2014. So far Tim has taken Duende to Chesham, Ballinger, Hyde Heath, Ashley Green, Hastoe, Great Missenden, with events in Albury and Bray coming up. There are plans to make this a regular event locally and I think it would be a big success; if they can find a location in St Albans that would be great too!
I asked Tim what he plans to cook and he explained that there won’t be a set menu; instead guests will be presented with lots of little dishes, with ideas from Spanish food and from all around the Mediterranean. Tim explained: “It’s rather like when you go on holiday to a remote village and are simply brought the food that the chef is cooking that night.” Dishes will be hot and cold, and will use fresh seasonal ingredients. Tim assured me there will be plenty of choice for vegetarians and those eating gluten-free, and there will be pudding, but other than that, you will have to wait and see! Reviews on his website are glowing so I am sure the food will be delicious. You take your own wine, and the tickets are £30 per person.
Matt Dowling is the man behind the giant tipis, and told me that they are based on traditional Sami dwellings from northern Scandinavia. The tipis are constructed from solid spruce wooden poles with plenty of space for their long rustic tables and benches. If the evening gets chilly, the fire pit in the centre is quick to warm the space. You might know Matt as he is married to Jay who owns and runs Jay’s Deli in Southdown, Harpenden. Matt and business partner Paul own The Natural Tent Company and you can hire the tipi for parties if you have the space.
The tipi can fit about 80 people – the event is sold out with a waiting list on Saturday but they have added Sunday lunch too (12-5) so email email@example.com to see if places are left and to register interest for future events. I’d love this to be a regular event in the local area; more pop-ups please!
Where: Hammonds End Farm, Harpenden
When: Saturday May 16th (7-11), Sunday 17th (12-5)
T: 07947 196939