My New Year's resolutions this year lasted all of twelve hours for 2016. I hate to say it, but I'm shaking my pointing finger at The Swan at Southorp. I had sworn off carbs, sugar, alcohol and more, just hours earlier. Basically my life in 2016 was to consist of lettuce leaves. How original. That was all well and good until I opened the menu for The Swan - a 17th century country inn that is not only locally worshipped, but also has quite the celebrity following.
I was seduced by the scotch egg, swept off my feet by the succulent duck and put completely under the table by the marvelous meringue. My New Year's resolution, to eat a strict diet, was dead and gone - buried beneath a pile of culinary delights, supplied by The Swan. If only I was eating in a culture where one is allowed to pick up their plate and lick it clean (can someone please let me know where that is permitted?), I would have done so with delight.
Candles flickered all around as we tucked into each course, with jolly parties surrounding us on all sides. There is much to be said for a culinary experience being heightened by delightful surroundings. The staff were sensational and the menu offering plentiful. If you're a beer drinker, you'll enjoy the varied offerings, and if wine is your game you must ask for a pairing suggestion for your meal.
Oh, and it must be remembered, throughout the meal, that the offerings before you come straight from the land behind you. The Swan is a farm-to-table establishment. That morning we were given the chance to tour the gardens, meet the pigs and explore the hen and quail houses. It does give an added element of excitement to the arrival of each course - having seen exactly where the food was grown. How often can you say that? It's certainly a first for me and provided a moment of true appreciation for the creation of a magnificent dish. All too often we are caught up in the event of dining itself and we forget about the origins of our meals. When presented with the opportunity to discover the effort that goes into each and every ingredient, I found that the experience itself, the taste if you will, was made all the better for it.
If you find yourself tripping through Gloucestershire, and you're asking yourself "where to eat?," this is a most definitely a must visit!
Southorp Manor Estate,
Gloucestshire GL7 3NX
Tel: 01367 850174