I know I chatted about eating out last month, but felt it rude not to share my recent birthday treat weekend away from home, especially seeing as some of you may be planning your own trips in the UK or abroad!
Visiting new places is great, it gives you the chance to take a break from daily routine, allowing you time to relax, rejuvenate and eat great food. I have just returned from a couple of days away in Ambleside in the Lake District and was lucky enough to enjoy all of this!
As usual before booking our trip I had to ensure the hotel was able to provide gluten free food. Checking this out over the phone (before you go) is always better as you definitely get the feel whether or not your dietary requirements are understood. After a good chat with the receptionist, I was happy to book the Waterhead Hotel in Ambleside, this proved to be the ideal base for us to explore the beautiful surroundings.
Food in the hotel was spot on and little touches like gluten free biscuits in the bedroom were a lovely surprise. They had an extensive gluten free dinner menu, which was great, after I’d made sure that they were aware of cross-contamination issues I felt confident to order any of the gluten free options – it felt really nice to be spoilt for choice!
I wanted something light, so to start I opted for treacle smoked salmon, served with pickled beetroot, ginger and lemon puree, followed by pan roasted duck breast with brandied Agen prunes, Anna potatoes, spring greens and peppercorn sauce. Sticky toffee pudding and ice cream finished my meal off perfectly! I was completely reassured it was gluten free as the sticky toffee pudding served to my non-coeliac husband was square and not round like mine.
A great cooked breakfast allowed us to fill up before heading out for the day. Again the choice was plentiful. The first day I had smoked salmon with scrambled egg on gluten free toast, which had been prepared separately in the kitchen. The second day I went for a full cooked breakfast with gluten free sausage… yum!! The only thing I did miss with the breakfast selection was gluten-free cereal, I did wish I’d taken some of my Juvela Cripsy Rice with me as cereal does always hit the mark and when having bigger lunches its sometimes good to have a lighter breakfast!
On one of our days out we discovered a great fish and chip shop in Bowness, called Vinegar Jones. They don’t have an official gluten free menu, but when we went in I got chatting to the fabulous young man and he filled me with confidence as he was very knowledgeable about gluten free food and cross-contamination. He assured me that he could fry the chips in separate oil (that is only used for frying chips) and keep them away from any areas which could contaminate them. Rather than tipping the chips into the main basket he decanted a few off for me in a tray and passed it over the counter, I added mushy peas and they were soon devoured on a nearby bench… classy I know!!
We located a great coffee shop just across the road from the hotel (where you catch the ferry at Ambleside) This shop has been run by the same family for over 30 years and was simply idyllic. The coffee was delicious and if you fancy something sweet they did have pre-wrapped gluten-free cake available, however on this occasion I was more than happy to just go with a latte!
To treat ourselves my husband and I pre booked a table for dinner on the second night away at the Old Stamp House in Ambleside. I have to say this is probably the most exquisite place I have ever eaten (but not too formal, I overdressed!). Their knowledge of food and dietary requirements were second to none. If you are in the area and want to have a really special meal this is the place to go. From little gluten free nibbles, such as warm macadamia nuts sat on a delicious sweet sauce to beetroot macaroons that were brought out between courses, to the explanation of each course. The menu is seasonal and will change but I’ve popped a couple of pictures of what I ate below. I have to say the crab starter (shown below left) was my favourite! Ravenglass crab salad with avocado, pink grapefruit and radish followed by Goosenagh duck with carrot, salsify, chicory and orange.
So that’s me, I loved my little break there are so many exciting and beautiful places to visit within the UK. On this trip I could see how restaurants and cafes are evolving to ensure they can offer a selection of safe gluten free dishes. If I hadn’t been so well catered for I’d have perhaps taken some Juvela Fresh Rolls to use as sandwiches for days out. I hope you have had the same great experience I had and like me are looking forward to your next get away!
Happy, Healthy gluten free to you!!
P.S As always do your checks before booking to stay somewhere or eat out… go with your gut instinct to ensure you stay gluten free.