According to Wikipedia, Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This dry description leaves out that it’s the tradition of gathering with your family and friends – and Thanksgiving in London at Aqua Shard was something even more special again. Disclosure – this time we were guests of Aqua Shard but all thoughts are as ever my own.
Many years ago when I was a university student in New Zealand, I was adopted by a crew of expat Americans.
They introduced me to the delight that is Thanksgiving, Halloween candy, how to make the best fried egg sandwich and also taught me how to play poker. Because sometimes that’s what expats do when thousands of miles away from home. (In return I taught them some of the rules of rugby, where to buy the best local pies and answered as many of their expat questions as I could. Often with shrugs.)
Since then I’ve been lucky enough to not only still call those lovely expats my friends (one of them is even coming to London this Christmas!) but I’ve also been adopted into some of the Thanksgiving traditions of expat friends who live here in the UK.
The lovely Jess and Emily were our hostesses for the afternoon, opening with “Thanksgiving has always been about the people at the table than what’s on the table” which definitely gave us food for thought. Luckily, in this case it was most definitely both, with new Aqua Shard head chef Anthony Garlando presenting his first Thanksgiving feast.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated in the States on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by George Washington after a request by Congress. Time for a clever segueway…
The limited time Thanksgiving menu at Aqua Shard has been designed to bring UK and the US together – beginning with British juniper smoked salmon with pumpkin and black truffle salad. Each of the courses has been matched with a delicious wine – and the first course was matched with a gorgeous Reisling.
As a main course diners can choose between a luscious roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings including buttery mash, stuffing, green bean salad and delicious gravy …
…or the delectable grilled lobster with tarragon hollandaise and corn bread crumble…
…or taking inspiration from Jess’ family Thanksgivings, a steamed onion purée with chanterelle mushrooms, spinach and Parmesan foam.
You just can’t beat gathering around a festive table, full of good cheer and lovely company – especially when you cut a deal with your table mate to swap plates mid-course.
We nibbled mini-pecan pies and sipped a ridiculously scrumptious dessert wine…
…and then enjoyed slices of pumpkin pie, served with sweet potato ice-cream, caramelized pecan nuts and charred marshmallows.
And, well, you know, the view is ok…I guess.
The menu will be available for dinner from Monday 25th until Friday 29th November, except Thursday 28th November which is a lunch – learn more via the Aqua Shard website.
Do you do Thanksgiving? If so, what’s your favourite dish?