An Indian summer with Michael
Yesterday was another of those delightful days we have so enjoyed this year – clear blue skies, warm sunshine and not a breeze.
The day promised to be very special as we were sharing it with long-term friends to celebrate her 50th birthday and her recovery from serious illness.
Meeting up for coffee at our beloved Darts Farm in Topsham was a sure fire way to set a good tone for the day.
I was not put off by the girly chat in the back of the car as we travelled to the pretty market town of Chagford and then I really had to concentrate as the lanes got really narrow with moss cover dry stone walls which lay in wait for the inattentive or distracted driver. After a further few miles driving into Dartmoor we arrived at the double Michelin starred Gidleigh Park Hotel.
Valet parking and the welcome outside the front door was a good indication of the attention and detail you receive throughout your time at Gidleigh.
A glass of wine and an aperitif to wake up the palate while relaxing with the menu and catching up made sure we were very ready to experience our five star lunch.
Our table in the window, overlooking the gardens and parkland, was a perfect setting for the food put before us. With Michael Caines as executive chef and Ian Webber as head chef what could go wrong.
The opening gambit was Foie Gras Terrine with Truffled Toast followed by Dartmoor Lamb, Boulanger Potatoes and Fennel Puree. Does it get any better? You bet it does, an Assiette of Apricots to finish, or so we thought!
The presentation of the food was stunning, the flavour superb and the service, attentive, friendly and relaxed. The wines complimented the lunch which ended with coffee and petit fours on the terrace.
Hats off to Michael Caines and all the staff at Gidleigh.
The only blemish of the day was seeing a fellow diner getting too friendly with a granite wall on the way back to Chagford in his new, shiny, black BMW.
If you can manage to get to Chagford this week, visit the Chagford Film Festival and enjoy free screenings in their mobile cinema. If you are too busy this week make a point of visiting soon. The town is fascinating, the autumn colours are magical, Gidleigh is a treasure and you can also visit Drogo Castle, the last castle to be built in England.
There is so much to enjoy in Devon and the South West, just slow down and take a staycation.