Fine food, cricket and dancing penguins

There are few occasions on which I’ve eaten great food whilst nearby a group of penguins, Pink Panthers, bananas, Frenchmen and sombrero-wearing Mexicans have danced the conga.

But, on Saturday, as England annihilated the West Indies in this country’s first day/night Test Match, it happened.
Drink had flowed in Edgbaston Stadium’s famous Hollies Stand – as frequently it does – and spirits were high.

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My vantage point was the balcony of the plush Warwickshire Suite, a superb spot from which to watch England’s bowlers torment the Windies batsmen with the vividly pink ball.
And also from which to survey the antics of the spectators elsewhere in the ground, many in fancy dress.

High spirits

In our area of the ground, spirits were likewise high thanks not only to an exhilarating England performance, but also to some fantastic food, wines and hospitality.
The day kicked off with a four-course lunch of a standard that you’d find at a high-end restaurant.

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Compressed cucumber served with lime curd, celery, apple, cress and walnut crumble was a beautifully light and vibrant way to begin things.
Lamb loin came wonderfully pink and tender with deeply-savoury pressed shoulder, carrot and suede mash, a sweet charred onion, peas, garlicky dauphinoise potatoes and a gentle rosemary jus.

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A desert of chocolate brownie, sated caramel, ice cream, coffee, malt and marshmallow was a fabulous combination of textures and flavours, the bitter and salty notes reining in the intensely sweet elements.

Play time

A cheese board included some gorgeous stuff.
The Californian pinot noir that I was drinking went very well with the cheeses.
By now play was under way and we sauntered from the dining area to our padded seats overlooking the pitch, retiring back indoors to watch the game through the Warwickshire Suite’s expansive windows when the British summer played its chilly tricks.

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The first break in play saw a classy array of sandwiches, scones and cakes brought to the table.
The next break saw us served some very tasty lamb pies, the pastry crisp and short and the filling rich and meaty.
Throughout the day and evening staff were attentive, ensuring that drinks were offered from the free bar.

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As the floodlights came on, shadows lengthened and England zoomed in on victory, there was a sense of deep contentment.
It really is hard to imagine a better way to watch international cricket.
Though I suspect India might prove tougher opponents than the once-great West Indies next summer.

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I was invited to the Warwickshire Suite as a guest of Keith Prowse, the hospitality provider for venues, events and stadia across the country.

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For information about Keith Prowse, go to www.keithprowse.co.uk/edgbaston
You can find out more about Edgbaston Stadium at http://www.edgbaston.com