Today’s freebie

Today I received my free Cadbury chocolate buttons which I got from their Twitter game. I also love the metallic pink envelope! 

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Happy National Pie Week!

Last week (March 6th to March 12th) was a week to celebrate the best of British pies. I went to Brewers Fayre to try their special Beef and Doom Bar Ale pudding, served with cheese and chive mashed potato, a mass of green beans and gravy.

Although it is more of an American treat, I saw this Moon Pie in So Sweet, Barnstaple. Moon Pie is similar to a Wagon Wheel but the biscuit base differs. This is a special Double Decker Moon Pie, a chocolate coated moon pie sandwich with marshmallow filling.

Christmas Lunch at Thomas Carr at the Olive Room, Ilfracombe

Thomas Carr at the Olive Room was recently rewarded a Michelin Star for its use of fresh, local ingredients and superb flavours, and it is certainly very popular. I was wanting to try the food here, but the restaurant is currently closed at lunchtimes and closed on my only day off! So…I have been waiting a long time! On their Facebook page last year, they announced they had late cancellations for Christmas lunch, so why not try something different to your usual Christmas fare?

When you arrive, it is not what you would expect a Michelin Star restaurant to be like. It is quite a small restaurant, we almost drove past it! Inside there were only two other tables and the owner’s family seated for Christmas lunch. I can’t imagine a lot of people can be seated on a weekend night. The other Michelin restaurant I have visited was Castle Terrace Restaurant in Edinburgh, where the restaurant was huge, grand and the staff professionally trained. The Olive Room resembles a more smaller and cosier affair, where the staff are friendly and not afraid to talk to you.

The restaurant is simple and clean inside, and of course, decorated for Christmas! We had crackers on our table, complete with little toy and bad joke!

The restaurant is nothing fancy inside as I have said, so there seems to be a big emphasis on the food. After our drinks, we received some homemade bread with butter.

On Christmas Day, the restaurant was only serving a six course taster menu for £80 per person, so we were in for a long afternoon! We spent a good few hours here enjoying the food!

First up was some crab mayo on bacon and cheddar toast decorated with watercress and fresh apple. This was so delicious, I could have happily eaten more!

To follow, we had scallop with hogs pudding, artichoke crisps and artichoke foam. Again, the flavours and texture were divine!

Next, was a stone bass fillet with prawns, tempura squid rings and a bouillabaisse sauce. I wasn’t overly keen on the sauce, which had orange citrus flavours to it, but the seafood was cooked well, and the squid rings were lovely.

Afterwards, we ate the roast beef, served with potato truffle terrine, mushrooms and oxtail. The flavours were lovely, my only criticism is that we were asked how we wanted our beef to be cooked. Although we asked for medium, it came out very pink!

At this stage, we were feeling very full! But now was dessert time (with a pot of tea)! I am not normally a fan of lemon but this lemon posset was really nice. It was lemon jelly, under a lemon cream with biscuit crumbs topped off with a yoghurt sorbet. This also comes with a shortbread biscuit on the side.

Sadly, I couldn’t make it to the end and finish everything! The last dessert was a dark chocolate torte with burnt orange puree, honeycomb pieces and clotted ice cream. This is a nice dessert, very rich! However, I was too full to finish!

All in all, I enjoyed my visit. The restaurant fully deserves its Michelin star. The use of ingredients and combination of flavours is really inventive and tasty. It seems a lot of thought goes into every dish, and it is a credit to North Devon! Of course, the price is expensive, but average compared to other Michelin establishments.

I would like to return again, depending on their opening times, but I would probably opt for ordering off the standard menu rather than the tasting menu. I would definitely recommend The Olive Room to those who are visiting or live near Ilfracombe! Fantastic food and service!

Advent Calendar!

It has been a long time but I was given an advent calendar this year! This is the Cadbury’s Advent Calendar. Door 1 is now open!


When I was younger, we used to buy advent calendars when they came out in November. They were also finished in November as well…Later on, I used to eat 3 chocolates on one day and then promise not to eat chocolate for the next two days, only to make the same promise the day after, until all of the chocolates are gone. This year, I think I can use some self-restraint and eat one chocolate a day…maybe… 🙂

Tofu Cute Snack Surprise!

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For those who love Japanese snacks, this lucky cat bag from http://www.tofucute.com is a must have! Available in four sizes, ranging from the chibi size at £12.99 to the sumo size at £49.99, these bags contain a wide range of biscuits, sweets and chocolates.

Tofu Cute says that the actual value of the goods is greater than the price you pay, plus you get a cute kitty drawstring bag.

Last month, I ordered a sugoi bag at £19.99. I was amazed at what I received: a box set of ichigo Kit Kat, pack of two strawberry cheesecake Kit Kat, Meiji Melty Kiss blueberry chocolates, Tohato Caramel Corn, Lollipop DIY candy set, Kabaya panda chocolate biscuits, mango Pocky, grape flavoured chews and chocolate Pepero biscuits. There are good favourites such as the Kit Kat and Pocky and new things I liked. I really enjoyed the panda biscuits and the Caramel Corn. This is why it is so great – it gives you a chance to try new things!

Having finished everything I have ordered a Senpai bag and I am so excited! >○<

Autumn in York Part 3

The next day we walked around York (the weather was a little better). We went to York Cocoa House and the Earl Grey Tea Rooms.

York Cocoa House is completely devoted to chocolate – they make their own chocolates, run chocolate making workshops, invent their own chocolate desserts and savoury dishes. The cafe was full, and we had to wait ten minutes before we could be seated.

The menu contains a history of chocolate in York, and a list of teas and hot chocolates, afternoon tea, snacks and meals.

I ordered the orange hot chocolate to drink. Each drink is served with a “chocolate of the day” – lemon truffle, a nice touch although I am not too keen on lemon. The waitress spilt a little of my drink when she carried it over. She seemed a little nervous, I think perhaps she was a new waitress. To eat, I ordered a goats cheese scone with cocoa nibs. It was quite rich and an unusual combination but something I glad I tried. It is quite a small portion size but I felt a little full afterwards! My sister had a chicken bagel with parma ham, basil pesto and a chocolate ganache. The salad also has some sort of chocolate sauce dressing on. She commented she couldn’t taste the chocolate that much in the bagel.

There is something quite unique about York Cocoa House which demands a visit at least once during your trip. The pricing is a little expensive but the experience is good. You also get a complimentary chocolate button with the bill. I would like to return to try one of the cakes or  desserts someday.

Later on, we made a stop at the Earl Grey Tea Rooms mid-afternoon. we intended to go to the Newgate Coffee Bar but they were full. Here I felt the pricing was expensive for what it is. The service is a little unfriendly, and the cake was served chilled – not to my liking.

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Caramel Apple cake and House Blend tea

 

The Chocolate Teapot, Bideford

The Chocolate Teapot is a small cafe with indoor and outdoor seating in Bideford. As you can guess from the name, chocolate is the highlight here. The Chocolate Dipping Platter is quite popular here, where you are provided with fruit, marshmallows and other treats to dip in melted Belgian chocolate. The Ultimate Hot Chocolate allows you to make your perfect drink. You can melt Belgian chocolate drops in the hot milk provided to you and add fudge and marshmallows according to taste. For those who don’t want to make so much effort, the Luxury Hot Chocolate is a creamy hot chocolate, with marshmallows on top (I tried this – it was very nice!)

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The cafe serves hot food, sandwiches and other puddings, but for me, the cakes are the best thing here. Homemade and inventive, I would happily go back for more! During my visit, I opted for the trio of traybakes, in which I got to taste the Chocolate Orange, Caramel Shortcake and Eton Mess cakes (the Eton Mess is a recent addition. I heard it had sold out on its first day very quickly!).

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For those who have a sweet tooth, The Chocolate Teapot is the place for you!