“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, May 28, 2011

All's Well At The Wells

Today Laura and I decided to be adventurous and take the bus to Tunbridge Wells. The great thing about it is the fact that the bus actually picks up around the corner from the house, about a 3-minute walk. The downside is that the bus ride is about 90 minutes, which is a long time to be on a bus (Greyhound riders excepted, of course). A big plus, though, is that the route from Tenterden to Tunbridge Wells takes you through some of the prettiest towns and villages in Kent, nay, in England. Cranbrook, Goudhurst, Horsmonden, Brenchley, Matfield... all gorgeous places. Once there in the town of Royal T.W. we immediately went to the Farmer's Market, which was just off Monson Road, near the Monument, and as it was extremely windy and a bit nippy we were happy when practically the first stall we saw was a man selling apple juice. He had bottled juice of course, but he was doing a roaring trade selling hot spiced apple juice for £1, so we had one each and it was nice and warming. We moved on down through the market and there were, it seemed, a preponderance of stalls selling cheeses, some regular cheese, some sheep's milk, some goat's, all of which looked great, and we did in fact sample and buy some.

We then came to a stall selling home made preserves and mustards, which we had to give a try, and ended up buying a jar of the fabulous Whisky Marmalade.

We stopped at one stall which was Sedlescombe Winery, and in addition to his wines, the man there had some liqueurs. He saw we were sipping on the warm apple juice and he poured in a shot of a liqueur which I did not get the name of, but which made our hot apple juice a real zinger. Woo hoo! Here we were, not even 11am and we were getting tiddly already. We purchased from him a bottle of the Black Cherry liqueur. Mm mm mm.

There was a lady I recognised from Horsmonden Farmer's Market who makes Greek and Mediterranean pastries such as Baklava and Spanakopita. I'd had her Spanakopita last time and so as I knew Laura had not tried it before, bought one to share. Well, as soon as Laura tasted it she said, "Well, you're not getting this back!". I managed to get the last little piece. It was so good.

On our way back along the other side of the row of stalls we came across a lady named Sophie Wood from Mount Pleasant Food Company who makes home made soups which are microwaveable. I tried a sample of the asparagus Soup and loved it. She told me that the asparagus that went in to making the soup was only picked on Friday morning - now that's fresh!

For a complete list of the stallholders at the Farmer's market, click here.

Later on we ate lunch at The Nutmeg Tree which is a place that is supposed to look like a 1930's tea room. The decor and music certainly give it that atmosphere, as do the black dress/white pinny uniforms of the staff.

"One....soup!... and... another.... soup!"

I had the spinach and mushroom lasagne which came with a healthy helping of fresh steamed veggies....

Laura ate the Leek and Potato bake, which came with a massive side salad.

She also had a lovely glass of cherryade.

All very yummy.

When I got back, I had a little tipple with my Indian food from Gram Spice in Biddenden for dinner. A glass of Biddenden Vineyard's Gribble Bridge Rose.

Oh my gosh. I love this wine. It is one of those very versatile rose wines that would be good with just about anything. Not too sweet, not too tart, just perfect. Another good buy from the guys at Liquid Pleasure (plug, plug).

Kooshti sante!

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