The Calcot Collection Launches a New Foodie Experience for 2022
‘Taste of the Painswick’
There are plenty of reasons to visit the pretty village of Painswick in the Cotswolds. There’s the historic St Mary’s Church with its 99 yew trees in the garden – legend has it that the Devil would never allow the 100th tree to grow. A 100th tree was eventually planted to mark the Millennium but, in 2007, one of the yew trees toppled over – the curse of the Devil, some say.
Then there’s the famous Rococo Gardens, Painswick Beacon and the picturesque villages of Sheepscombe, Edge and Slad (the home and final resting place of Laurie Lee whose novel Cider with Rosie describes growing up there) all within a mile of the centre. Be sure to stop off for a drink or lunch at The Woolpack in Slad (Laurie Lee’s local pub – which, of course, features memories of the great man).
Less than a two-and-a-half hour drive from central London, Painswick is the perfect place for a mini-break – the archetypal Cotswold village – and the place to stay is The Painswick, a cosy boutique hotel that sits at the top of a hill with stunning views over the countryside and valley beyond.
A homely place with friendly staff, it has everything you would want from a relaxing escape in the Cotswolds – roaring log fires, plenty of nooks and crannies to curl up with a book or a glass of wine and a choice of 17 comfortable and beautifully-furnished rooms complete with roll-top baths (and Ren amenities) in the bathrooms.
Don’t miss the afternoon tea, which can be made even more decadent with a choice of champagne, prosecco or a cocktail of your choice. We opted for the Vegetarian Afternoon Tea which, along with a selection of sandwiches, scones and cake of the day, came with a delicious crispy but light Vegetarian Scotch Egg. There’s ‘The Cheeky” version – simply scones, cream and jam, if you want to save room for dinner …and dinner really is the pièce de résistance of any stay here.
Head chef Jamie McCallum, who previously worked alongside Anthony Demetre as head chef at Mayfair’s Wild Honey, has become quite the local star since he took over the helm in the kitchen of The Painswick in 2017. The night we ate in the restaurant, we chatted to a couple on the next table who’d retired from their jobs in the City for a more peaceful life in the country. They told us they’d got married at the hotel – it was obviously a special place for them, but the reason they came back regularly was because of the outstanding food. They wanted to keep their discovery a secret because of the rave reviews the restaurant was getting in the press (I daren’t let on that we were guilty of being press ourselves).
The thing is, great places and great chefs don’t stay secret for long and there’s a reason that Jamie is getting noticed – his food is exquisite. We were there to try the new six-course tasting menu that celebrates the very best seasonal British produce and local suppliers as well as showcasing Jamie’s creative finesse.
Tasting menus can be daunting – they can often be over the top and leave you feeling uncomfortably full, but this had just the right number of dishes, each one, as well as looking picture perfect, was also perfectly balanced. Stand-out dishes included loin of Cotswold venison with smoked beetroot, pickled blackberry, winter leaves; Wiltshire truffle shaved over a delica pumpkin agnolotti; and a dark chocolate & praline delice with toasted barley, ice-cream, chestnut, and clementine to finish. There’s a wine-pairing menu to go alongside, which at £55 per person, is an absolute steal for the generous measures.
Until March, guests can enjoy this six-course tasting menu as part of an overnight experience, which includes a hearty breakfast from £135 per person.
For further details, visit thepainswick.co.uk