While on my trip with @greatbritishfood, one of the things we got to experience was a bit of life outside the bustling city of London.
We spent a day in Kent touring some wineries, which is maybe an hour ride or so outside of the city. If you’re a New Yorker, I’d equate it to traveling to Long Island from Manhattan. And coincidentally, the vibes are similar too. In certain parts of the town in Kent, I felt like I was driving through Sag Harbor (with slightly less traffic).
Our first stop was Gusbourne, where we learned a ton about sparkling wine, whites, and rose. Situated on the coast of Kent, Gusbourne specializes in chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes. The far, scrolling hills of vines set the scene for our tasting, and I liked every single one we tried. I’m normally not a fan of chardonnay, but the 2014 Guinevere was a delightful combination of bright citrus and oats. The 2015 rose was probably my favorite; pale pink, with notes of cherry and strawberry.
Our next winery stop was at Chapel Down, a name you may recognize from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Super cool to visit this on site after reading about it everywhere! Chapel Down is an official supplier to 10 Downing Street, they sponsor the Royal Ascot race, and work with the London Symphony and the Royal Opera House. This is a beautiful winery, complete with it’s own Michelin-starred restaurant, The Swan Wine Kitchen. After our tour of the winery, we had an amazing lunch here, with copious amounts of wine and beer being tasted during each course. I honestly lost count of how many we tried, so I was thankful for the delicious food to balance it out. The wild mushroom broth with chicken dumplings and blue scone was amazing, as well as the pork loin with braised celery, apple, and potato puree.
Our last winery of the day was a gorgeous estate in Kent called Hush Heath Estate & Winery. In terms of appearance and aesthetic, I loved this one. I have yet to meet a winery I don’t find beautiful, but something about this one, I just immediately pictured throngs of people outside during the warmer months, sipping wine while overlooking the giant landscape. Now I know it doesn’t sound like much in writing, but three wineries back to back is a bit tiring (and filling), so by the time we got here we didn’t have much room left. Obviously we managed to sit down with the tour guides and sip a few varietals before heading back to take a nap, but I’d love to see this one in action when it’s not almost closing time.
If you’re looking for yet another super cute town to visit outside of London, take the train 2 hours to Malton, in Yorkshire. Malton is known as Yorkshire’s food capital, and surely you’ve heard of Yorkshire pudding, so we actually got to make some while we were there! Yorkshire pudding in Yorkshire…you can’t make this stuff up. A big thank you to Visit Malton for setting us up!
We stayed at this beautiful hotel called The Talbot, which had recently been redone, but it has a ton of charm, with large, spacious rooms, beautiful bathrooms, and a lush green scenic view right in it’s backyard. The dining area here was lovely too, and we discovered that Malton is a very dog-friendly town. There were dogs in the restaurant and even at the bar. You know what goes great with a cocktail? A little floofy friend to play with.
Upon our arrival, we crossed the street to The Talbot Yard, which is a whole collection of shops. There’s a coffee shop, gelato parlor, a butcher with all locally sourced, grass-fed meats, and a gin company where you can literally make your own gin.
I really, really wish I liked gin as much as the Englanders do.
And remember the Yorkshire pudding? We made that (and ate that) at the brand new Malton Cookery School. Gorgeous new appliances and a friendly, knowledgable staff. It literally opened that day, so we were FIRST in history to try it out! Super cool.
There’s plenty to see just in that little area, but if you go outside the Talbot Yard, you’ll find more shops in a quaint little town. It’s not very big, so I think you can easily see most of it in a day trip.
Here’s a list of the places we visited in The Talbot Yard:
Roost Coffee – start here with a cup of fresh, delicious coffee and a biscotti. Try their signature “Roost Espresso Blend”!
Bluebird Bakery – filled with the aroma of fresh baked breads, Bluebird is known for their sourdough, but don’t skip the other fine baked goods like brownies and shortbread.
Food 2 Remember – small butcher shop from charismatic owner Paul Potts, this is a meat lovers dream. Everything is made on site, from massive pork chops to homemade chorizo. There’s also gluten-free items like scotch eggs and chicken kiev made with chickpea “breadcrumbs”.
Groovy Moo – Run by the amazing Michelle Walker and family, expect a wide variety of gelato, sorbet and other frozen treats in this shop. Their salted caramel gelato and Bakewell tart gelato are best sellers, but my eye was caught with the Skittles flavor.
Florian Poirot – UK Pastry Champion, Florian Poirot is one of Malton’s most famous producers. He specializes in beautiful macarons, chocolate bonbons, and other delicate treats. The apple galette I had was so pretty I didn’t even want to eat it.
Rarebird Distillery – Malton’s first distillery, Rare Bird is the brain child of husband and wife team Matt and Elizabeth Stewart who have created a special London Dry Gin, served in a beautiful blue bottle. This modern, bi-level space is complete with a “gin school” on the 2nd floor where you can make your own gin!
Definitely add these to your list when visiting England! Just a short trip to Malton and Kent, where there is PLENTY to eat and drink! Thanks again to @greatbritishfood for the experience. More pics below: