So its Christmas, and you’ve already stuffed your face continuously for 4 days straight. Its only fair to say that one has had well over their quota for the festive period right? Ahh wrong!
You know what I’m talking about here; sitting on the couch, slothing about while being surrounded by the aromas of cheese, biscuits, Quality Street sweets and decadent chocolates from Fortnum in Mason…. OK I’m guilty as charged! However it still didn’t mean I was missing out on an opportunity to visit the charming River Cottage and seeing as though I was in the area, it was only natural that I’d say yes.
Located in the beautiful Devonshire countryside just outside of Axminister, the only safe way of getting down to the farm house is by tractor and float which you are able to ride on the back of. This is not the most glamorous of entrances however I wouldn’t really recommend trying to walk down the uneven muddy hill unless you don’t mind the outdoor ruggedness or getting your favourite shoes ruined.
On our arrival we were taken to a cutest little yurt style tent that had large bundles of barn hay as seats to perch on and colourful bunting hanging from the trellises. We are given a small glass of Kingston warm apple brandy to sip on while our host spoke about the itinerary for the afternoon. Also being served some delicious canapés and one of which was battered parsnips – a first time for me and rather moreish!
For those of you that aren’t too familiar with River Cottage, its very well known for being on the TV – particular with cooking! Its located near the village of Musbury in a provincial 17th century farmhouse, has a cookery school, restaurant, a huge organic veggie/herb patch worth mentioning and over 66 acres of beautiful lush green land. It has also been graced by many famous faces and is owned by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
I was also lucky enough to have a quick tour of the site including the famous ‘kitchen’ with that gorgeous wooden table and dreamy old-school appliances on display. The decor is all very rustic and bodes well with the farmhouse theme.
Once seated next to the floor to ceiling windows with the sun baking through, our drink orders were taken and we were treated to some homemade slices of oven warm bread and scrumptious pumpkin dip, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. A small starter of delicious mini meatballs topped with tomato and melted cheese was delivered soon after. I choose to drink a glass of rose as I’m still not quite ready to leave this wine to the side just because it is winter! Although don’t get me wrong, I still love my red over the colder months!
For the two courses, we had a small introduction by the head chef, Gelf Anderson. Its always nice to know what you are putting into your body and since almost every ingredient is organic and from the farm, its knowing that the quality is there, that gets me excited for whats about to come!
For main we were served a generous sized piece of ham glazed in honey and mustard with cabbage and leek, the creamiest of mashed potatoes and roasted tasty beetroot paired with apple. The ham of course, melted in your mouth and if I wasn’t so greedy, I could have gone for seconds!
And for my favourite course – orange and cinnamon steamed sponge with boozy custard. Now I’m not a huge fan of warm custard but when the flavours are this good, nothing is a problem – it was divine!
Finishing off with some chocolate ganache, it was fair to say that I was completely stuffed!
A thoroughly enjoyable experience – one that I highly recommend if staying out that way or even passing by (they have a canteen as well!) I want to thank Dave & Emma and my lovely boyfriend for organising this because I really didn’t think I would be able to manage with the amount of food binging over Christmas break…BUT it was possible and definitely one for the memory bank!