Some of the nation´s greatest celebrity chefs have taken up residence in South West England and it is little wonder with such an abundance of delicious produce so readily available, all grown in the rich fertile soils of Devon and Cornwall. Seafood is also undoubtedly a specialty with countless quaint villages dotted along the coast, many with their own thriving fishing industries supplying myriad top class restaurants and hotels.
Gourmet experiences are, therefore, also in abundance and, depending on your own particular tastes or the tastes of those you are interested in buying gifts for, you will certainly find no shortage of mouth-watering options available.
Take for instance the ancient small town of Topsham near Exeter in Devon. Once home to one of the busiest shipping ports in the country, it is now a sleepy but delightful and charming mix of old cobbled back streets, chique boutiques and superb gourmet restaurants. Along the waterfront you will find an old merchant warehouse tastefully converted into a superb Mediterranean style wine cellar offering wine tasting experiences throughout the year. Here you can spend hours tasting some of their own locally produced, award winning wines as well as choice international vintages, carefully selected for quality, taste and value for money. These experiences are designed for couples but small groups can equally be catered for and you can also upgrade your experience to include delicious and locally sourced tapas boards to make a full evening of it. Live music is often enjoyed, depending on who is in town on that particular evening. It is not scheduled but just enhances an already lively and thoroughly enjoyable informal ambience. A chance to enjoy the full vineyard experience itself to see how the vines are grown, cultivated, harvested and bottled makes an excellent additional upgrade and is packaged to include the wine tasting and tapas evenings.
High up on the rugged Dartmoor National Park lies a treasure just waiting to be discovered. From one of the country´s finest and most impressive five star hotels you will be utterly pampered and spoilt with their most extravagant and truly scrumptious afternoon tea experience. Again, designed for couples to enjoy each other´s company within the opulent surroundings, this experience is all about fine gourmet cuisine traditional Olde-English countryside style. Your tea will include exquisitely prepared cakes, dainty sandwiches with mouth-watering fillings, warm freshly baked scones served with lashings of jam and Devon clotted cream and your choice of excellent teas or coffees served in a bone-china tea set. Champagne afternoon tea can also be served which, as you can guess, includes all of the above with the addition of a glass each of top quality bubbly.
The world famous Orient-Express train company regularly provide luxurious train journeys starting from various South West locations throughout the year. A magnificent 5 course lunch is included in the fare and for a few hours you will enter a world of utter extravagance and style, a taste of life from the golden age of travel.
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