With an angry noise the portcullis was heaved open and we entered into the dark and formidable fortress. An overpowering aroma wafted from the kitchen of roasting boar and venison broth with spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. We entered the main hall with its chandeliers dripping with candle wax and heavy oak furniture constructed from gigantic slices of tree. Pheasants hung from the beams and on the table sat a singed ginger cake, a dense brick of fruitcake and a flagon of treacly Pedro Ximenez sherry. We sat by the open fire and helped ourselves to nuts and bitter chocolate that was so dark it seemed to absorb what little light there was in the room.