What a food filled weekend last weekend was, as a food blogger I eat out regularly but my blogging story all started with small producers and local independents and this weekend took me back to something similar on the Isle of Wight..
Friday night we took the Wightlink ferry to Yarmouth not the best start to the weekend as the wind and rain was at full force, we did wonder if the ferry would still run. We stayed at one of the Aria Resorts - Rookley on the Lakes it is in a really central position, a 20 minute drive to most places of interest.
We chose one of the nearest places to eat on Friday night mainly because of the shocking weather, however, we struck it lucky at The Chequers Inn the food was excellent and a much higher quality than you would expect from pub food, being the last night of Cowes week the Island was listing with weight of all the additional sailors meaning the pub was really busy too.
I chose the slow cooked shoulder of lamb, crushed peas, smoked potato, local greens and caramelised goats cheese, well presented and very tasty.
Obviously Mr P went for his normal steak option with a peppercorn sauce, he was impressed with the tenderness of the steak and remarked on the peppercorn sauce being delicious too, the onion rings were crunchy and probably the biggest I've ever seen, the plates were also pretty big something to consider if you are sat at one of the smaller tables.
We are heading back to the Island with friends in October and will definitely book to eat here again.
A visit to the Garlic Festival on Saturday was always the plan for some great music, food demonstrations and obviously the usual (and unusual) garlic products, the day didn't disappoint.
GARLIC BEER,GARLIC ICE CREAM, GARLIC BREAD, GARLIC BLOODY MARY, GARLIC MUSHROOMS, GARLIC SWEETCORN.......
Sunday morning we had managed to arrange a visit to Isle of Wight Deer Farm it is a relatively new venture located just outside Newport. The tours are guided within the 334 acre farm, the area also known as "Paradise Valley" is the home for 145 Red Deer and 61 Fallow Deer. Our guide, Farm Director Juan has been farming in Spain since 1998 and brings a wealth of farming knowledge to the Isle of Wight. As the farm becomes more established Juan hopes to encourage more educational visits from students and chefs and to be able to use the space for private events.
As someone with an intolerance to dairy I was interested to learn more about goats milk so we paid a visit to The Green Barn - Isle of Wight Goat Dairy the islands only, commercial goat dairy. Goats milk is said to contain less sugar, more calcium, B6, vitamin A and more potassium than cows milk.
Keen to try some of the products, I came away with milk, cheese and kefir milk and I'm pleased to say I felt none of the usual symptoms when consuming any of it. I was particularly impressed with the goats cheese.
There are five different types of goats on the farm all contributing a different characteristic in the milk they produce. Watch the goats play on the bridge or constantly munching on the straw in the barn or have a cupp in the onsite cafe.
Sunday took us to The Hut at Colwell Bay - for a cheeky cocktail and a spot of lunch, although bright and sunny the wind was still blowing a hooley but a large number of kite surfers and windsurfers where enjoying it and kept us entertained whilst we ate. Top tip: Check out the Espresso Martini served here its epic.
I love it here!
Lastly a visit to the Islands only distillery - Isle of Wight Distillery based at The Old Wishing Well pub in Pondwell, although other spirits are available gin is my favourite so I sampled a large glass of their Mermaid Gin. Take a look at that distinctive Mermaid bottle and look out for a bottle washed up in a bar near you.
Alternatively book your trip to the Isle of Wight and do some food/drink hunting for yourself.