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Cotswolds

Food Porn

Marks and Spencer’s close-up television ads of oozing chocolate pudding put the term “food porn” on the British map. Surely though the grandaddy of all food porn is in the Cotswolds at Daylesford Organic.

At Daylesford barns have been transformed into a pristine retail mecca in a hamlet not far from Stow-in-the-Wold. Visitors come from near and far to pay homage to the spiritual home of organically reared, locally produced, seasonal food porn. It makes Chez Panisse look like a shack.

The first building in the complex houses the café cum deli/bakery cum grocery store, and as you approach it there is an outdoor display of seasonal produce arrayed on stacked antique cartons or a donkey cart or some other suitably rustic stage set. Vegetables are the stars here, and I am sure they have their own stylists.

Behind the food store there is a butcher, stocked by the in-house abattoir, and a kitchenware shop, a curated selection of gardening porn, a clothing store, and a spa called the haybarn. If you were very rich you could furnish your entire Cotswold estate in a single shopping trip to Daylesford without having to scour car boot sales and reclamation yards like me.

Yesterday we went for a late lunch at Daylesford. The café is good value if you throw in the occasional star sighting (Gary Barlow from Take That last time, the actor Charles Dance this time). I had a welsh rarebit tarted up with some artisanal cheese and portobello mushrooms. Husband started with some bread and olive oil, fresh from the presses of Daylesford’s sister estate in France, before moving on to braised red cabbage and ham.

Afterwards I selected a small chunk of parmesan and a courgette from the shop to use in our evening meal. Apparently nobody’s told the checkout girl, young and stylish in the shop’s trademark tasteful brown, where she works. “This is a courgette, right?” she asked me, holding up the plump green vegetable for examination before plopping it on the scale.

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