A Foodie Tour of Cheltenham
"Situated within Jessop House, Wild Beer Co do as their name suggests, and brew and sell some of the most outlandish craft brews you’re ever likely to find."
Amongst the parks, fountains, spas and Regency period terraces of Cheltenham, there is something of a foodie revolution afoot. Not that the Gloucestershire town was ever anything less than gorgeous, but the combination of fabulous local produce, a community-focused attitude and an influx of young and enthusiastic food producers, restaurateurs, shopkeepers and chefs have lifted Cheltenham into the realms of the very best foodie towns. Here’s the best way to get the most out of a day there.
The Cotswolds’ quintessential tearoom, Huffkins was established in 1890 and now has five branches in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. However, the Cheltenham branch is the best for sampling the local lardy cake – a very rich but utterly delicious accompaniment to your afternoon tea.
A gorgeous Georgian townhouse hotel right in the heart of the city, No. 131 is the perfect venue for a lunch or evening drinks – make sure to try Sibling Gin, which is distilled less than three miles away and has a wonderful vanilla and blueberry flavour. Tatler called No. 131 “one of the coolest places to eat in England” – I can’t help but agree.
The CheeseWorks is a true familyrun shop, selling (yep you guessed it) cheese, with a particular emphasis on local delicacies such as Cirencester’s mild Cerney Pepper and, of course, Single and Double Gloucester.
An independent example of the evergrowing trend for gelaterias on British high streets, Milkbar produces all of its gelato in-house, using milk from Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm in Gloucester. Some wild flavours are available here: opt for the impossibly rich chocolate sorbet or give the activated charcoal ice cream a try.
Situated within Jessop House, Wild Beer Co do as their name suggests, and brew and sell some of the most outlandish craft brews you’re ever likely to find. Really want to push the boat out? Go for a bottle of ‘Of The Sea’: a Gose beer brewed with lobster, cockles, seaweed and marine herbs.
“But Jack,” I hear you very conveniently cry. “If I’m going to experience this whistle-stop taste of Cheltenham, where will I stay for the evening?” Well, handy hypothetical reader, may I humbly point you in the direction of Cheltenham’s excellent Malmaison, where the staff brim with enthusiasm and the food is very good – a recent menu offered a mixed grill of rare breed pork cuts, black truffle and Gruyere macaroni and Barbary duck leg. Also, if you’re really up for a bit of fun, Malmaison do cocktail masterclasses in their beautiful wine cellar, where even the most inexperienced of drink enthusiasts can create elaborate drinks under the masterful instruction of the hotel’s mixologists.
All of the above can be visited as part of Cotswold Foodie Tours.
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