Sunday, September 7, 2008

Food Memory: A Day in the Cotswolds

Three years ago, while in England, J and I spent a food filled day with my favorite English friend, Jane.

We first had lunch at one of my favorite pubs in England, the Howard Arms in Ilmington. Their menu changes weekly, due to their use of local, seasonal foods. We have had many memorable meals there. Two of my favorites were a chicken and white wine tarragon sauce, and Gloucester Old Spot Pork with a mustard/cream sauce. One this occasion, I opted for the Steak and Ale Pie. If memory serves correct, it had a suet crust. They have a fantastic selection of cask ales and keg beers, along with smaller independent ciders. I had a lovely cider that day, but can't for the life of me remember what it was called.

After lunch, we headed through Broadway, a picturesque village in the Cotswolds to Snowshill Manor. Jane was car sick by the time we got there, so sat out, but J and I had a walk through the house. I've been there many times before, but it's a place I could never grow tired of. In the care of the National Trust, it is a traditional Cotswold house, built of golden yellow local stone and set on a hillside above the Vale of Evesham. The gardens and views are stunning, and the house holds the most fascinating collections I've ever laid eyes on. Some of the collections include old fashion toys, bikes, doll houses, and 26 suits of Samurai armour.

Afterwards, we went to have cream tea at the Snowshill Lavender Farm in the Cotswolds. It is located at the top of Snowshill Village, just up the slope from the Manor. Sadly, I didn't take any photos of the cream tea. I think we were so blissed out by the smell of lavender that wafts you as you come up the hill, that it didn't even occur to any of us. The tea consider of tea, lavender scones, jam, and clotted cream. They scones were divine, but a little dense in texture. After tea, J went to the car to listen to Five Live and Jane and I went to have a roam around the garden. It was heaven on earth. The lavender was breathtaking and the scent was so strong. There was a house close by that had a laundry line on the edge of their property, boarding on the garden. This would by my absolute dream place to live! Sadly, after recently viewing their website, I don't think the tea room is open anymore. The farm and shop are still there, but at the time we weren't overly impressed with what the shop had to offer.
If ever in the area, I'd still go up to the farm for the blissed out experience. They have a National Trust tea room at Snowshill Manor, so would have to have tea there.
For more info on the Howard Arms Pub: http://www.howardarms.com/index.html
For more info on Snowshill Manor: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-snowshillmanor.htm
For more info on Snowshill Lavender Farm: http://www.snowshill-lavender.co.uk/cm/

2 comments:

Jane King said...

Ha Ha i look rough in that photo in the pub!! I normally look fairly rough but i really do look ill in that one!
I am upset that the cafe appears to have closed i was only thinking the other day i would like to go there before they close for the winter. Boo!! The smell was lovely. I went to norfolk lavender in july that is nice but not a patch on snowshill and no lavender scones! I need to give the howard arms another try too as was too poorly to appreciate it :-)

Amy Jemima said...

Yeah, the website doesn't mention the tea room, so am assuming it closed. That's a shame because the regular food looked good there too. Maybe if the gift shop prices weren't so high it would have encouraged more people to go to the tea room? Or maybe they were closed by health & safety!?! Probably not, but makes a good story :-)