It’s The Gaddum restaurant’s first Christmas and we are looking forward to continuing the traditions of festive celebration at Brockhole and making some special memories for our guests. Amongst all the preparations we take a glimpse back and imagine what The Gaddum family themselves would have been doing as they prepared for their Christmas holiday at Brockhole.
Christmas as we celebrate it today had its traditions firmly established by the time William and his wife Edith moved into Brockhole in 1889 with their children, Walter Frederick known as Jim and Elizabeth Margery known as Molly.
Edith’s cook would have started her preparations for Christmas in November, on the last Sunday before Advent, which was called ‘Stir Up Sunday’. Plum pudding batter was prepared, and the family invited into the kitchen to take a turn stirring the pudding batter. It would have then been steamed and stored for the flavours to develop. On Christmas day the pudding would be steamed again with more brandy added and then served flaming. Today The Gaddum‘s pastry chef, Zoe McCaig, is doing much the same. Zoe made her Christmas puddings back in October and has been ‘feeding’ them brandy regularity since. Her puddings may not arrive at your table ablaze – but they are guaranteed to be boozy!
The Christmas feast that the cook and her kitchen help would have prepared for the Gaddum family to sit down to had its roots in the Middle Ages, but it’s during the Victorian period that the Christmas dinner we now recognise began to take shape.
The festive feast would have consisted of several main dishes. Boar’s head, sheep’s tongue and roast pork may have been served alongside the turkey or goose!
Our head chef, Gerald van der Walt, has prepared a delicious Christmas lunch menu to delight the taste buds – no sheep’s tongue though! Gerald has opted for the traditional turkey with all the festival trimmings. It is served in the elegant setting of the Garden Room, The Gaddum’s stunning Arts & Crafts dining room where every window has a magnificent view of the lake – a picture perfect Lakeland Christmas setting.
Before dinner is served you can relax in the lounge and enjoy a festive glass of mulled wine, champagne or a festive cocktail – and pull a Christmas cracker and put on a paper hat – much as Jim and Molly may have done. After dinner you are welcome to return to the lounge to enjoy your coffee and mince pie.
Over a hundred years ago William Gaddum may have selected the family’s Christmas tree from Brockhole’s own gardens and will have instructed the gardener to set it in the hall for the family to enjoy – but not until Christmas Eve. Holly, ivy, yew and laurel will have been collected and brought indoors and Brockhole would have been resplendent with festive décor. Brockhole’s gardeners are happy to continue the tradition and once again greenery from the gardens will ‘deck the halls’ at Brockhole – but a little earlier and with some modern additions of gilded baubles and electric lights.
The Victorians transformed Christmas so that it became a family centred occasion with valued friends. The preparation and eating of the festive feast, decorations and gift giving were all essential to the celebration and were shared by the whole family. These are the same principals The Gaddum embraces today and everyone at The Gaddum is looking forward to continuing the history of celebration and will provide the most memorable backdrop for your Christmas celebration, lunch, Afternoon Tea or private party.
If we have inspired you to celebrate Christmas or host your own Christmas party with us, take a look at ‘Christmas at The Gaddum’ for more information about our Christmas dinner, festive Afternoon Tea and private Christmas party packages.