Food, glorious food. When we travel, food is such an important part of the whole experience. We remember experiences based around food and sometimes key memories of a trip are all based around what we eat. Remember that halloumi in Cyprus? Or that paella in Spain? Food creates special memories in our travels and there’s nothing nicer than basing your whole weekend around it in a beautiful location, treating your senses in every single way possible. If you are looking for one of the best foodie weekend breaks in the UK or a gourmet getaway, then read on! I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Hipping Hall which is located just on the cusp of Lancashire and the Lake District, in Cumbria for a truly gourmet getaway.
In terms of foodie holidays in England, well this one was incredible. Hipping Hall is next to the River Lune in the Lune Valley (right between two National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District) so it’s an inspiring scenery to be in and the hotel itself has been restored to reflect its surroundings, with stone exterior and creeping vines. It’s peaceful and quiet so if you want to getaway and wake up to the birds chirping and the gush of the river then this is the place to be.
We stayed in the stables which are exactly that – stables that have been converted into beautiful suites. The former stable block at Hipping Hall was converted into five different suites that have a sitting room, bedroom, plenty of closet space and a huge bathroom with an amazing tub to wind down in at night. And the cherry on the top? The floors are heated. The view from the stable rooms looks out onto emerald green hills where sheep graze. And if it rains? Order a Truffle Honey Croque Monsier to the room.
What is incredible about Hipping Hall, in addition to the beautiful scenery all around it, are the staff. The General Manager George Norrie really took care of us and made sure our stay was excellent and I could see that he was doing this for every single guest. It’s an attention to fine detail in fact that makes George so good at his job. The head chef as well, Oli Martin (a finalist in Master Chef: The Professionals), and his team deserve a huge shout out as well for the incredible cuisine at Hipping Hall which I am going to try and talk you through as best as I can so you can get a sense of what might be on the menu if you do visit Hipping Hall for a foodie getaway in the UK.
Oli and his team use locally-sourced produce and the menu is inspired by seasonality and homegrown dishes which is something to celebrate and appreciate. In this day and age people are more impressed by what they can find in their own backyard than something that has been flown thousands of miles from elsewhere. It’s important for the environment as well that we should be sourcing locally and I like to support restaurants that are taking this initiative. Hence this is one of the best foodie breaks in the UK you can take!
So…what’s on the menu? We were able to enjoy a 13-course meal (including dessert) inspired by the region, paired with some incredible wines (shout out to the English sparkling from Chapel Down). If you are looking for culinary treats in the UK, you will certainly find them here. The wines are presented with each course by the in-house Sommelier and the wines selected are all from small vineyards whose wines are organic, bio-dynamic and natural. An absolute treat for the taste buds that’s for certain!
Our first course was Butter Pie. Now I’ve never ever tried Butter Pie before but it was delicious and expertly prepared and topped with local cheese and truffle. It’s local to Lancashire so was a new taste for me. According to Lancashire Life, Butter Pie is also known as ‘Catholic pie or Friday pie, and is an age-old dish, from around the Chorley and Preston area or, for the non-Lancastrians, a potato pie.’ Ours was certainly a bougie version of that.
The second course was Eggy Bread and Caviar which was delicious. Caviar is a special treat, that’s for sure. I love the salty, fishy taste of caviar and it’s not for everyone but it’s right down my alley. The eggy bread helped to balance the taste of the caviar as well – I mean, can you imagine having this for a snack every day?
The third course was Menai Oysters sourced from Wales. Delicious and flavoured with local spices/herbs. I love seafood so this was a nice treat.
The fourth course was one of my favourites and it’s because it was so simple – a Hen’s Yolk in chicken consommé with sea vegetables. The stock of the soup was so flavourful and tasty as well. Simple yet effective and definitely a comfort food.
Course five was a palette cleanser of spent grains which is essentially bread and butter. But homemade bread and butter…so delicious. And is there anything better than warm bread and butter? I honestly think sometimes simplicity is key.
Course six was a Lancashire Rose which was so beautiful I didn’t want to ruin it by eating it! Essentially this was beetroot and pickled rose petals with a blackcurrent compote – shaped into the beautiful petals of a rose. The prettiest dish of the night indeed.
Course seven was Heritage Spuds which felt like comfort food. The spuds were flavoured in a broth of their own skins and had an extra special taste that was delightful.
Course Eight was another one of my favourites of the night which was a Mushroom Tart with chestnut base along with heritage mushrooms and wild garlic. I love the taste of garlic so I think this upped the game for this dish.
Course nine wowed us with North Atlantic cod with truffle and artichoke dip. I’m a huge fan of the taste of truffle – I just find it so delicious. And together with my love of seafood this was another amazing dish of the evening. Apparently I was so involved in eating this dish I forgot to take a photo (I promise I was too busy enjoying it)!
Course 10 was for the meat lovers which was a dish of Shorthorn beef (local) with kale. I’m now mostly plant-based but love to treat myself when I’m out to meat. I do see it as a special treat now and again and this beef was so tender and juicy.
It was then time for dessert! Course 11 of Polygonacae really surprised me because this was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. This is the same member of family as buckwheat and rhubarb and I found it to be really nicely tart and a palette cleanser.
There’s another stomach for dessert – this I truly believe. Because even when you say I couldn’t possibly have any more there’s always room for something sweet am I right? Course 12 was a beautiful piece of honeycomb topped with pine yogurt, apple crackling and tiny bits of apple soaked in a pine essence. A very interesting and unique spin on the ingredients and tastes.
And for the final course we went out with a bang – Course 13 was a carrot cake made with local spices and I must say carrot cake is a favourite of mine. It’s so delicious!
I’m hoping by this time your taste buds are tingling so if you are looking for one of the best foodie weekend breaks in the UK then Hipping Hall is certainly a fabulous choice.
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*I stayed at Hipping Hall as a media guest for review purposes but all words and opinions are my own as always