Good Food Blog
Divine diningPosted at 2:02PM, 09 November 2009 by Carol Wilson - Food writer
These days you can dine out or hold a special event in all sorts of unusual venues, from ancient castles to historic cathedrals.
But while other cathedrals offer dining in their restaurants or function rooms, Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral is unique in also offering the opportunity to dine in the main part of the splendid cathedral itself. Religious centre, architectural masterpiece and landmark tourist attraction (it's the largest cathedral in the UK) - as venues go, this one takes some beating.
I recently attended a fundraising dinner held in the spectacular Cathedral Well. It was certainly an awe-inspiring experience to enjoy delicious food and wine surrounded by the wonderful architecture, jewel-coloured stained glass windows and distinctive atmosphere. The Main Space can be transformed to hold a Gala dinner for 1000 people and there's a cleverly concealed lift underneath the marble floor of the cathedral, to transport tables and chairs before and after events.
Obviously a venue also needs terrific food to be a success. The modern British menu featured Southport shrimps, Bury black pudding and Bowland beef , all sourced from local producers and innovatively prepared.
The Dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev Justin Welby told me, "Cathedrals have been places of gathering, hospitality and welcome since the Middle Ages. For many people, even crossing the threshold is a new experience, and so events and dinners are a wonderful way of introducing the heritage of our cathedrals, and the message that is carried in their design and culture, to people who may not have encountered it before. Secondly, unlike the rest of Europe, English cathedrals are not maintained by the State, and so the use of the space to generate funds is essential. So dinners and events hit two targets at the same time. And of course, an evening of good food, good company and stunning surroundings is great fun".
What do you think of the idea of cathedrals being used for dinners? What's the most unusual venue you've dined in?