Friday, 19 September 2014

Daylesford Organic Farm

Recently Jane and I spent a few days away from home, staying in a rented cottage in the town of Stow on the Wold, in rural Gloucestershire. This is the heart of the Cotswolds country, an area renowned for its natural beauty. It is so nice to be away from the pressures of work and the daily grind of household chores and general "admin", for a while. As the saying goes, it was chance to re-charge our batteries...

This is the cottage in which we stayed

As you all know, Jane and I are very interested in food and cooking, so it was inevitable that one of our outings was a trip to Daylesford Organic Farm, just a few miles from Stow.

Daylesford is more than just an organic farm. It is also a cookery school, a restaurant and a shop, all of them thoroughly imbued with the spirit of celebrating the pleasures of good food made from the finest ingredients. We timed our arrival there to coincide with lunchtime (now there's a surprise!). We were very impressed with the restaurant. It was neat, smart and efficiently run, and the food was beautiful - in terms of the taste of course, but also the presentation. Most of the ingredients including meat, fruit, vegetables, bread and dairy products, are from their own farm, so there are very few food-miles involved. The dishes available sounded so attractive that we asked permission to take away a copy of the menu for future inspiration.

Display outside the shop - this is just to get you interested!

Our meals sound basic: Jane had Welsh Rarebit (cheese on toast) with salad, and I had a tomato salad with burrata mozzarella. Writing it like that scarcely does the dishes justice, because they were made with the finest ingredients you could wish for. Jane's cheese, for instance, was their home-made Daylesford Cheddar, and both her baby leaf salad and my tomatoes were from the Daylesford farm. I was particularly pleased that my tomato salad was served with Mint instead of the usual Basil, which gave it a more English feel. The burrata mozzarella was drizzled with olive oil from Daylesford's partner organisation in Provence, France, called Chateau Leoube, who also provided the wonderfully crisp, refreshing (and not too sweet) Rose wine which accompanied our meal. Our desserts both included berries from the Daylesford farm - blackberries, raspberries and redcurrants. Jane had hers left plain, but mine were an accompaniment to a really zesty Lemon Tart, made with those huge and powerful Sicilian lemons.

The meal was not cheap, but we thought it excellent value for money, and the service was good too: attentive and knowledgeable staff, but not too pushy.

After lunch we had a good look round the gardens followed by a comprehensive browse of the shop. Here are a few photos to illustrate what we saw:

Crab Apple tree

Rustic table (not for sale...)

"Indigo Rose" tomatoes

The shop was full of things we wanted to buy, and it was hard to restrain ourselves! One of the most interesting features of the shop is the cheese room, where cheeses are kept under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity.

Nicely aged Daylesford Cheddar cheeses
 Although the range of cheeses in stock was not huge, it contained a good mix of local and imported cheeses. There was (amongst others) Comte and Roquefort and Brie de Meaux from France, Parmesan from Italy and Manchego from Spain, alongside Stichelton (an English blue cheese similar to Stilton) and this Adlestrop, made on the premises:

The shop also had lots of things in it that were not edible, though they were mostly food-related, such as kitchen utensils and pot and pans - and books. We couldn't resist buying this fabulous book about the whole Daylesford concept and its food.

 This lavishly-illustrated volume has loads of recipes and serving suggestions, presented in the house style, which is to make the most of the ingredients and not to disguise them with too much contrived "cheffiness".

This is very much what we like, and how we like to cook and eat, so I'm sure this book will provide a rich source of inspiration for us in the years to come.

If you are ever in the Cotswolds area, I strongly recommend that you put this place on your itinerary!


  1. It does look like a lovely place to visit, an ideal trip for the pair of you.

  2. It sounds an interesting place to visit, right up your street. I've never seen, or even heard, of Indigo Rose tomatoes. Did you get to try them? I love the little cottage you stayed in.

    1. Jo, no, unfortunately the Indigo Rose tomatoes were only a display item, not for sale. I have seen several bloggers writing about them this year. Apparently they take ages to ripen. Prior to turning black they are a sort of brick red colour.

  3. What a wonderful farm. I especially love the cheese room - I have such a weakness for cheese of any kind.

  4. a wonderful day out... it looks incredible. I have that book and it's brilliant. if the place is half as good as the book then it must be wonderful x

  5. What a wonderful place! I'm amazed at the variety of chillies and tomatoes seen on your blog. And which food lover won't be tempted with a display like that in your second photo?


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