Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Celiacs Fayre Gluten Free Cafe

Hidden gem
Recently we had a bit of a treat - a chance for 'Baby' and me to spend some time with my Mum and Dad. As they're from the Isle of Wight, the location needed to be within easy reach of Southampton.

Casting around for somewhere to eat (always our primary concern, whenever we go out) I tried Trip Advisor first of all and then remembered Travel Gluten Free. 

My eye was caught by a short recommendation for a cafe for coeliacs, who could apparently cater for other diets. 'Job done,' I thought, 'we'll go there, then.' 

Those of you who are good at Geography, will know that if this cafe is near(ish) Southampton, then it is in Hampshire.  Now before those of you who live further away all switch off, let me tell you that it is situated in a lovely part of the world, which is worth a little visit! 

If you're looking for a day out and don't mind walking, you can get a train to Shawford (it's on the London Waterloo/Southampton line) and walk through the picturesque water meadows to the tiny village of Twyford. Marwell Zoo is not too far away, but Twyford itself is not known for anything in particular, that I know of, except a boys prep school and some water works, and now, also a cafe for coeliacs! You could also walk from Winchester, but that would be a bit of a trek!

My lovely lunch
The cafe itself, is tucked away a bit. If (like me) you're driving up from the M3, you need to head straight along the High Street, through some traffic lights and Queen Street, in which its situated, will be on your left. Handily, they have a big sign at the end of the road, to let you know. There are a few parking spaces available, right alongside.

Well that's practicalities, now why should you take the trouble? First of all, Jane, the lady who runs the shop is a coeliac herself and all the food she bakes is gluten free. Due to her personal understanding of dietary needs she was prepared to be flexible and gave us a lot of personal attention. The food is not posh gastro fare, but well-chosen for a cafe menu, very reasonably priced and what we tried was not only delicious, but... fresh, fresh, fresh! 

'Baby's' lunch
My choice, for lunch that day, was a chicken and bacon roll with salad and chips. I don't know where she got it from, but the seeded bap was lovely!! My mum, who chose the same as me, really enjoyed the bacon and couldn't get over how fresh the water cress was, that was in the accompanying salad. I suspect that it was sourced fairly locally - a lot of watercress is grown not too far away, at King's Worthy.

Baby had a dairy and gluten free sausage roll with chips. I would have been tempted to help her out with it, but it may have contained soya. It looked nice though and so my Dad (not  usually gluten free) helped me out, by sampling the pastry, and it seemed to pass muster!

Dee-licious... dessert!!
The exciting bit, for me, was that following the 'mains', for once in our lives we were able to order something for 'afters,' which wasn't jelly or sorbet or fruit salad!!! I couldn't have the waffles, because sadly that day Jane only had soya milk in (I was kicking myself, at that point, for not phoning ahead, because she sometimes has rice milk too) BUT right by the till was a plate of dairy free carrot cake, that also happened to be soya free. Baby didn't need too much persuasion to share some with me. I have to say it was lovely and moist. Again the freshness of the ingredients (eggs this time) came through. What a treat!!

The whole experience was rather wonderful, not least because it was so relaxing not having to worry about the chances of cross-contamination - because we were in the hands of someone who knows from personal experience! It made me realise how stressed I must be feeling when I usually eat out.

An added bonus was that they also sell gluten free ingredients and goodies from the cafe  -even ready meals. So, naturally, I couldn't resist making a few purchases before I left. Tried not to spend too much though - I didn't want to give The Hub palpitations :)

A shop and a cafe in one!

If you want to find out more about the cafe, follow this link, to find their website.

Due to it's location (and resulting lack of footfall) with great reluctance, Celiacs Fayre despite having tried to make changes to accommodate other customers Celiacs Fayre has now closed. This is such a shame and I know they will be greatly missed - by us for sure! I really wish Jane all the best for the future!

Other posts about Eating Out:

Lunch at Starbucks

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