Lunch was bread and cheese today, after a morning’s shopping in Oakham. But Rutland is at the forefront of today’s ‘eat well, eat local’ movement, so this wasn’t just any old bread and cheese. Rutland is blessed with great local food suppliers and artisan producers – which makes it easy to eat well.
Here, I was patiently helped to small portions of Aged Red Leicester, as orange as any Halloween pumpkin, and with a wonderful texture: firm, with a bit of crumble in the middle, and a mellow, sweet-smoky taste that was just gorgeous. The Wensleydale, while not local, was as authentic as it comes and wonderfully chalky. I could have bought some Lincolnshire Poacher, but I’m sorry to say I hate it! So with a bit of nostalgia, I tried some Herefordshire Hop from the county of my birth, but in fairness this came a clear third, being a little soapy – and the hop flavour was so shy as to be almost not there. So the Aged Red Leicester won hands down.
Oakham’s market was in full swing, so after browsing a few other shops I stocked up on Lincolnshire leeks and potatoes and called it a day. On the way home I diverted into Wing Hall‘s farm shop (another outlet for Hambleton Bakery by the way), where their home-baked cakes are gorgeous: soft, moist sponges sitting under glass domes. A more than generous slice is about £1.35, making it a weekend tea-time treat: their coffee and walnut is a particular favourite. Yum!