Tuesday 11 December 2007

The Spread Eagle, Stourton, Wiltshire

It was a blustery, cold Sunday afternoon but I was determined not to stay indoors curled up under the duvet all day. So Browny and I wrapped up in our winter woollies, put on our wellies and set off up to Alfred's Tower with my beloved whippets; Hector and Bella.

It was freezing, but fortunately the rain held off. We had a fabulous walk clambering through the woods for an hour or so. Hector and Bella whizzed about chasing squirrels while Browny foraged around in the undergrowth for mushrooms. It was great but we soon worked up an appetite and decided to reward ourselves with a trip to a trusty local.

The Spread Eagle is set in the magnificent surrounding of Stourhead House and Gardens. It is National Trust favourite and rightly so. As we walked in the landlord couldn't care less about our muddy boats and waterproof trousers. A proper country pub that caters for all walks of life. The bar area was filled with walkers, families, grannies, couples.. the works. The open fire was incredibly welcoming and as soon as I had ordered a local bitter and a bloody mary we settled in next to the open blaze.

To start we shared a delicious chicken liver and mushroom pate. Smooth, rich and extremely tasty with plenty of garlic for good measure. The gooseberry chutney was the perfect accompliment.

To follow I opted for a simple leek and potato soup to warm me up and keep my nasty cold at bay. It was fabulous; very comforting, tasty, well seasoned and not bland like so many classic soups. Bronwy was somewhat more adventurous and had a free range chicken leg with tities and veggies. It did what is said on the tin, filled a hole, but nothing to write home about.

Following lunch we simply sat nestled in our arm chairs letting the world go by with not a care in the world... it was great and what Sundays are all about.

If your going for the first time, you simply must take a walk around the gardens.. they are truly fabulous. The farm shop is also a winner!

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