I’ve just left England and am back in France again after a delightful week and a half in the Cotswolds and London. In the Cotswolds, as well as visiting the fabulous Stroud Farmers’ Market, Monica and I toured around the area for a couple of days, notably visiting The Kingham Plough**.
Opened by Emily Watkins and her husband Miles Lampson in 2007, The Kingham Plough is a gem of a pub nestled in the Cotswolds – excellent food and cozy rooms (and it’s dog friendly!). The bedrooms are comfortable and inviting and exactly what you’d expect from and English country pub.
Emily began her journey as a chef at Ristorante Beccofino in Florence, Italy. In 2002 she moved to The Fat Duck in Bray, where she worked for the legendary Heston Blumenthal. Following her stint at The Fat Duck, Emily moved on to work as a private chef in London and in 2007 she opened the Kingham Plough. Since then, Emily and the Plough have been featured on The Hairy Bikers, Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food as well as in local, national and international press. In 2014, Emily competed in Great British Menu and won with her fish course and more recently, Emily cooked for war veterans at St Paul’s Cathedral in a banquet commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The dining room is, again, cozy and inviting…
This was a spectacular chicken wellington which tasted, as I told Emily, like “all the best bits of a roast chicken dinner in one bite!” While the dinner menu offered fabulous choices for a special occasion (Monica’s birthday celebrations), I would happily go and order an entire meal off of the “Bar Snacks” menu…
They offer a “Full English” with a range of options as well as an excellent vegetarian plate (baked beans, tomatoes, eggs, mushrooms) and each cooked breakfast is accompanied by breads, cereals and fruit options. Just the thing to set you up for a day out in the countryside. An altogether delightful experience.
The Kingham Plough
Kingham, Chipping Norton,
Oxfordshire, OX7 6YD
After tasting the “Cotswolds Plough” (the very fancy – and large – gin and tonic cocktail shown above), at The Kingham Plough, Monica and I decided we needed to check out the Costwolds Distillery.
This is the first full-scale craft distillery in the Cotswolds area located between Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon (80 miles from London and about 50 miles from Birmingham) producing superb “London-style gin” (now) and whisky (which will be ready in late 2017).
The Cotswolds Dry Gin is “a delectable blend of pure wheat spirit with nine carefully-considered botanicals; juniper, coriander, angelica root, Cotswolds lavender and bay leaf, grapefruit, lime, black pepper and cardamom seed. The result is a classic well-balanced juniper-led gin with crisp citrus and spice.” It’s very refreshing – the perfect summer beverage!
Monica and I were fortunate enough to have a private tour with Alex Davies, the Head Distiller. We even got a sneak peek in his “mad professor’s lab” where he in in charge of product development (yes, that means playing with flavours and alcohols as his job!) and got to taste a few “works in progress”. We could have listened to him all day chatting about whisky, gin, fermentation, distillation and infusions. He really does have the best job! Monica is hoping to get back to volunteer her time as a gin bottler! And I’ll need to make a note to get Mr Neil there sometime after winter 2017 when the whisky will be officially ready for bottling and tasting.
Tours run at 11am and 2 pm daily through 31 October 2015.
The Cotswolds Distillery
Our final stop on our little road trip was Daylesford Organic Farm. We went under the pretext of needing lunch and I imagined some sort of small restaurant with a small farm shop attached. But oh my, Daylesford is so much more!!
Daylesford is one of the most sustainable farms in the UK. Their aim is to grow, farm, produce and sell food according to their sustainable principles in harmony with the environment.
The location we visited in Gloucestershire is the “flagship” location and boasts a fabulous “farm shop” and restaurant – all their food comes directly from the farm – meat, poultry, breads, cheeses and milks/ yoghurts – they have their own creamery – and, of course, fruits and vegetables.
In cases where the Farm doesn’t make a product on the farm itself, they source from local artisan suppliers. You can visit the farm to see how the animals are cared for and raised, where the vegetables are grown and how the food is produced. If you’re interested in starting to produce some of your own food, you can even take a class at their Organic Farm School.
Well worth a visit – and come with an appetite and a cooler bag in your car for all those fabulous cheeses and dairy products you won’t be able to resist!
Daylesford Organic Farm
**Disclosure: Monica and I stayed as guests of The Kingham Plough with our room and food expenses covered. I was not asked to write about our stay, nor an I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.