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Another Food Update from Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns

You must excuse the present stress on food but we do have a good tip to pass on after a doubly positive experience re the Peak District Pemier Cottages Privileges project, and Rowley’s Restaurant, in Baslow, which is one of the founder members of the scheme.

We have had Angela, a friend from Yorkshire staying, who is an excellent cook, and extemely interested in food generally. By lucky good fortune we were able to go together to Max Fischer (of Fischer’s which is related to Rowley’s) Taste of the Peak’s cookery demonstration at the Dome on Tuesday as part of Buxton Festival programme. Max was inspirational – apparently completely unfazed by the total gas and electricity failure at the start he began demonstrating a salad… When power was restored he made a risotto and a plum crumble which we tasted afterwards and marvelled over and decided then and there to go to Rowley’s the next day to see if it lived up to our expectations. John and I had been before, but a couple of years ago. We justified our rather self-indulgent proposal by deciding It was pretty crucial that we should test out, there and then, how our new Peak District Premier Cottages Privileges scheme was working.

So we were pretty gratified therefore when the Rowley’s manager instantly recognised the scheme, and made us very welcome; the girl that served us was also charming (we didn’t ask her name unfortunately). Even more importantly, the food was quite delicious and certainly lived up to our expectations. Eager to pick up more tips we sat at the table by the kitchen and watched the chef and his mate like hawks and I am sure we must have made them feel quite uneasy although they seemed quite affable and relaxed when we thanked them at the end.

For those that are interested John wanted a very light lunch so had roasted cherry tomato soup and a selection of ice-creams. No such restraint for Angela and me: Angela had a pea risotto and a creme brulee, complete with a dollop of banana compote, a banana ice-cream and toasted popcorn on top! My photo hardly does it justice. I also had the creme brule and a spiced beef and naan bread ‘sandwich’ which came with chips which I shared with the others, and a very delicious sauce. John’s soup was officially a starter, Angela and I had a ‘light bite’ portion but a heavy bite would be more than either of us could have managed and as it was we all felt obliged to have a brisk 4 mile walk afterwards.

We found the whole a most enjoyable experience; it was also we felt surprisingly reasonable – we had two courses each and a glass of wine (and of course our free PDPC Privileges coffee and fudge) and it came to under £50 – I think £43, but John paid so I am not quite sure. We will most certainly return and are very happy to continue to recommend Rowley’s to our guests – but with even more conviction now. (By the way, just in case you are wondering, nobody at Rowley’ has any idea I am writing this entirely unsolicited report.) And finally, we are even more convinced what a good thing our PDPC Privileges card is going to prove to be, for everyone involved.

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