Food and drink news: Cross Lane House, the Medieval hotel

A colourful selection of sweet treats

A colourful selection of sweet treats - Credit: Archant

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Tucked away in the pretty postcard village of Allerford, with its packhorse bridge and blacksmith’s forge, is a wonderfully preserved late medieval hotel. Stuffed full of history, Cross Lane House is a fabulous destination for overnight guests staying on Exmoor. The hotel also welcomes diners to its restaurant - a former finalist in Somerset Life’s Food & Drink Awards – while the lounge is the ideal location for a classic English afternoon tea.

This is no brief encounter with a rock bun. No, this is an experience in itself; something which needs to be savoured. You’ll need to leave room for what’s to come, so I recommend you skip lunch before-hand, don’t book any pressing appointments for later (ideally leave your watch at home) and sit back and take pleasure in the tower of treats about to be put before you.

The selection of freshly prepared neat finger sandwiches we enjoyed on our visit included smoked salmon, cream cheese with cucumber and Somerset ham with Westcombe Cheddar. Cross Lane House prides itself on showcasing the best of Exmoor and South West products – some of which can be found in its delightful shop in the cobbled courtyard.

But back to the afternoon tea and the warm homemade scones that were presented to the table snugly wrapped in a napkin. They were light as air and served with West Country clotted cream and homemade preserve.

The extensive tea selection featured intriguingly named varieties such as Madam Butterfly and Phoenix Formosa Oolong. We went for the more everyday English Breakfast and Earl Grey but were intrigued to discover it was a Cornish brew.

After a breather and polite conversation with the couple on the neighbouring table who had been given a Champagne afternoon tea as a birthday treat, we tucked in to the wonderful selection of patisserie and cakes, beautifully crafted by hand – each one a miniature marvel!

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Regrettably, the one delight I couldn’t find room for was the lemon & lime posset which I was told was melt in the mouth delicious.

Ah well, something to look forward to next time.

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