“A quick glance through the Opera Holland Park 2022 Season is enough, as ever, to quicken the heart, soothe the soul, and put a jaunty spring in one’s step. Even for an opera amateur like me. A pinch of Puccini, a soupcon of Gilbert and Sullivan, a good whack of Bizet, and a dash of Delius too. All amongst the bucolic splendour of one of London’s finest parks.

But I’m not here, you’ll be delighted to know, to talk opera. Perish the thought. Rather to celebrate the food and drink you may well be nibbling and slurping as you read, sourced from small, independent local suppliers who, like many a small, independent arts company, have had a tough couple of years. Now it may seem a little odd, banging on about local food in the heart of Holland Park. When I last strolled through, I didn’t notice any asparagus fields in the Kyoto Garden, or free-range chickens pecking contentedly on the football pitch. No, this is pragmatic, not dogmatic, localism, finding the best suppliers, be they 1 mile away, or 50. And actually thinking about the story behind the wines, beers and picnics available tonight. Rather than simply handing it over to yet another vast, faceless industrial catering machine.

Taste is as important as ever, but so is the business of ethics and sustainability too. This is about celebrating quality, supporting companies who put passion before profit, dedicated individuals who care about their impact upon this earth. I know a few of these partners very well indeed, having lived in the area, on and off, for nearly 30 years. Il Portico is a Kensington institution, and there’s a reason their doors have been opent for nearly 6 decades. James Chiavarini, the 4th generation of his family to run the place, is a hospitality hero, fighting to keep small businesses alive during the lockdown. He is very much part of the community, always the first to look after locals in need, or raise much needed funds for whatever charity comes asking. 

James Clutton, CEO and Director of Opera, is quite rightly obsessed with these partnerships, be they restaurants, Gusbourne sparkling, Kernel beers or Laylo wines. Not just selling the products, but shining a spotlight on the people behind them. A partnership in the true sense of the word, where everyone benefits. Especially us, the hungry punters. World class opera, with delectable and sustainable food and drink to match. Now that’s something to really sing about.”

In the lead-up to the 2022 Season, we’ll be updating our site with more information about our partnerships with Il portico and other partners. To keep updated with what you can expect at OHP this summer, visit our Food & Drinks page.