Did you know it's Negroni week? And did you know that one of the greatest cocktails in 100 years old this year?
The Lygon Arms in Broadway are celebrating in style with four takes on the cocktail and have shared their classic recipe with us.
25ml Sweet Vermouth
· Pour all the ingredients into a stirring glass filled with ice
· Add 1 slice of orange to the stirring glass
· Stir the ingredients with ice for 30 seconds
· Strain the mixture over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass
· Garnish with a fresh orange wheel
Check out their other creations HERE.
Cotswolds jockey Sam Twiston-Davies reached 1,000 career winners with a quickfire double for trainer Dr Richard Newland at Southwell this afternoon.
With notable successes on The New One, Baby Run and Hello Bud, his biggest win was at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival aboard Dodging Bullets in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
I was honoured to be invited to help judge the regional final of the Cotswolds Distillery Cocktail Competition at The Fire Station in Cheltenham yesterday.
Before arriving I didn't really know what standard to expect. It was very high. We had smoke, chewbacca t-shirts, serious competition, great story telling and a lot of fun with Dan Morgan from Koj Restaurant the overall winner.
Participants were asked to make both a Cotswolds Gin and a Cotswolds Whisky cocktail in 8 minutes, and were judged on their presentation while preparing the drinks, their brand knowledge of the Cotswolds Distillery and its products, the appearance of the cocktail as well as its aroma and, of course, taste.
Dan will now go on to compete in the overall final at the Cotswolds Distillery Summer Festival on Saturday 17th August at the Distillery.
For more information about the festival, click the link below.
Cotswolds Distillery Festival
It's been a hard few years for us folk who live out in the sticks, watching people from "the towns" ordering food online like it's the normal thing to do and within minutes it's delivered to their door by someone on a scooter or bicycle.
Well, times are a changing people!
Munch is a brand new delivery service that is launching very soon with an aim to bring you delicious meals from previously out of reach independent restaurants and local chefs.
The concept is pretty simple.
You sign up for free.
You select a collection point near you. Currently there is only Bishops Cleeve, Winchcombe, Twyning, Tewkesbury abd Bredon to choose from. This will increase as the demand from different villages increases.
They will then let you know in advance what food is coming to your area.
It's really that simple!
Some great restaurants from Cheltenham are already involved, including Kibou Sushi, Bhoomi, Marinades and Bar & Wok and wouldn't we all like a Japanese delivery in the North Cotswolds?
Sign up people!
The Collaboration Kitchen is back and bigger than ever! Exclusive to The Big Feastival, a number of their top Street Food traders are teaming up for one-off collaborative dish.
Festival goers can get their hands on these mouth-watering pairings by visiting thebigfeastival.com/attractions/the-collaboration-kitchen
All proceeds go to the charity partner, Action Against Hunger.
This year's pairings include;
Oli Baba x Rainbo:
Katsu Poutine – Oli Baba halloumi fries, pork & Chinese chive gyoza topped with katsu curry sauce, Japanese pickles, pomegranate and herb garnish
Oh My Dog x Souvlaki Street:
Hand-made, heritage breed Frankfurter in a freshly baked Demi-brioche bun topped with Greek mustard sauce, spicy red pepper and barrel-aged feta sauce, shoestring fries tossed in oregano, and paprika and finely diced housemade pink pickled onions
Smokestak x Wingmans:
Smoked pork belly with an Asian twist topped with Wingman’s signature sauce, pickled cucumber, spring onions, and a hint of lime
Other Side Fried x The Cheese Truck:
Chicken Parmigiano Sandwich – Other Side Fried chicken, British mozzarella and marinara sauce topped with basil and grated old Winchester cheese
DJ BBQ x Farang:
Whole BBQ goat, roasted over the fire pit with a five spiced glaze, finished with palm sugar, fermented shrimp, pomelo salad, orange chili nahm jim, burnt chili dipping sauce and fresh thai herbs
My Pie x Anna Maes:
Deep Pan Pie filled with three cheese macaroni, Cobble Lane pepperoni and even more cheese
The Piadina Project x Carcass:
Piadina, Smoke Salt Marsh Lamb Shoulder with goats curds, mint salsa verdé, artichoke and slaw
The Cotswolds Distillery have opened their second shop in Broadway.
It stocks a full range of their stunning products and has a "Masterclass" room upstairs, where visitors can blend their own gin and whisky.
This is their second satellite shop after opening on the high street in Bourton on the Water in 2018.
You can find the shop directly opposite The Lygon Arms in the heart of the village.
To book a Masterclass or for any further information, visit www.cotswoldsdistillery.com
The Cotswolds has announced that their highly anticipated summer festival will take place on Saturday 17th August.
They will be bringing together some of the best live music, delicious food and drink here at their distillery near Shipston on Stour in the beautiful surroundings of the North Cotswolds.
From 12pm – 8pm you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a day filled with incredible blues, jazz, swing and rock music from 7 different acts, including the legendary swing, rhythm & blues band King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, 1970’s rock band Yellow Dog with their hit song ‘Just One More Night’ and Hipkiss fronted by Patsy Gamble and Muddy Manninen (ex. Wishbone Ash).
A number of local food producers from the Cotswolds will be on offer, so whether you’d like pizza, paella, tacos or a BBQ, there will be something to tickle your fancy. The distillery will, of course, be serving their award-winning spirits and ales from Hook Norton Brewery will be available.
Tickets are just £20.
If don't ever want to forget your wedding anniversary, get married on a day that will trigger your memory. It really works. St George's Day is her, sorry, our day. I actually need a reminder the day before as again I forgot to buy a card. She hadn't bothered either. Who said romance was dead?
"It's leather this year" as a picture of some riding boots was shoved in my face. Apparently we are supposed to buy each other something leathery for 3 years of marriage. Let's hope she'll be as enthusiastic with a few pieces fruit next year.
I had the day pretty much planned; a Veuve Clicquot Champagne brunch at The Lygon Arms followed by dinner at their new Back Garden Restaurant at Dormy House, albeit with an eight hour gap in between.
The brunch menu included pretty much everything you would expect to find from Eggs Benedict, Royale and Florentine to Avocado on toast, more eggs and chilli, with an optional glass (£14) or bottle (£75) of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. I convinced her that 3 years of marriage didn't warrant a bottle, and the fact the sun was out and we could eat outside was more than enough.
What can you really write about a brunch? I love reading so called foodie bloggers' reviews of a free brunch they have been given thinking they have cracked the world of Instagram influencing with their 28 post likes. "The eggs were really runny" They actually were very runny. "The toast was cooked just right" It was. I would have been worried if it wasn't. "The avocado was perfectly smashed" Yep, that too. However, the additional chilli flakes did add a surprising, yet welcome fiery kick as I reached for my glass of fizz to stop my coughing.
It was 20 degrees and the courtyard terrace is a lovely place to spend a few hours. The fact that this brunch is served from 9.30am - 6pm is an added bonus as we enter the summer months.
The Back Garden is the latest restaurant to launch on the Farncombe Estate. This time at Dormy House, under the watchful eye of Culinary Director, Martin Burge.
The estate has pretty much covered all culinary bases now. Hook at The Fish Hotel is a splendid seafood restaurant, not forgetting the hotel's outdoor Feasting BBQ Deck for groups of 10-20. Guests at, Foxhill Manor, their private manor house, can choose what they eat, where they eat it and when they eat. A concept that I love as I often eat on impulse and regularly eat far too late.
As well as The Back Garden, The Dormy has also just launch MO, a unique, interactive 7-course tasting-menu experience to just 12 guests at a time. These both sit alongside the always consistent, relaxed, no-faff Potting Shed. I can highly recommend the belly pork.
The Back Garden is completely different to the others. It would be stupid if it wasn't. There is a huge focus on nature, local ingredients, high-welfare meats and sustainability. This might sound a little bit twee and pretentious. It really isn't.
We booked for 7.30 and were the first to arrive which is always a little bit strange. We were shown to a window seat that looked out towards the, errrrr, back garden. Of course it did.
The restaurant is beautiful with the fading evening sun offering some natural light. There are plants mixed with subtle coloured soft furnishings and wallpaper-covered walls with a print that neither of us could decipher.
Then menu arrived with a bottle of Merlot and a G&T. It's fixed-price at £49.50pp for 3-courses that would have my local pub-eating parents gasping for air. It's a special occasion type of place which works for both hotel guests and locals alike.
At the risk of choosing off the sample menu on the website, luckily our choices were on there. Stuffed saddle of rabbit, pickled spring vegetables, whole grain mustard, bitter leaves and Pearl barley & Worcestershire hop risotto, beer pickled onions to start, and Braised beef cheek, pointed cabbage, cauliflower purée, king oyster mushroom and Jonny’s fish of the day. I have know idea who Jonny is but it was Halibut with samphire so that was me sold.
She looked up from her risotto, like Goldilocks over a bowl of porridge, and declared that this is "the best starter I have ever had".
It was all exquisite. I'm not even sure if I have ever used that word before.
The flavours of the rabbit, pickled veg, mustard and bitter leaves was immense and I won't lie about having slight food envy when I saw her Braised beef cheek arrive although my fish was superb.
There was enough room for desert. We chose the apple tart with toffee sauce as the picture on the website looked so good and the local cheeses, bits and pieces.
With excellent service from our French waitress (I usually try and get a name if they are really good) and some incredible cooking by Head Chef Sam Bowser, the price becomes irrelevant. For the same meal in London you would definitely be looking to double, or even treble, the bill.
Surely food like this better than some leather riding boots, right?
After a sudden closure 3 months ago, The New Inn at Coln St Aldwyns has been reopened by experience chef Dominic Hewitt, formerly of The Wild Duck and The Bull Inn at Charlbury.
With a weekly changing menu full fresh seasonal food and the 15 en-suite bedroomrooms all all enjoying a refresh to include more modern comforts, the new owners hope to create a relaxed environment for customers new and old.
We wish them all the luck and will be visiting soon to take a proper look!
The music line-up day splits have been announced for the 2019 Big Feastival.
Friday will see the Fun Lovin' Criminals, Lewis Capaldi and Rudimental headline, Jess Glynne and The Zutons will draw Saturday to a close while Elbow and the newly announced Jonas Blue will wrap up the festival in style.
The Big Feastival takes place at Alex james' Farm in Kingham from the 23rd -25th August 2019.
We live in a weird world nowadays. Everyone with an Instagram account seems to be a blogger of some sort and feel entitled to free things everywhere they go. They bully businesses into believing that their 32 likes on a post and hyped up figures will get people flocking to their establishment. Believe me, they really don't. For businesses, this might be some cheap content to post on social media. A meal doesn't really cost that much and nobody will write anything bad if it's free so it's a win win.
Sadly for me the tide has turned. I am someone who loves eating out. A piece of me dies inside when I'm referred to as a "blogger" as that is the last thing I am. The Cotswolds Gentleman has taken 3 years to grow into what it is today and to gain the trust from my loyal readers. I now won't attend "launch events" who invite every Tom, Dick and Harry just to fill the place, most of whom will never return. I will no longer eat at restaurants that just throw free meals to "blaggers" (a term I stole from Koj). Why would you gift someone an event invite or meal who has no influence or following whatsoever? For me it dilutes your brand. I may be wrong.
Obviously in my line of work I am always offered complimentary meals, and yes I sometimes accept. However, I always pay for my meal with a tip of the value of my meal so the staff who worked so hard to produce my meal get something back.
Last weekend we returned to The Plough at Cold Aston for a roast purely for the fact that it was so good when we visited 3 weeks before.
"Please tell me you have the Truffle Cauliflower Cheese" was my only request. They did.
Cold Aston is one of those villages that you would never have any real reason to drive through unless you are going to the pub or to see the mechanic. It's about 3 miles from Bourton on the Water and the same from Northleach. But not really in the middle if that makes sense? Google it.
The pub is back to its best since Tom and Josie Hughes took it on (Tom was former manager at The Wheatsheaf in Northleach) and is quickly growing a big reputation. The busier the pub is, the more cars are dotted around the grass triangle out on the road forming a makeshift car park. Sunday was very busy. The sun obviously helped to with people eating outside. They are a lot braver than me.
Our table ordered Red Ruby roast beefs. It arrived under a Yorkshire and on top of orange and cinnamon carrots, a parsnip that could have done with another 5 minutes and 3 roast potatoes, along with the truffle cauliflower cheese, greens, extra gravy and horseradish cream on the side.
It was again very good and with a carafe of wine, a Guinness, a Cotswold Lager, Cotswolds Gin & Tonic, pint of coke and two lemonades our bill was a tiny bit over £100 which we all paid and we all also chipped in with the tip.
The Ebrington Arms and Killingworth Castle have joined just 10 other pubs and restaurants throughout the whole of the UK to achieve 3 stars or above in the ‘Organic Served Here’ awards scheme, run by The Soil Association.
This means that both pubs are committed to offering between 50-75% organic produce on our menus.
A recent Soil Association poll revealed that 50% of people are more likely to choose a restaurant that highlights its ethical and sustainable credentials and 43% of people think that having organic on the menu makes a restaurant more appealing.
Check out both pubs on our Cotswold Pub Guide!
It was announced this morning that one of Cheltenham's finest restaurants is to close its doors on Sunday 24th March.
Owner and head chef Chris White said in a statement on Facebook "It is with great sadness that Purdey & I are making the following announcement;
After three and half great years running our fantastic restaurant, Sunday 24th March 2019 will be The White Spoon's last service before we close permanently.
We have had such a fantastic time, creating, growing and running The White Spoon, a dream I have held for a long time. We are hugely proud of all that we have achieved.
Unfortunately, the challenges of running a business, especially in such a demanding industry, whilst trying to maintain a balance with a young family have proven too much of a stretch for us. As a partnership and a family, we have made the very difficult decision to move on and adapt what our lifestyle looks like.
We are thankful to you all our customers who have taken time to dine with us, in particular those of you who have become avid supporters, visiting regularly. Over the years there are those of you who have become less like customers and more like friends, to the whole White Spoon Team. We will miss you dearly.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you, to our staff, past and present who have shared our passion and shown great commitment. Whenever, the going got tough, we could always rely on certain people to dig deeper than ever asked.
Apologies, but this does mean that we will not be able to honour any bookings past the 25th March.
We hope that over the next week we will see a few of you to say goodbye. We have a number of tables available Thursday to Sunday, if you wish to visit us for one last taste of The White Spoon’s unique offering..… and I’m sure there will be a few bargains on our wine list this week!
All the best,
Chris, Purdey & Annie
The line-up for Barn on the Farm Festival is always one to look out for in the summer. Previous years have seen Ed Sheeran, Bastille, James Bay and Hozier all perform and this year it's no different with Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender and Maggie Rogers attending.
The 10th anniverary of the festival takes place at Over Farm on 4th - 7th July 2019
You can find the full line-up and tickets at www.barnonthefarm.co.uk
The Little Bell Residency at Soho Farmhouse is launching next week on Thursday 7th March.
Peter Creed and Tom Noest from The Bell at Langford will be serving a menu of good, simple food with an organic and natural wine list in The Shack at Soho Farmhouse.
The menu will have hearty, classic, British dishes with wood-fired options, whole fish and joints of meat - including kid goat scrumpet & ketchup, whole lemon sole with monksbeard and calms, pigs head and potato pie, custard tart & rhubarb, and rollright, bread & mum’s chutney.
Monday: Lunch 12 – 3, Dinner 6 – 10
Thursday: Lunch 12 – 3, Dinner 6 – 10
Friday: Lunch 12 – 3, Dinner 6 – 10
Saturday: Lunch 12 – 3, Dinner 6 – 10
Sunday: Feast* 12 – 3, Dinner 6 – 10
Gin & Juice is launching tonight (Thursday 28th February) at No.131 in Cheltenham, transforming the venue into a bustling, late night destination every weekend with over 350 Gins that will amaze beginners and satisfy connoisseurs.
Skilfully paired with our original cocktail list and resident DJ’s, No.131 is sure to resume it’s social stature at the heart of Cheltenham's party scene.
During the day, Gin & Juice will also be offering an all day brunch menu, making it a perfect place to work from.
Jess Glynne and Elbow will be Saturday and Sunday headliners at this year's Big Feastival alongside Rudimental who will be doing a DJ set to close Friday night.
Lewis Capaldi, The Zutons and Fun Lovin' Criminals are all on the line-up.
Confirmed chefs include Raymond Blanc, Prue Leith and Gennaro Contaldo.
The festival takes place from the 23rd - 25th August on Alex James' Farm in Kingham.
Emily Watkins has announced today that she and husband Miles Lampson will leave the Kingham Plough after 12 years.
Watkins' journey as a chef began in the kitchens of Ristorante Beccofino in Florence before moving to work for Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck in Bray in 2002 and then to the Kingham Plough in 2007.
In her time at the Kingham Plough, Emily has featured on The Hairy Bikers, Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food as well as winning BBC's Great British Menu in 2014 with her fish course, going onto cook for war veterans at St Paulâs Cathedral in a banquet commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The line-up for Wilderness has been revealed this morning with Bombay Bicycle Club, Tom Odell, Freya Ridings and Tom Grennan all featuring.
The festival takes place at Cornbury Park from Thursday 1st - Sunday 4th August 2019.
The line-up for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival has been confirmed with some big names on the bill including Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, James Morrison, Sergio Mendes and Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night.
The festival takes place from the 1st - 6th May 2019.
Members tickets go on Sale on 27th February at 10am, 16-25 Members on Sale on March 1st at 10am and General Sale goes live on March 6th at 10am.