Bristol is fast building a reputation as a world-class foodie destination, with food festivals, trendy new restaurants and a wealth of artizan food producers in the West Country. As a travel blogger I’ve found myself visiting festivals, markets and top restaurants abroad, only to come home and realise I’d missed something similar on my own doorstep. As part of the Bristol Bloggers and Influencer’s group I’ve attended blogger events where I’ve tasted my way through some delicious food, making me appreciate the Bristol food scene event more. To give you just a taste of what’s on offer here are a few foodie experiences in Bristol, which would also make a fab gift for the foodie in your life.
Food Tour with Eat Walk Talk Food Tours
Brian and Kirsty founded EatWalkTalk Bristol Food Tours as a way to share their passion for Bristol and food with the world and since I love to eat, I was delighted to join Brian on one of their Taste Bristol food tours in September. I’d assumed that I had a pretty good knowledge of the Bristol food scene, but how wrong I was! The food tour really opened my eyes to what a foodie destination Bristol has become, since almost all the places Brian took us to were ones I hadn’t visited before, but will certainly be returning to and recommending to friends.
The tours run daily from Temple Mead Station and our first stop was the legendary Hart’s bakery, which I’d heard a lot about but probably wouldn’t have found myself, since it’s tucked away under the station arches. We progressed towards the old centre of Bristol, with Brian feeding us with historical tit-bits as well as delicious food at some of Bristol’s finest artizan food producers. There were best-of-British favourites like fish and chips, bacon sarnies and Pieminster pies, but also Somerset cheese and local craft beer. We rounded off our ten-plus tasting stops with some SWOON Gelato and chocolates from Guilberts. I loved the way that Brian wove the history of Bristol into the food stops and his enthusiasm for our city was infectious. The food tour is aimed at visitors to Bristol but is also a great way for locals to explore the riches on their own doorstep and the convivial atmosphere of the group would be great for those travelling on their own.
Treat yourself or buy as a gift
The Taste Bristol food tour takes place every 10.30am from Tueday to Saturday and costs £35 per person. Bristol tours with afternoon tea are also available and Brian also offers bespoke tours for your group. You can buy a gift certificate online for any of the tours.
What I enjoyed most about the Food Tour
Discovering fabulous new foodie places in Bristol even though I’ve lived here for 25 years.
More information at EatWalkTalkBristol.com
Afternoon tea at Hotel du Vin
Afternoon tea is one of those oh-so-British institutions, whether it’s a cup of builders dunked with a rich tea biscuit, or the full blown treat of tiny cakes and elegant savouries. At Hotel du Vin in Bristol it was very much the latter that I tried, a meal that you need to be hungry to do justice to. I’ve always loved the hotel’s old school elegance, housed in an old stone sugar warehouse, with a theme of wine and dark polished wood.
The hotel recently re-launched their afternoon tea menu which now includes a savoury course with egg and cress brioche, goat’s cheese and spinach quiche and smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels. There were warm scones with jam and clotted cream as well as the sweet treats of dark chocolate teacakes and lemon meringue tarts. For something a bit difference we tried a lime jelly in a glass and a flourish of apple candy floss to top the cake stand.
You can choose from a range of Twinings teas or add a glass of something bubbly if you’re in the mood. For smaller groups the afternoon tea is served either in the comfortable bar or at a table in the Bistro restaurant, while one of the elegant first floor reception rooms can be used for larger parties. Hotel du Vin’s afternoon tea would be perfect for a multi-generational celebration, girlie birthday, hen gathering or baby shower and at £20 per head it’s very affordable for a larger group.
Treat Yourself or Buy as a gift
The classic afternoon tea is £20 per person and cream tea is £8.50, served daily at Hotel du Vin Bristol 12pm-6pm. Bookings are advisable for groups, but not always essential if you just fancy popping in with a friend. Gift cards are available from the Hotel du Vin Website.
What I enjoyed most at Hotel du Vin
The pretty presentation on cake stands with the fun addition of candy floss on the top!
More information at Hotel du Vin. The Sugar House, Narrow Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2NU
Gelato at SWOON
SWOON opened earlier this year and quickly became the place that everyone in Bristol seemed to be tweeting and instagramming about – they run a vote for new flavours on Social Media and reward customers with a Fan of the Week award. I’d popped in a couple of times and loved their flavours, but was able to dive deeper into the world of gelato at a recent blogger event. The gelato bar is co-owned by Pat and Bruno, a brother and sister duo who have re-invented the family business of their Italian grandparents, who came to the UK and set up ice cream parlours and restaurants.
A core range of flavours, like mango sorbet, pistachio and dark chocolate, are always on offer and to these they add monthly seasonal flavours – the mince pie and mulled wine gelato were to die for. Apparently the Brussel sprout flavour came last in the public vote, although adventurous eaters may like to know that in Italy, vegetable gelato flavours are all the rage among gourmets. For an inexpensive treat, there are individual gelato deserts like gelato macarons and panettone as well as gelato cakes that are a popular alternative to the Christmas pudding or birthday cake. All the gelato is made on the premises from scratch, with only fresh ingredients, so the flavours really shine through. SWOON opens daily until 10.30pm so it’s a great place to meet friends in the evening as an alternative to the pub.
Treat yourself or buy as a gift
Just pop into the SWOON gelato bar opposite College Green for whatever you fancy – small single tubs start at around £2.50. You can take some gelato away or buy one of their gelato cakes (it’s specially wrapped so it won’t melt) and gift cards from £10 are available in store.
What I enjoyed most at SWOON
The staff are happy to let you try any of the different flavours before you make your final choice.
More information at Swoononaspoon.co.uk, 31a College Green, Bristol.
Disclosure: I tried the food experiences mentioned on a complimentary basis at blogger events organised by the Bristol Bloggers and Influencers group.