It all began a year ago, when Imogen Bailey, of event design studio Native Native, moved to the French Riviera and discovered a whole array of edible flowers and botanical diversity. She was so excited by what she saw, she decided to create a pop-up dining experience, in a different location every time that could showcase what the region had to offer. She wanted to move away from the larger, more jet-set scene that the region is synonymous with and hold more intimate gatherings, focused on the local and the organic. It would still be luxurious but far less formal and celebrating local artisans and seasonal produce. The Secret Garden Supper Club was born.
When you arrive at the secret location – which has been picked for the occasion – you are guided to your table, featuring your own personalised menu created by calligraphy artist Nice Plume and complete with hand-crafted place cards for each guest. You’ll sit down to four courses featuring edible flowers (designed by chef Kalice Brun) with expertly paired natural and organic wine (by the sommelier Romain Forini). Each course includes edible flowers, which have been foraged from the wild and sourced from local producers.
The centrepiece of the table is created by florist Julie Guittard, who designs arrangements of beautiful blooms and wild foliage echoing the colour palette of each season. In July, during the second edition of the Secret Garden Supper Club, guests tried a range of dishes infused with local and seasonal flowers and herbs, including genepi, jasmine, lavender, olive oil, saffron, wild thyme and dill. The aperitif was a spritz of vin d’orange (a traditional fortified wine made from oranges) adorned with ice cubes of agastache (hummingbird mint) petals.
The Supper Clubs have gone down successfully with guests so far. One of the reviews says, ‘Get ready for an evening experiencing the finest, freshest produce Nice has to offer in a stunning setting whilst local heroes take care of every intricate detail. You will love it, of that there is no doubt’.
Since its launch, each event has completely sold out and its success so far is down to some essential ingredients, as Imogen Bailey explains. ‘When designing each Secret Garden Supper Club experience, we create a unique sensory and gastronomical experience, which can be shared by new friends, seated around the same table’.
There’s lots more to come from the Secret Garden Supper Club. In addition to their pop-up fine dining experiences, this autumn they’ll be offering ‘a range of unique workshops giving people a rare insight into the craftsmanship of local artisans and seasonal produce often undiscovered by those who come to visit this beautiful destination from all over the world’.