Tucked away in the village of Birdwood, near Gloucester, The Fairview Gardener’s Scandinavian-style tea room is a cosy and relaxed space adorned with hanging wooden crates filled with ferns and berries. Arriving with my friend, it didn’t take me long to spot the homemade cakes and iced buns on the counter, and they’d really gone all out with spooky decorations to get into the Halloween spirit.
We were promptly welcomed by Luke, the friendly and bubbly owner of the tearoom, who made us feel at home right away. He speedily took our drinks order before bringing out the holy grail of afternoon teas.
My friend and I both ordered herbal teas to start – but these were far from ordinary. Served in a double layered glass mug, we watched in awe as the flower in hot water bloomed before our eyes, releasing vibrant flavours. I’d never seen anything quite like it!
Without scrimping on quality or quantity, the afternoon tea featured a selection of scrumptious sandwiches including tuna and sweetcorn; cheese and chutney; ham and mustard; and egg mayonnaise made with eggs from the farm next door. Not knowing where to start, I took one of each and delved straight in. It was clear that everything was made from fresh, high-quality ingredients and each sandwich was packed with flavour. For me, though, the mini cheese and onion tarts stole the show with their delicious shortcrust pastry and light, fluffy filling – there were no soggy bottoms to be seen!
We took a short break before cracking on with the desserts, still mesmerised by our magical teas. Giving into temptation, I started with a vanilla custard slice which was topped with wonderfully sweet glacé icing. Inside, the filling was creamy and light and would satisfy any craving for something sweet. Next, without so much as a pause for breath, I tucked into the iced bun, the spice of cinnamon complementing the sweetness of the icing.
The fruit tartlets were just as tasty; the sugar-glazed strawberries, raspberries and blueberries were delicately placed atop the creamy crème patissiere, and the crumbly pastry melted in the mouth. The freshly-baked fruit and plain scones had a delicious buttery taste, especially when paired with cream and jam – or, for those who prefer, jam and cream.
We also tried an indulgent vegan fudge cake, which was layered with gooey, chocolatey frosting and fluffy sponge – I wouldn’t have known it was dairy-free.
After eating what felt like our body weight in food, we waddled out of the tea room and into the main garden centre, which was like stepping into a Christmas wonderland. With so many lovely decorations and gifts, you’d be spoilt for choice for high-quality presents. From charming baubles and scented candles to reed diffusers and gift cards, there were plenty of beautiful trinkets and homewares to choose from.
Outdoors, there were plants and flowers galore, as well as lovely garden ornaments. With pretty light bulbs hanging from the roof of the atrium, the space seemed to glow in the fading autumnal afternoon light.
As well as the afternoon tea, The Fairview Gardener’s tea room also offers a selection of salads, sandwiches, toasties, soups and crepes, as well as vegan options. The ideal spot for a coffee and cake, everything is handmade and made with the freshest ingredients.
The afternoon tea costs £24 per couple or £34 with prosecco. For more information about The Fairview Gardener, see soglos.com/The-Fairview-Gardener, call the garden centre on (01452) 750436 or visit thefairviewgardener.co.uk.
By Amy Wright
Monday 28 October 2019
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