I started with the Scotch egg. I have to say I’m used to ordering a Scotch egg and it arriving hot with a liquid yolk in the middle so I was a bit disappointed to have this one arrive cold. You could tell from the consistency of the yolk that it would have been perfect if served hot. Having said that I did like the sage and onion flavour of the pork and the homemade brown sauce was very nice. There was also a big bowl of courgette and Stilton soup which I thought was an unusual combination as courgettes don’t have much flavour but it was generous and tasty.
I turned up at Cobbs bright and early and met up with the two managers of Cobbs Farm for breakfast. Contrary to ‘normal’ shopping habits, bread and milk are what greet you on entry to the shop. But not just any bread, lovely bread from The Fabulous Baker Brothers. I have so far tried their malt loaf and sourdough both of which were great. There’s always plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on show too.I didn’t realise that they make and bake their own sausage rolls and other bits (a very tempting smell), have an on-site meat hanging room for their butcher and I had no idea just how much room they had to grow their own fruit and veg. They also had an interesting blackboard outside comparing the price of their vegetables with that of some of the well-known supermarkets. Cobbs prices for everything on the board that day were the same price or cheaper. The cheese counter is something to behold; there are cheeses in there I am desperate to try so I think I’ll have to work left to right. I have been to Cobbs for Sunday lunch before (it’s lovely) but until a few weeks ago had never been for breakfast. I have been missing out. I opted for the Morning Mushroom as it sounded like a fantastic, yet guilt free, combination of textures and flavours. A lovely portobello mushroom on the bottom topped with spinach and a poached egg with grilled tomatoes on the side. It was great how they put the extra effort in by adding a little nutmeg to the spinach and a little thyme to the tomatoes; it’s exactly how I would make it. After much chin wagging and discussing food, farming and foraging we went to have a look at the farm. We were walking through the pick your own rows first looking at the berries which are all on their way. At the end of the PYO section there was the vineyard. I can’t think of a prettier place to spend a day; the flint soil, south facing slopes and terroir match almost exactly that of the Champagne region of France. And of course, they are growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (it would be rude not to). This is the first year they will have a harvest so I can’t wait to see what happens to it. The rhubarb patches were in full swing and I like to think I was helpful in pulling up a few stalks but in reality the much more experienced rhubarb puller-uppers did a far better job than me. I was also allowed the first spear of the year, of asparagus that is, and I ate it raw as soon as I got home. I spent a lovely morning with two people who are clearly very passionate about food and its provenance. It was really interesting to meet the people behind the farm shop and I can’t wait until their crates outside are brimming with beans, tomatoes, berries, mushrooms, asparagus and all manner of wonderful seasonal produce.
I wasn’t invited to Cobbs to review it, just to talk all things food! I learnt so many things about the farm shop that I wanted to share it.
If you are driving along the A4, the A34 or the M4 you must make sure you get off, break the driving stupor you’ve gotten yourself into and treat yourself to a truly wonderful experience.
It’s not just the food and the fact they always have specials on, it’s the service and the atmosphere that’s impeccable.
We were eating a relatively boring, dull, same old food meal at a different restaurant which is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the area. All the waiting staff are under 12 I swear. Anyway, apparently I don’t qualify to be told that they have Chateaubriand on. Nor, was I allowed to then change my mind and order it when I overheard about it. Bear in mind I asked to change during my starter…before they kitchen would have started cooking my main (one would hope anyway). And so, 20 minutes later they bought me my main course. Was the fact that I really didn’t like it because it was bad food or because it was marred by the fact that they didn’t want to help?