59th Grand Chapitre, Brighton 4-7 October 2018
Our 59th Grand Chapître was held in sunny Sussex in the Regency resort of Brighton, home to the Prince Regent’s stunning Royal Pavilion. Our base for the weekend was on the seafront in the recently renovated Grand Hotel. This has recently been beautifully restored and modernised to regain its position as the premier hotel on the Sussex coast. The programme took advantage of being close to much of the English sparkling wine production.
The event started on Thursday evening with an informal fish dinner at The Jetty inside the Brighton Harbour Hotel. The skilled hand of Michelin-starred Alex Aitken was obvious there. We had two options for Friday trips: the first to Ridgeview Winery and then on to the famous Bluebell Railway for a steam-hauled round trip from Horsted Keynes which included lunch on board the Wealden Rambler. The second option visited the historic town of Lewes where there were visits to Anne of Cleeves House and the Castle – a fabulous view from the top - before going on to join the other group for the trip on the Wealden Rambler.
Friday dinner was held at South Lodge Hotel near Horsham. Under the baton of Maître Hôtelier David Connell this superb country hotel has held a Michelin star for the Pass restaurant for a number of years.
On Saturday the Induction ceremony took place in the Grand Hotel. Then attendees walked across the promenade for the reception on a flight in the British Airways i360 – gently ascending to 450 feet in the glass pod for a panoramic view of the coastline accompanied by some English Fizz.
Other options included a private guided visit to Arundel Castle including lunch. This spectacular castle sits on a bluff above the town and has been home to the Dukes of Norfolk for centuries. Another option, a must for railway enthusiasts, was a buffet lunch in the Brighton Toy Museum under the guiding hand of Trustees Chairman, Chevalier Vic Michel and his team.
The Gala Dinner was held in the Empress Suite of the Grand Hotel prepared by Maître Rôtisseur Alan White.
On Sunday, two special events, first a private visit to Nyetimber winery at West Chiltington with guided tours of the vineyard followed by lunch in the White Barn.
Then, the final event, a private guided tour of the spectacular Brighton Pavilion followed by dinner in the Banqueting Room.
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