Photo of the Week

On a chilly winter’s morning deep in the valley a frosted village sits whilst the sun rays slowly rise at Withypool, Exmoor.

Withypool is a small village in Somerset, England, near the centre of Exmoor National Park and close to the border with Devon. The word Withy means “willow”. Withypool is in the Barle Valley on the River Barle. The village lies on the route of the Two Moors Way and the Celtic Way Exmoor Option.

To the southwest of the village lie Withypool Common and Withypool Hill.

Thanks for looking, Rich.

By Richard kift Photography & Prints

Bienvenue and Welcome to La Petite Bouchée in Witheridge

La Petite Bouchée in Witheridge is again taking part in the Exmoor Food Fest!
Below is a guest post by Anita-Clare Field, telling you a bit more about what’s on the menu for the next four weeks:

With a week to go before we launch our Exmoor Food Fest menu, we’re busy sourcing the finest ingredients and continuing to prep all the little extras that go on the plate at La Petite Bouchée like handmade pickles, Ice creams sorbets and confit tomatoes.

For those of you not familiar with the way La Petite Bouchée works here’s a little snapshot. We have a zero waste policy which means we only ever buy what we need in the restaurant. If there are any leftovers they are neatly packaged in a box for you if you wish to take them away.

This means that we ask diners to let us know in advance what they wish to order so when you arrive all you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy your evening without the stress of deciding what you’re eating. Another thing to mention is that we can cater for everyone. Please don’t worry if you have allergies or intolerances, just let us know and we’ll recreate a dish which meets your needs.

You can read all about our Environmental and Social Policies on the website.

Back the menu now and for this years festival we’ve gone for a traditional brasserie style menu. You will see a lot of dishes you are familiar with and a couple you’ll be eager to try. Here is a whistle stop tour of what to expect in terms of flavours and produce.

Entrée

Our French onion soup is my Grandmother’s recipe which I have developed over the years it’s rich, warming and packed with the flavours of sweet onions and bone broth. Have no fear, we’ll be making a vegetarian and vegan friendly version too which is equally as rich in flavour using our secret ingredient to recreate that  legendary “beefy” flavour.

Our Chicken Liver Parfait is light, almost mousse like in texture but bold in with its cognac and thyme overtones, served with french toast and handmade pickles.

Love them or hate them, Escargot will be making an appearance this month. Delivered fresh from Somerset Escargot , these locally ( Wellington) farmed snails arrive ready to be steamed then turned into delicious  Escargot Bourgogne dripping with garlic butter ready to be mopped up with a hunk of crispy baguette. 

Our Ham Hock Terrine is gelatine free, we slow cook our ham hocks for 12 hours with herbs, cider and aromatics and allow to cool, pull and pack tightly into large terrines and chilled, You’ll be served up a generous slice with baguette and handmade pickles.

Our Vegetable Pâté is made using seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs and stock, we use the vegetables themselves to thicken the pâté which is served with toasted bread. This delightfully rich pâté is suitable for vegans, coeliacs and dairy intolerant guests.

Amuse

The amuse this month is refreshing Champagne Sorbet, made in-house with our house fizz with a hint of citrus, guaranteed to cleanse your palette . If alcohol is not your thing then simply let us know because we usually have an equally delicious fruit sorbet available too.

Plats    

Two stalwarts of the menu this month are Steak Frites, 10oz hand -cut Bavette Steaks cooked from fresh, to order and served with our legendary French fries, homemade Béarnaise or Green Peppercorn sauce. Moules Frites are also on the menu, we usually serve Moules Marinières because that is the preference of most of our guests but this month we’ll be offering a special Moules Frites option so if mussels are your thing keep your eyes peeled.

Our seasonal fish this month is Pollack, caught in the west country and sent directly up fresh from the boat. We’ll be serving it in a delicious shellfish broth with a seafood garnish, pickled samphire and powdered smoked dulce all from the Devon shoreline.

Our other meat option is a very traditional Côtelette de Porc, a  local pork cutlet, served on the bone, breadcrumbed and shallow fried then served with smoked lardons and peas. This reminds me so much of eating in Les Routiers restaurants on holiday with my family. It’s a classic.

Our vegetarian and vegan options this month are a delicious Winter Coulibiac, brimming with seasonal vegetables, grains and pulses and wrapped in a lattice pastry case. We’ve also been very busy making lots of confit tomatoes recently for our amuse this month and for our Galettes for the Festival. Tomatoes slowly cooked in olive oil, fresh herbs and garlic. Each tomato is like a flavour bomb going off in the mouth. The pastry is vegan and gluten friendly.

Desserts

Our menu always contains a traditional French tart and this one is no exception, we’re looking forward to serving up a delicious Prune and Armagnac Tart during festival month together with a Tarte Flambée with Apples caramelised apples on top of a pizza style crispy base. As ever all of these will be served with one of our handmade ice creams.

 

Cheese

The cheeses this month to compliment will be Sharpham Crement, Curworthy Haytor, North Devon Gruyére style hard cheese and delicious Beenleigh Blue from Ticklemore Cheeses. Accompanied as ever by one of our handmade chutneys and fruit cheeses.

Suppliers

Our suppliers are family run independent companies based within a 12 mile* radius of our restaurant.

Meat & Poultry

Shapland and Searle in South Molton. All the beef, pork and chicken is locally sourced and butchered on site.

Cheese

All of our cheese is expertly sourced for us by the team at The Cheese Larder

Fruit & Vegetables

All of our fruit and vegetables for the festival month will be supplied locally at our farm shop just outside Witheridge or homegrown by our Front of House team Linzi and Nigel Walker. We’ll also be using foraging company Bello Wild Food, so expect some new and exciting things to try across the month.

Fish & Shellfish

Our Fish and shellfish is supplied by Celtic Fish and Game, who use their own boats and fish along the Devon and Cornish coasts.

We really look forward to welcoming you to La Petite Bouchée across the festival month, but be quick, we’re filling up, if you have a specific question and you can’t find it on our How it Works page  then do call us, we’d be delighted to answer any questions.

Current Availability

7th & 8th – Good Availability

14th  ( Valentines Menu applies ) – 4 covers

15th – 4 covers

21st – FULLY BOOKED

22nd – 6 covers

28th FULLY BOOKED

29th 8 covers

Bookings  – Telephone 01884 860 654 or on our online reservations page HERE

Read more about La Petite Bouchée here.

RECIPE

FRENCH ONION SOUP

 (Serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 2Kg of onions  
  • 6 Shallots 
  • A generous knob of butter 
  • 1 tbsp of caster sugar 
  • 1 litre of beef stock ( if you are vegetarian or vegan, a vegetable bouillon is great)  
  • 1 large glass of dry sherry, Fino is great.  
  • A splash of brandy 
  • Half a bottle of red wine 
  • A handful of fresh thyme 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 baguette, sliced into croutons 
  • A handful of grated gruyere cheese

 Directions

In a heavy based pan melt the butter and and add the sugar. Once the sugar has started to melt add the onions in batches and sauté until completely softened and caramelised. Add the thyme, the stock, sherry, wine and brandy and then bring to the boil. Reduce after a minute to a simmer, place a lid on and cook for 45minutes and if  you are using the slow cooker then let it bubble away for 3-4 hours.  

Remove the lid after the cooking time and stir through, removing any thyme stalks, season to taste. Ladle into bowls, cut a some thin slices of baguette and lightly toast. Just before serving, float the toasted crouton on top of the soup and add a small handful of grated cheese. Then place under a very hot grill until the cheese is melting. Serve piping hot with an extra few slices of baguette. Absolute bliss !

 

The Exmoor Food Fest is about to start

Eat your way across Exmoor during February 2020

It’s that time of year again!  If you are planning to go on a diet in February – forget it. The Exmoor Food Fest kicks off with a launch dinner at Kentisbury Grange on 28 January, and then it’s all go from 1 February for a whole month across Exmoor.

For the sixth year, restaurants across the region are celebrating the best our hospitality industry has to offer. Special deals for two and three courses invite people to try out new restaurants and new dishes. Many venues also have a special accommodation offer to allow customers to turn the evening out into a short holiday.

As a first in 2020, the learners from Foxes Hotel in Minehead will be joining in the fun of taking part in the Exmoor Food Fest.

Foxes Hotel is a very special hotel indeed. From the kitchen to the serving of the delicious food and the cleaning of the rooms, all jobs are being done by young people aged between 16 and 24 under the guidance of their teachers.  Foxes is the UK’s only fully operating training hotel for young people with learning difficulties.

Foodie fans should also look out for special events.  One event that is going to be quite different is the Winter Feast at Horner Farm on the Holnicote Estate on Exmoor. It will be rustic dinner in one of the barns, with a chance to try meat from Dexter cattle and sheep raised on the farm.  This will be a unique experience where amazing food will be served at a very unusual location.

On the final weekend in February (29 Feb/1 March) a Taste Exmoor Food & Drink Festival beckons:  Traders and local producers will be putting up their stalls at the Porlock Village hall. The Harbour Cafe & Gallery – who will also be offering special deals throughout February at their premises at Porlock Weir –  will be running a cafe over this weekend, and there will be ample opportunity to try (and take home) lots of delicious food and drink from our region.

All participating restaurants will be revealed on the website www.exmoorfoodfest.com by the end of January 2020.   Anyone wishing to plan their gourmet trip across Exmoor will be able to look up restaurants on a map and see what will be offered when and where. 

(PS There is still time for restaurants and producers to sign up! Just drop us a line at info@exmoorevents.com and we’ll see what we can do for you)

And the photos keep coming….

Over the past few days, lots more photos were submitted to the January part of our 2020 Exmoor4all Photo Competition.  They all have one thing is common: the photos show the beauty of Exmoor and the diversity of the UK’s smallest national park. And that Exmoor is beautiful at any time of the year, and whatever the weather!

At the beginning of February, all January entries will be collated in one album on our Facebook page and also here on the website. We will then invite the public to choose their top 10 photos – photos which have captured best the essence of Exmoor.  These 10 images will go through to the semi-final:  In July, the 60 semi-finalists will be presented to a panel of judges who will pick the 13 images to go onto the 2021 Exmoor4all Calendar.