Sunday 24 June 2012

Dorset & Normandy - Day 2

On our second day, we woke up to brilliant sunny skies and very blustery wind (40mph). With a lot of hope for a good day outdoors, we headed downstairs for a traditional English breakfast, and then after a bit of time with the OS map, decided to head over to Studland for a walk to "Old Harry's Rocks". Round trip it was about 6 miles, but the scenery from the top was gorgeous.At this point on the Jurassic Coast the cliffs are still mostly chalk, and so it reminded me a lot of some of the rock formations we saw a few years ago on the Isle of Wight. The rest of the walk took us around the point along the tops of the cliffs and then back through some really lovely country lanes back to the parking lot and a very handy pub, The Bankes Arms. home to the Isle of Purbeck brewery for lunch and a sample of their beers. Overall not to shabby though it seemed that they were at the end of the cask for some of them. 

Then, a brief detour to Manor Farm for some homemade ice cream (including playing with a lovely old sheepdog) before heading back to the car and in turn for a short country drive back to the B&B for a nap. From there we took a meandering drive over to Beaminster for dinner. We arrived a bit earlier than strictly needed and so wandered the town for a bit, stopping into the local church, St. Mary of the Annunciation. Come to find out we were one day early for the big local music festival, and the organ was in the middle of being tuned.Their instrument was actually brand new,  built only about 4 years ago by a Slovakian organ maker - the first of the kind in England. We waited around for a bit to listen to the acoustics (beautiful and full) before resuming our wandering of the town.

Unfortunately the rest of town was pretty much closed for the evening, and tea/pre-dinner drinks can only last so long. Fortunately, the lovely staff at The Wild Garlic managed to fit is in ahead of our scheduled reservation. I've been keen to try Matt Follas's cooking ever since my friend Kavey posted about her foraging trip with him a few years ago.This was something of a late Father's Day dinner for Gib (who is something of a gourmet himeself), so we all decided to have the tasting menu and really give Matt's cooking a full evaluation. The current menu featured: 

  • pesto popcorn
  • ham terrine with black pudding crumbles, sundried tomato bread, candied apple and apple sauce over greens
  • chili prawns (complete with finger bowls)
  • amuse of sweet potato and onion (tasted more ham?)
  • for mains, Cherrie chose the pork, the rest of us had venison (incredibly tender and served very rare) over potato and turnip mash, young carrots and blanched nettles
  • finally, a dessert trio of brownie, vanilla custard and lemon crème brûlée
Being more red than white drinkers, we chose a 2009 Beaujolais, which went with almost anything (the chili prawns being the biggest stretch). All in all, it was a fantastically enjoyable meal. The ham terrine, scallops with scapes (I adore the scallops that originate in this region of England) and the respective mains. As it was, I was quite glad we moved our reservation forward as it was nearing 10pm by the time we left, although being midsummer the light was still lingering. On the way home we caught just the tiniest hint of a fingernail moon amidst the fading sunset. 

A wonderful first day!

You can read Cherrie's post about our day here

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