Summer doesnt officially start until 21st June but the sun is shining here in Brinkworth and this morning Sophie and I have been out on the road, on tour, in the Athelstan Van! Windows down, sunglasses on and BBC Radio Wiltshire keeping us singing along.
The first stop is always Brinkworth Dairy to collect the freshly made traditional cheeses made by Ceri according to historic family reciepes. Scrambling amongst the piles of cheeses, cream, butter and yoghurt we managed to load the van relatively easily. It was then time to brave the freezer to find the ice-cream for Bowood House. Obviously the warm and sunny weather has created a surge of ice cream orders. Sophie was trying to work as quickly as possible in order not to set off the piercing alarm that sounds if the door is left open for too long. Unfortunately not fast enough, the salted caramel ice cream was hiding in the depth of the freezer and the ciren let out its awful scream...
Once our ears had recovered, we set out each order in neat wicker baskets and calculated the invoices ready for the off. Our first stop was Sherston Stores, wiggling through Malmesbury, Easton Grey and Pinkney, all beautiful Beautfortshire villages. We passed The Rattlebone Pub, and immediately turned left into a school car park. "Here we are!" said Sophie. I wasn't sure what to expect in the converted school building, but we were greeted with enormous smiles from the team at Sherston Stores. Gail, heads up the team and runs a fantastic village shop which includes a brilliant array of local produce and daily household essentials.
Once Sophie had negoiated her way out of the extrememly tight entrance, we were on our way to Allington Farm Shop towards Chippenham. The luxury of being driven around in a van is of course you can admire the views and glorious green landscape which are seldom enjoyed when you are driving alone in your little Hyundai!
I had never heard of Allington Farm Shop although I did know the chef was called Pierre, and he was a mad Frenchman. Sophie and I entered the deliveries door to find a busy environment which is expanding its butchery counter at the moment. We sorted Pierre with his cheese and followed our noses to the checkout. Our route, much to my delight, lead us through the entire shop. Fresh vegetables, tasty meat, a supermarket size selection of cheeses, local crafts and most importantly Tractor Ted souvenirs! Crafty marketing had put stacks of shelves of super tempting sweeties right next to the checkout. I will have to remember to forget my purse when I cover the deliveries or else I shall spend more than I deliver! The fudge looks so sweet, crumbly and totally scrumptious.
Next stop was Jacks at Hartham Court, but we needed to collect the Baronet from The Old Cheese Room first. The Old Cheese Room can be found amongst the enterprising and beautiful Neston Park only a few miles down the road. Jacks was bustling with people, we had clearly arrived during their busy lunch service.
The last stop on the Chippenham circuit was Bowood House Hotel, the perfect setting for the Antiques Roadshow in a few weeks time. Head chef Marek was still busy serving puddings as we arrived to this enorous establishment which includes a Spa, Golf course and Hotel. Bowood House was teeming with people, gentleman and their caddies walking to the next hole and ladies going for a delicious lunch after a trip to the spa.
We wiggled back to the A4 and started heading back to Malmesbury. By the time I reached the office it was 3 o'clock and I realised why Sophie disapeared every Thursday. The cheese route covers a fairyly large area in relatively few miles. But watch this space for Athelstan Farm Food stock in a pub or shop near you because there are plently more en route.
Tomorrows adventure will take me around Sunday Hill Farm in preparation for Open Farm Sunday, we hope to see lots of you there...