Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Hunting and gathering

The weather cannot have been more dreich, no? Today we had a brave morning of sunshine, a caesura crammed full of hope, only to relapse to yet more woeful rain. And I left the washing out, so my mood wasn’t the best.

But quick, there are always little food-encrusted jewels (slightly revolting) glimmering away and I think I might start listing some of them. It seems Cheshire’s golden triangle, away north of here, gets some press, but we east of Chester are without victuals and it’s not true.

First up, the new shining star in our firmament: Gastronomy Deli in Tarporley. Finally breathing vigorous, sustained life into a bit of a Bermuda hole of a retail spot, they are the bees’. Excellent cheese, even more excellent meats, imaginative and tempting menu, good deli sides to explore and a nice way with children. If I had one minor criticism, it’s to up their bread game a bit, but the stuff they sell is still miles above anything else in the village.

I took a ride up to Davenport’s Farm Shop today, away up the A49. We are a bit overrun with farm shops round here and the good ones are very good indeed – if a little pricey. This one was notable for selling Jane’s Handmade Bread, some very fine dry good, own-grown fruit and veg and a bit of everything you might need in a hurry. More wonderful than all of that though, were the donkeys, the rhea (pretty sure it wasn’t an emu), the enormous Dorking chickens and the black ducks. MCD Jr thought it very heaven.

This one is a bit of a cheat, I can’t help feeling. I’m on a bit of a mission about good bread at the moment; can’t help feeling I’m missing out on something. Popped into Waitrose in Chester and tried one of their own-baked artisan ficelles – and actually it really was pretty good. They use French flour, so the crumb is that lovely creamy colour and warmed for breakfast, with some French jam, it was actually very lovely. I’ve yet to find a baguette to match it. The hunt is on.

To eat, we finally tried The Fox and Barrel up the road on the A49. A very upmarket pub, it serves slightly cheffy restaurant food in hearty portions. It has a roaring fire which, you know, in May is all you want and the pub bit at the front is just lovely to sit in with a pint and which, in fact, is all I wanted to do.

More to follow. I like the idea of popping into the blog to tell about the latest place to eat or buy. I shall keep it up.