Friday April 10th 2009, 6:56 pm

Fabrice\'s Fabulous Pastries.

This Easter weekend heralds a change in mood and a real feeling of optimism after several months of the winter doldrums. Not that I’ve been in the doldrums – I’ve been far too busy. Since opening the shop I have realised some of the advantages of going out to work. I am now able to tap into the creative energy generated by others, instead of feeling responsibility rests solely on my own head.

Tables laid for the opening day of The Garden Cafe

Today, Good Friday, saw the opening of the new Garden Cafe at Taurus, just a short hop from The Laundry’s front door. The quality of the food the Garden Cafe will be serving makes this event very exciting indeed, with food and ingredients sourced from local producers and specialists, cheesemakers and artisan bakers. The cafe will be open weekends and ‘holidays’ throughout the summer (call Taurus Crafts for opening times and directions: 01594 844841) and for a first day, things look very promising.

The new Garden Cafe at Taurus

Attention to detail is key, with fabulous rectangular stoneware platters, dishes and generous bucket-shaped coffee cups, all made especially for the cafe by the pottery, again here on site at Taurus. The clay oven built last September (see my post about our oven building weekend here ) will be fired up to supply freshly baked flat breads which come with various fillings and accompaniments.

The Garden Cafe platter

All we need now is some decent weather to make the cafe the ‘MUST visit’ place in the area. See the menu here. As these are early days, expect the menu to be tweaked as things progress.

Baking flatbreads in the woodfired clay oven

Handmade chocolate at the Garden Cafe

What a fantastic afternoon we have just had at Taurus Crafts. The Garden Cafe? An experience not to be missed; a pleasure that we will be returning to and as often as is humanly possible. Two gorgeous locally made/produced platters entertained two hungry adults whilst a pair of (fussy – shhh I didn’t say that) teens devoured outdoors made (by their fair hands too) oven – baked – in – a – jiff pizzas. And then the wander round The Laundry which was a fabulous find. A gem of a day – and sunshine to boot. Oh! and pots thrown by small (ish) hands aided by the expert and oh so patient potter. Wonderful. See you all soon!

Comment by Amanda 04.12.09 @ 12:03 am

I am just about recovered from our first 4 days of the cafe. It was exhilerating to work out how we might give good food and good service from such a small space without the experience of having done it before.

At the heart of what we want to do is to show, well, the fabulous product from the area. We need to show it in such a way that gives our suppliers a good return, enables us to do this week after week and be sustainable. This enables us to employ local people, enables us to buy local product and our local suppliers to build their local businesses. This is important in the Forest because is not a wealthy area and we need to attract and retain spend.

So as a visitor to the area, we want to give you a great distinctive experience. If you are from the area, we ask you to make a conscious decision to spend something with a local business that makes that spend work harder by recirculating it in the our local community.

So this weekends menu includes white wine soused mushrooms with tahini sauce, smoked salmon pate, sweet potato pate, our range of local meat, cured meat and cheese platters and much more.

Coming soon is Just Rachel’s Rhubard and Custard Ice Cream – a seasonal local taste extravagancy – which takes me back to Gloria and our developing conversations about ‘glut’. Gloria’s beautiful book on preserves – how did she do that? – asks the question how do we make the land and the seasons works for us by tickling our taste buds.

Elizabeth, Garden Cafe, Taurus Crafts

Comment by Elizabeth Ball 04.15.09 @ 10:58 pm

The pics and menu look wonderful [but deeply worrying, especially the cakes] you might be tempted to try everyone!
I made braised pink [forced] rhubarb in the oven with thinnly pared orange peel and a shake of sugar. when it had cooled I added a spoon of rose water.
Served with lemon and vanilla pannacotta [River Cafe], I think I should have added another leaf of gelatin to make it firmer. Hannah wouldn’t let me use vegegel, she said it smelt horrible…. I would like to try it next time.
It looked wonderful with a good sprinkling of vanilla seeds on the top, the taste was divine.
Am still forcing the rhubarb that allotment Mick gave me but sadly it will soon go back to being green and rather sour!

Comment by deborah s m 04.16.09 @ 11:14 am

Your blog looks great and the Taurus photos are wonderfully appealing. Even though I live in San Diego, California, I’d love to stop by for a treat. The very best of wishes to you for your complete and utter success!

Comment by Susan Krzywicki 06.25.10 @ 3:30 pm