Aaaah, the Cotswolds. A quick hop, skip and a jump up the motorway and the grey streets of London are replaced by honey-coloured stone cottages, perfect picketed fences, fresh air, greenery, and frowning, stressed faces turn into smiles.
When the big smoke is getting you down I thoroughly suggest making a run for it and heading to the countryside, and when you do, be sure to stop by the epitome of Cotswolds chic — Daylesford Organic.
Daylesford Organic, What’s The Deal?: The restaurant, farmshop, garden and spa sit on the Bamford estate (owned by Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford), and is found nearby the picturesque village of Kingham.
When we arrived the shop was buzzing with rural couples doing their overpriced shopping with a toddler or two tugging at their coat-tails. Locals stop to say hi to one another and the staff really do seem to be 'happy to help'.
Buy expensive but perfectly formed vegetables, safe in the knowledge that this is organic produce at its finest – picked in the fields adjacent.
Step into the heady cheese room and have a whiff of the award-winning cheddars, gorgonzolas and blue-rind deliciousness made in the Daylesford Organic creamery.
Plump Daylesford Organic sausages (from pigs reared happily at a family-run farm in Shropshire); gorgeously packaged chutneys and jams; freshly baked organic bread, are you getting the picture?
Losing my bearings, I turn the corner, and I'm met by a charming shop assistant manning the wines.
“Would you like to taste some rosé madam?”
“Oh go on then. Mmm, very tasty, thanks.”
After browsing a room full of beautifully packaged things that you don’t need but think you do to achieve the countryside idyll – garden accessories, sheepskin rugs, candles in jam jars, stuffed toy rabbits, potted daffodils, and more – we passed through to the shrub-adorned courtyard to have lunch in the sun.
Daylesford Organic, The Food: Boyfriend ordered a Ploughmans and I ordered a selection of Daylesford salads.
People surrounding us quaffed rhubarb bellinis, but due to my not having had my morning coffee and his heavy night – I opted for a tasty skimmed latte and he had a pressed apple juice.
The Ploughmans got top marks. Everything was top quality finest Daylesford produce. The half a piece of pork pie was a cut above the shop bought variety. There were two types of bread (one white and one brown with sunflower seeds, both freshly baked on site). A chunk of strong pungent cheddar, gloriously homegrown fresh tomatoes, an egg, gherkin, green leaves and sweet jam which the waiter confirmed was tomato and chilli.
The Daylesford Organic plate of salads was fresh and healthy although not up to Ottolenghi standards (watch this space. I’m determined that Ottolenghi will be my next blog).
The four salad selection consisted of Greek salad with excellently creamy feta and lovely leaves like dandelion – as local as it comes; winter coleslaw – made up of white cabbage and mustard; Bulgar wheat with tomatoes and parsley (a tad on the dull side) and quinoa with wild brown rice and dried cranberries.
Daylesford Organic, Toilet Watch: Armitage shanks basin (tick), Daylesford’s own hand wash (tick), wood panelling (tick) and paper towels.
Daylesford Organic, The Final Word: Living the English dream – if you can afford it.
01608 731 700