A holiday isn’t really a holiday unless you try out the local food and drink, is it?
Last weekend, we took our mini foodies to a fisherman’s cottage by the sea in Deal, Kent UK. We were there for three nights; enough time to give us the chance to try out the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Deal’s culinary offerings.
Like any UK coastal towns worth its salt – or its kippers – Deal has several top-quality fish and chip shops (according to their Tripadvisor ratings – sadly we didn’t have time to try them all out). But when we arrived on the Friday evening, D headed out into Deal’s dark streets and came back from the Happy Fryer clutching bags of chunky cod encased in crispy, melt-in-your mouth batter.
This was, of course, accompanied by a tub of sweet, mellow mushy peas.
Yum-tastic. Even the ‘children’s’ portions of fish and chips were so enormous that a seal would have been full after eating one. We went to bed on that first night with comfortably groaning stomachs. It was good.
I’m not saying stinky cheese is bad. No way. It’s one of my favourite things in the entire world. If I was stuck on a desert island and only allowed one luxury food item, it would be cheese. The pongier, the better.
But the cheese we bought in Deal market on the Saturday market was hardcore.
Even the fierce gusts of wind blowing through the market didn’t mask the unmistakeable odour of the cheese stall. It was heaped with all sorts: Ashmore Smoked, Kentish Blue, Ellies Shaggy Beard….we bought a creamy, smooth Ashmore Chaucers, very like Camembert; and another soft cheese, with a pungent smell reminiscent of ripe Morbier, but a gentle taste similar to St Paulin. Its rind was washed in red wine, and my brain must have become cheese-addled while eating it, because I can’t for the life of me remember its name….grrr. Can any Kentish cheese-lovers help me out? I want to buy some more.
My favourite cheese, though, was the delectably fierce, tangy Burwash, which stank out the kitchen area in our holiday cottage – in fact, it made the whole of our downstairs living space reek. The owners must have thought we’d left them a parcel of mouldering socks as a parting gift. Oops.
Super-stinky cheese. Bad? Or good? You decide. I know which camp I fall into.
On the Saturday afternoon, I treated my six year-old son to some of these beauties:
Yes, that’s right. Want to see them again?
We ate this fishy afternoon snack at the Court Yard Restaurant, a bright, airy space with exposed brick walls and a sliding glass roof. It was a freezing cold February day, so the roof was firmly closed, but it still felt like an exotic dining experience.
A lot of people shudder at the sight of oysters. Even I, an oyster lover, have to admit that they’re hardly the prettiest of delicacies. Not something your average six year-old would enjoy.
What did my son make of them? He loved them.
I was so proud – he even wanted his second oyster in its purest, naked form, turning down the squeeze of lemon. The oysters, fresh that morning from Mersea Island, were among the best I’ve tried; not as salty and sharp as some, and with a smooth texture. Perfect for mini foodies, at the beginning of their culinary life adventures.
We were only in Deal for three nights, and could have eaten much, much more. This fish, for instance, on sale on the high street, looked tempting:
But there’s only so much your stomach can take. So we left Deal on Monday morning, feeling full, contented, and just a little bit stinky.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Just what you need for a perfect foodie break.
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