Cuisine: Californian Style Cooking / Fine Dining
Number of GF options: They were happy to make anything on the menu gluten free
Cost: Tasting menu £65 pp or mains £14-20
Contact details: www.hotelterravina.co.uk
We wanted a glamourous foodie weekend away, just like we used to in ‘life BC’ (before child!). But this time we needed to accomodate an 18month old too. Hotel Terra Vina owned by the founder of Hotel du Vin and Best Sommelier in the World, on the edge of the New Forest came up trumps. Food and wine aside, I actually chose it for the fact that I could eat in the dinning room, amazing wine in hand, whilst the staff looked after the baby monitor. Genius. I was sold.
But, it wasn’t until we looked at the online menu that I realised they were so gluten free friendly, highlighting many meals that were safe for coeliacs to eat. I had a good feeling about this place.
I should trust my instincts more often. I only had to mention a couple of times during the whole weekend that I was coeliac. Gluten free toast waited for me at breakfast, a separate gluten free menu at dinner, with lots of choice too. It turns out two of the staff including the somellier are wheat intolerant so they were very wise to the issues of cross contamination and have worked hard to make lots of options available.
Dinner, accompanied by perfectly complimentary wines selected by UK Sommelier of the Year (they are good at choosing wine here!) was stunning. Seasonal, local foods whipped up into beautiful plates of food proved it was not just style over substance in this Californian wine country inspired restaurant.
I omit to mention exactly what I ate, purely because in the heat of excited baby freedom and a little too much wine I cannot remember and I didn’t make notes. But I can assure you it was the most sophisticated collection of flavours and textures I have had for a long time. Certainly outside of London.
What made the weekend so wonderful though, food and wine aside, was how welcome we were made to feel. Being a fussy eater and having a toddler in tow usually makes you a bit of a nuisance, but we felt like nothing was too much trouble.
So if you are a parent with food intolerances head to the brilliantly family friendly, sophistication of Hotel Terra Vina. Or if you are in the area, head there for their fabulous lunches like the locals – who are unsurprisingly trying to keep it all to themselves!