Stella Pereira is a true artist in every sense of the word. Her artistry is well known in Cambridge and the media, particularly her stunning Instagram. Stella’s artwork and culinary creations are inspired by the changing of the seasons, perfect timing for her latest À Mesa Supper Club held on 25 March. Titled “A Blossoming Spring”, the supper club (or “gathering”, as Stella prefers to call it) was held in her cosy living room. I had the honour of attending two of Stella’s previous gatherings in her home (An Autumnal Gathering) and at Espresso Library (Twelve at EL), which you can read about here and here.
We were a small group of (lucky) people who snapped up a place at À Mesa (Portuguese for “at the table”). Even though I have been to Stella’s supper clubs before, she still amazed me with her dishes, presentation and setting. It’s more than a supper club or gathering, it’s an EXPERIENCE.
Stella is a firm believer that food brings people together so the biggest part of her supper clubs is the comfortable, intimate environment where guests eat, drink, sing, laugh… and leave as friends. She serves modern Portuguese cuisine inspired by traditional ingredients (featuring staples in Portugal such as pork and salt cod) but she presents her dishes with a contemporary twist and this is where her artistic spirit really shines.
Preparations for A Blossoming Spring started way before the food and this was apparent in the little details, meticulously created to make up a truly unique experience. Stella’s tablescape was dotted with freshly picked blossoms, sliced bread (charmingly stacked in glass jelly moulds) and olives, both symbolising peace. We were intrigued by the variety of items handcrafted by Stella herself or her husband Carlos. All of the pieces on the table came together to tell a story, a reflection of Stella’s skills as a gifted food stylist.
On 11 June, I had the pleasure of participating in a tasting tour of Cambridge, organised by Cambridge Food Tour. There are a variety of tours created by Gerla de Boer, Cambridge Food Tour’s founder and passionate foodie. This one was the lunch tour, which lasted 4 hours and took us to some wonderful eateries and fascinating places, some off the beaten track. I’ve lived in Cambridge for over 6 years and Gerla showed me places I had never seen before!
It’s important to note that the places we visited on this particular tour aren’t set in stone. That’s the beauty of it… the food is seasonal and locations can vary, depending on availability.
Gerla is a vivacious and delightful host. She is not only knowledgeable about food… she animated our walk through the streets with several stops, revealing many fascinating tidbits on Cambridge’s history.
Espresso Library is a brand new addition to the list of Cambridge independent cafés. Well, it’s more than just a café (see my blog post). Apart from their amazing coffee (sourced by The Coffee Officina), rotating art exhibitions (Loukas Morley is currently the featured artist) and bright, functional space complete with Cycloc bike storage… their delicious breakfast and lunch menus are developed in collaboration with Stella Pereira, a very talented lady who approaches cooking and baking with an artist’s eye. Stella has hosted supper clubs and her culinary creations are a feast for the eyes and palate. I was lucky enough to attend her À Mesa Supper Club last year, which you can read about here.
Photo courtesy of Espresso Library
Espresso Library was the perfect venue for Stella’s “Twelve at EL” brunch this past Sunday. Paulo and I were thrilled to be two of the twelve people included in this very first one. It was nice to reconnect with some of the other food bloggers, namely Bone White China’s Alex and Sian, as well as Nazima and Pierre of Franglais Kitchen (with their two adorable kids in tow). I also got to meet Alan, the man behind the voice at Flavour (Cambridge 105’s radio show dedicated to Cambridge food and drink) and his lovely wife Helen. There were other great people there too, all of whom are fans of Stella’s creations, just like me! Some of the dishes included in her four-course brunch menu had a Portuguese twist and all featured tasty seasonal ingredients.