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Saturday, 2 January 2010

Hampton Court Palace -King's Kitchen /ハンプトン・コート・パレスの王さまのキッチン

We went to Hampton Court Palace today.  It is located just outside of London, not too far from Wimbledon.  It took about half an hour by train, from Waterloo.  It was very cold (around 1c!), but the sky was clear, and it felt like a proper winter day - reminded me of the winter days in Tokyo.


This palace used to belong to Henry VIII, who is known mostly for his six wives.  Apparently, according to the extremely knowledgeable staff, he was a gentle king, and used to be a very handsome young man.  It is not very easy to believe..


The rooms and the halls of the palace were beautiful and interesting, as was the garden - even in winter time.  It was vast!!  I felt like coming back in summer, though it would be very crowded for sure.


Well, actually..  my main objective for visiting this place was in its kitchen.  They were having a special once-a-month cooking demonstration.  Mutton, not lamb, as the gentlemen "chefs" explained, was grilled over open fire, for a loooong time.


They used to roast such meat for everyone- including servants, while Henry VIII stayed here, using great open fires. The kitchen was filled with a lovely aroma of grilled meat, and the warmth from the fire.


Just like the other staff, the people here were very knowledgeable, and answered almost any question.  I asked them if they had a chef or academic background - and surprisingly, these 'actors' were more or less all "enthusiastic amateurs".


After the lengthy preparations, they all got seated and showed us how people use to eat and drink, in the 16th century.  It was very interesting - the only thing is..  I wish we could have tasted them too!!


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