It’s bloody freezing at the moment! But with miserable rain constantly around the corner you’ve got to make the most of what festive weather comes your way. So off I went with my family to Waddesdon Manor! Whilst most National Trust properties like to shut themselves up and hide away through the Winter, Waddesdon Manor embraces the season with huge Christmas trees, mulled wine and lovely little markets.
The grounds were so pretty; those frosty landscapes would make even the biggest Scrooge in your family crack a smile! But by the time we rolled up to the manor I couldn’t feel my toes and was more than ready to warm up inside. I could not have been happier that we’d chosen to visit at the same time as the Christmas Food Festival!
We spent hours going around the dozens of stalls, every one of them waving out handfuls of something delicious to try as you walked passed. Its a different vibe because everyone is working on such a small and personal scale with their produce; they care so much about what they’re selling, they weren’t just there for a quick sell, they were there to tell a story about what they did. Of all the endless stands there were a couple which really stood out for me.
This little business encapsulates everything that I love about little businesses: someone following their own rules to provide something they love on a totally original and quality level. Elliott and his trusty van ‘Wurzel’ love coffee. Passion for the stuff exuded from his vast knowledge of the bean and the care that had gone into the display. His mission is to inject some love back into the humble cuppa; something that has been sucked out of the corporate Starbucks & Costa coffees we’ve all been mindlessly chugging back.
I was treated to a coffee on the house and I chose a mocha. It’s a coffee I love but hate to order; shops will often get it wrong so it’s either a plain old filter brew or a hot chocolate. Monkshood however passed the test wonderfully: super smooth, flavoursome coffee with a creamy topping, complimented by the sweet after taste of cocoa. It was honestly the best coffee I’ve had in a very long time.
Monkshood coffee will be opening a shop in Buckingham on Saturday 15th December. Elliott promises it will be quirky, quality and totally original. And I guarantee this will be a worthy addition to the town, which could certainly benefit from a little more flavour on it’s high street!
We got drawn to this stand when we turned a corner and saw dozens of enticing little bottles lined up. Alan Coxon is a bit of a culinary pick n’ mix: he’s a presenter on Food Network, a chef, an author and (best title ever?) a food archaeologist! The latter being where this venture derived from, as he was selling a variety of oils based upon and refined from Roman & Medieval recipes.
Admittedly I was sceptical at first. I mean, I love oils & dressings but it’s one of those areas that’s been done now. I was wondering what could possibly improve on good ol’ olive oil & balsamic. Well I was wrong because Alan’s creations were truly amazing; I don’t know how one single ingredient could have so many levels of flavour. They were sweet and aromatic and sharp and fresh and robust, all at once! Serious taste bud work out.
A true labour of love, Alan has dedicated a decade to researching and developing these flavours,everything right down to the bottle is designed by himself! It’s 100% paid off and these would make a fantastic gift, you can buy them online here.
(I will not be held responsible for how much French stick you devour upon purchasing them.)
There was so much good food under this one tent, if I’d had the money I honestly would have left with my arms piled high with puddings and pies! Check out the list of Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire suppliers here and support your local foodie community!