ambience and atmosphere

The street market in Barcelona, close to the cathedral, was buzzing with mid-afternoon crowds. Fairy lights and coloured balloons created a party atmosphere and the throb of the Barcelona street drummers, the whistles and cheers of the crowd, all added to the ambience. You could hear and smell this place before you arrived.



But let’s get down to the food:

naughty chocolates and pretty macarons (though I have to confess to never having tasted one)

Calamari anyone?

tempting offerings from the sea, wrapped in newsprint

and busy, busy stall-holders serving out their goods


We came across the food market accidentally, but so glad we did! There is nothing better than a good surprise.

To Autumn

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

John Keats (1795-1821)

National Cream Tea Day

June 26 2015

There seems to be a national day for anything these days and I’d love to know who decides on what and when, but as a cream tea aficionado how can I let this one pass without a mention?

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”
~ Henry James

And surely there is a no more perfect one than the cream tea – whether Devon style (with the jam on top) or the Cornish style (with the cream on top) what matters most is the freshness of the ingredients. Light. melt in the mouth scones, fruity strawberry jam, and lashings of golden crusted clotted cream. Are you drooling yet?


The Waymarker, near Constantine, was named champion of the ‘Truly Cornish Clotted Cream Tea‘ in 2014 but I am doing my best to seek out decent rivals 🙂

Where and what is the best afternoon tea you have experienced? My most memorable is High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe – tiny crust-less sandwiches, Petit fours, scones, cakes and Earl Grey tea served on Stanley Terrace with spectacular views of the Victoria Falls bridge down the Batoka Gorge with the spray rising from The Falls.

Home Made

One of the perks of staying in a self-catering holiday cottage in the UK is the little gifts that welcome you to your new home for the week. The best (and often the most expensive) leave you with sufficient goodies to last a couple of days such as orange juice, eggs, bread, cheese, coffee and a bottle of wine! Along with scones, jam and cream in the south-west country.

homemade2Our perfectly charming, though tiny, very reasonable priced cottage in which we are currently staying close to the rugged west coast provided charming home-made jams and chutney, a lemon drizzle cake (sorry that’s long gone), fresh free-range eggs and a bowl full of chocolates. Along with a vase of stargazer lilies in the lounge and a jug of spearmint in the kitchen.

We have been thoroughly spoilt!

Welcome to Gourmetville

It’s that time of the year again…

…when people from miles around converge on this beautiful little Medieval market town for the Ludlow Food Festival. They come to attend numerous workshops and tastings, visit local producers, hit the sausage trail or try the pudding tastings, listen to top chefs deliver talks and demonstrations in the castle grounds or learn knife skills and attend Egyptian Masterclasses. This town of 10,000 people will double its population over the coming weekend.

On Sunday there will be a Local Producers’ Market with over 40 small, local food and drink exhibitors on the Market Square.

And, as usual, there is a Window Dressing Competition. So I took the camera around the town today (before the hoards arrive) to see what merchandise I could find.


What kind of festival do you like to attend?