Guy Warner's best places in the Cotswolds for festive food and drink
- Credit: daylesford.com
Guy Warner on how to enjoy the build-up to Christmas by choosing to shop local
We all know that Christmas can feel a little paradoxical at times. There’s the obvious excitement of time off work, an extended holiday period, being able to chill with family or friends and all that fantastic food. Equally the whole thing can leave us with a slight sense of foreboding knowing quite how much preparation may be required, the plethora of original present ideas we feel compelled to come up with, all those menus that need planning and the logistics of how we actually see everyone!
If Covid has taught us anything, however, it’s that we all take things for granted, Christmas included. So, whilst it’s easy to stress about the effort involved, or to get caught up in the panic about this year’s supposed lack of turkeys, I think we all need to come at it another way – to actually decide that we’re going to enjoy the preparation this year.
Food and drink are such a massive part of Christmas, but in the mad march to the 24th we rarely get time to savour them. So, this year, let’s rekindle that Christmas magic by seeking out some of the fantastic and knowledgeable local producers who are tucked away in all four corners of the Cotswolds. There are countless Aladdin’s caves of local cheeses, fine wines and seasonal meats; hidden gems containing award-winning gins and jams, artisan chocolates and chutneys, world-class fish and other gourmet treats to discover.
So, stop fretting that the Ocado slots have already been taken and make a date instead to visit one of the Cotswolds’ local food and drink outlets. You’re in for a real Christmas treat!
The best places in the Cotswolds for festive food and drink…
Tivoli Wineshop: inside this treasure trove of wine and spirits, you’ll find a comprehensive wine library where you can sample up to 32 wines, including a particularly good selection of local, English and Welsh wines too. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and their recommendations are always spot on. tivoliwines.co.uk
Dunkertons Organic Cider Shop & Deli: alongside the award-winning range of Dunkertons ciders, you can find cheese, olives, charcuterie and artisan breads and honey at this popular food destination. There’s also a range of gifts including bespoke pottery and glassware. dunkertonscider.co.uk
Jolly Nice Farmshop & Kitchen: this award-winning farmshop and drive-through takeaway is like a Santa’s Grotto of Christmas goodies. There’s an onsite native breed butchery, a selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables, flowers and plants, as well as a deli and Christmas decoration shop. jollynicefarmshop.com
Jesse Smith Farmshop: if you’re not keen on turkey this year, treat yourself to a Christmas Wellington from this award-winning butchery and deli (vegetarian options also available). And while you’re there, why not pick up your Boxing Day ham and the cheese for your cheeseboard? jessesmith.co.uk
Severn & Wye Smokery: this world famous smokery is renowned for its delicate smoked salmon – a must for every Warner family Christmas! Inside the Barn, you’ll find a well-stocked shop, café and fish counter, and if you have time, I recommend trying the fantastic fish restaurant. severnandwye.co.uk
Daylesford Organic: a visit to this award-winning farmshop should be on everyone’s wish list this Christmas. As well as organic meat and fish, there’s cheese from the onsite creamery and artisan bread from the bakery. And a huge range of Christmas gifts and hampers to keep everyone happy! daylesford.com
Warner’s Taste Club celebrates the best of local food and drink in the Cotswolds. Members receive food and drink news, plus money-off promotions, and invitations to exclusive events, tastings and competitions. Join for free at warnerstasteclub.co.uk