Nordic walk and Afternoon Tea at Browns Tearoom
Nordic walk and Afternoon Tea season has kicked off for 2018 and we start by visiting Browns of Stagsden Tearooms.
Stagsden is a small, rural village in Bedfordshire, about 2 miles from the larger village of Bromham and about 4 miles from the town of Bedford providing an idyllic place to experience Nordic walk and Afternoon Tea. Unfortunately, the village pub has recently closed to the public robbing the locals of their venue to get together, so the Farm Shop and Tearoom is a very welcome addition to Stagsden village life.
The Browns family firm has been farming in Stagsden since the 1950’s and at one time had a thriving Turkey business. The landscape changed as the desire for fresh turkeys diminished but the way was paved for a farm shop selling locally produced food. A new generation took over the reins and since 2005 the farm shop has been selling sausages, bacon, beef, lamb and of course turkeys for Christmas. Some of this is home produced and other is sourced from local farms.
In 2009 the premises were extended to include a deli counter to sell home-reared ham along with cheeses from local farms reducing the carbon footprint of the food on our plates.
Lucky for us, the Tearoom was opened in 2015 where we can have a cuppa or a light meal on 5 days of the week (Tuesday to Saturday). The Nordic walk and Afternoon Tea group are always pleased to find a welcoming tearooms offering a high-quality product.
I love the ambience of the Tearooms and the tasteful décor. It has the charm of a barn conversion, which I am informed previously housed carts for the horses, in a former life. The ceilings are high with exposed, black beams. Diners are mindful of the unique setting, contrasting that of ubiquitous café chains, which lack this exclusive feel. This previous farm building has been refurbished with tender loving care and devotion, completed to a high standard with attention to detail.
Along with edible delights, there is also an attractive assortment of craft items on sale, created by local artists. This ranges from wildlife photographs, wooden ornaments turned from recycled fenceposts and fallen trees into expertly polished ornamental fruit, vases and bowls. Pencil drawings of rabbits, cattle and other animals typical of a countryside setting, have been reproduced onto tea towels, aprons, tablecloths, coasters, chopping boards, cups, jugs, greetings cards and notelets, to name a few. If you are looking for the perfect gift this display may provide the answer for something a little different.
When we arrived for our pre-booked Afternoon Tea our table was ready to greet us, decorated with vases containing delicate pink flowers, picked from the garden,
The friendly, smiley, young waitress bought us jugs of water as soon as we sat down. This was particularly welcome on this unseasonably warm day and we consumed it faster than she could bring the refilled jugs. She informed us of the menu and we were pleasantly surprised at the amount on offer.
Included in the price was a choice of hot drink, and a selection of various teas, which were generously refilled as the afternoon progressed. The first of the food arrived exhibited on slate plates, which in-kept with the setting.
Four, delicate, crustless sandwiches, an assortment of brown and white bread, with a variety of fillings, were served to us. The overwhelming favourite was the locally produced brie and cranberry. It was wonderful, I heard pleasurable, approving sounds, coming from the ladies, as each one consumed this delight. The other sandwiches on offer were equally delicious, but this particular cheese was the firm favourite.
After the first course, three of the diners mentioned it was considerably better valued than a local “posh” hotel they had visited recently. I had some serious Afternoon Tea connoisseurs with me, but I am only a novice myself.
After we had eaten the sandwiches a hand-painted, vintage three-tiered plate stand appeared, presenting the home-baked, home-produced delights.
The bottom tier neatly held scones with locally produced cream and jam, the middle tier displayed the individual Victoria sponge cakes whilst the top tear tempted up as it showed off the perfect portions of moist walnut cake, topped with half a nut, garnishing the walnut icing, the colours blending perfectly.
After consuming all the delights on offer the next pot of tea was welcomed. Contented chatter filled the room and the appreciation of fine food was expressed repeatedly by all.
At least we had walked before we consumed the calories, removing some of the guilt, leaving us to just enjoy each and every mouthful. This was washed down with tea delivered in pots.
I asked the experienced ladies that Afternoon Tea for the verdict and it was 10/10 all around.
There was time to browse the craft displays and the deli counter before heading to the car park to stand in the sun and just to reiterate how wonderful the experience was. This leaves me with a problem. If the first tone is 10/10 how do I improve the experience?
Thank you Browns of Stagsden. I am sure you will see many of our faces again very soon, as they return with their family and friends to join you for Afternoon Tea.