I was invited for a day at Fallowfields Country House Hotel and went without any real idea what to expect. I thought it would be nice inside, pretty little garden and good food. What greeted me was exceptional and exceeded my expectations.
The hotel has ten rooms and staying there would, I'm sure, make you feel like a name and not a number. After arriving I rather comfortably sat by a lovely open log fire; one side of my face very hot but happy nonetheless.
The food at Fallowfields was a wondrous surprise. They try to source as much as possible from their kitchen garden and the animals that they have in the grounds. I apologise profusely for the lack of photos of the lunch that we had; technology was not my friend that day. The food was very well executed and with head Chef Shaun Dickens' pedigree it's no surprise.
After some sumptuous hors d'oeuvre, we started with Jerusalem artichoke velouté, confit artichoke and truffle oil. Jerusalem artichokes are up there as one of my favourite vegetables; delicate and robust flavour which was magnificently enhanced with truffle oil. Truffles being another of my favourite ingredients meant I loved this starter.
Our main was local venison, beetroot, chestnuts and a chocolate crisp. The venison was cooked exactly as I like it, the beetroot had a lovely tang and the chocolate crisp added a wonderful additional texture and taste. There was a nice dollop of mash potato on the plate and I think you can tell a lot about a restaurant from the quality of their mashed taties. It was very good mash.
After the plates were cleared away something happened to me that has never happened before. This incident has inadvertently raised my expectations of all other meals. I consumed (with immense enjoyment) a pre-dessert. It was not only preparing my senses for the sweet that was to follow but I felt it kindly informed my pancreas to kick in. Merlot reduction with yoghurt foam. Delectable.
After all the excitement and merriment that accompanied the pre-dessert the actual dessert was not a letdown. Honey cheesecake, figs, candied walnuts, honeycomb and walnut ice cream. Beautiful and lovely textures.
In addition to the hotel and restaurant, Fallowfields boasts a lovely kitchen garden and grounds. The orchards were a particular treat for me as I love all manner of quinces, medlars, plums, pears and apples; in particular rare varieties which there were plenty of. The hotel also has a falconry. I did not expect to see a beady eyed bird of prey as I was walking through the orchards but there they were. Everyone is welcome to go and marvel at the owls and other talon possessing creatures. There are also guinea fowl, cows and pigs.
The pictures on this post are all things that came in a goody bag that I was given on leaving. The Scotch Egg travelled half an hour and was still liquid in the centre when I got home. The turnip ended up in some mash and the bread was consumed with gusto.
I don't tend to talk about wine in my posts because I have only had marvellous wine very few times. The wines I enjoyed with this lunch were some of the best.
I am a great supporter of all things local. Fallowfields are trying to produce and provide the best food they can because they truly believe in it. I think owner Anthony Lloyd summed it up pretty well, "This isn't just local speak, it's local do".