You Do Get Good Stuff in the Provinces

While C and I are Londoners to the core, we do get dragged away from the City from time to time. I was taken away from the hum of the City as two uni friends married this weekend at an idyllic spot in the Cotswolds.  On the way to the thirteenth century church I found myself with an hour to kill in Stroud. Despite my metropolitan prejudices, I was rather charmed by this little town on the edge of the West Country, and was particularly pleased to find out that it has an award-winning farmers market.

On a sunny Saturday, the market was teeming with people, locals and non-locals, noshing on the produce which comes from the local area. As I had time on my hands, I took the opportunity to sample some of the offerings and got chatting to some of the producers. One of the most unusual people I met was the owner and resident oenologogist of an English winery based in Malmesbury. The chap had excellent patter: he waxed lyrical about the health benefits of the odd glass of wine and could discuss the different varieties, climate and soil types of the area at length. In any event, his shtick was on the money and he convinced me to part with a few pounds for a bottle of the wonderfully named Noah's Ark, a blend of Bacchus, Schönburger and Seyval varietals. The wine is a pleasantly dry, works well as an aperitif and by the taste of it is best drunk young. If you see a bottle get hold of it while you can as there is unlikely to be a 2012 vintage. The exceptionally wet summer has apparently done for this summer's crop of grapes.

While C was not able to accompany me on escapade, she didn't come away empty handed. She is now the proud owner of an aromatic herby Wiltshire brie. It should feed her cheese addiction for all of half a day...
Wiltshire Brie (actual size)

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