Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Across the Pond

Our first destination after a smooth flight to London was Dave's cousin Dora Marlow and her husband Robin at their house in Bristol, England. We were greeted warmly into the Marlow home and served tea and traditional English fruitcake that Robin had prepared. The large city of Bristol is very close to the border of Wales. Wales is the place where things are really happening in the U.K. food world and the site of two major food festivals, Abergavenny and Ludlow. Chefs, farmers and artisan producers in the area enjoy access to a large population of interested and hungry fans of their work.

On the walk to Dora's house Jim spied a healthy fox running between cottages, seems many Bristol residents raise chickens and quite a few of those chickens are taken off by local foxes. These two chickens, located in the backyard of our hosts Dora and Robin, are safe for now.

Bristol is famous as the place where legendary graffiti artist/vandal Banksy got his start. Soon enough there it was, a Banksy original, high on a wall. A nice work had in turn been vandalized with paint bombs from another 'artist'.

Considering Banksy's frequent night time graffiti forays and his many years of successfully eluding capture and identification by police it comes to mind that the stealth of Bristol's foxes may have been an artists inspiration.

Near Abergavenny, Wales

Wales countryside

We rented a car (careful which side you are driving on Dave) and as we entered Wales the rural countryside became more and more green. Sheep multiplied and our appetites grew as we pulled up for lunch at the Hardwick and our first chef visit! Stephen Terry was recommended to us by our potential dinner site, nearby Trealy Farm. Hugh Fernley- Whittingstall has described Trealy Farm as the best charcuterie maker in the UK. Soon we were comfortably seated and sharing several tasty Trealy Farm favorites. The handsome restaurant is in the style of a traditional English pub with an atmosphere that retains the casual pub style but is elevated in food quality with excellent ingredients and creative technique. As we traveled and learned more about the UK food scene we saw this theme repeated at many places we visited; very good food served in a more easy going setting. Stephen is a noted champion of local Wales sourced ingredients in an area that already has become the epicenter of the UK's growing interest in local food. Stephen expressed great enthusiasm for the Outstanding mission and plans were made for a late summer collaboration at Trealy Farm.


BBC Radio classical station - perfect for a drive in the Wales countryside...

Trealy farm charcuterie served at the Hardwick in Wales

Chef Stephen Terry of the Hardwick

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