Two weeks ago, on a beautiful spring Sunday, along with some charming ladies from Chelsea, I attended the spring edition of a Dinner to Dye For, a workshop hosted by Here Today Here Tomorrow, a London-based a collaborative and experimental shop/studio showcasing sustainable fashion and accessories. Dinner to Dye For is a project of the Permacouture Institute, a San Fransisco and London-based educational organisation for regenerative design in fashion and Textiles. The workshop was hosted by the lovely Katelyn Toth-Fejel, Emma Rigby and Anna-Maria Hesse.
The workshop took place in the gardens of Hackney City Farm, a bucolic oasis in east London. Dinner to Dye For is part dye workshop, part celebratory meal, both based on seasonal foraged plants. The dyes used were dock (sorrel) root, nettle and onions skins, and rhubarb leaves, used as a mordant. We made shibori bundles of strips of silk and wool using shaped wooden blocks. It was truly lovely to share an afternoon of good company and getting one's hands dirty.
The part of the day I enjoyed most was the meal, which was delicious and fresh: rosehip fizz cocktails, stinging nettle and sussex slipcote cheese crostini with sorrel butter, beet with red onions, mint and horseradish cream, nettle spaetzle with chickpea fritters, and for desert lemon pots with poached rhubarb - a spring feast!
All the food was amazing, and made me think back to childhood suppers at my grandparents farm, where we often ate foraged foods - spring salads of dandelion leaves, fiddleheads and sorrel. Stinging nettle grows in abundance at their farm, and as children, we definitely had painful brushes with it, but I do not recall eating it. I will now! The rosehip fizz cocktail, in particular was a revelation which I cannot quite describe, but suffice to say, I will be attempting to recreate it for myself.