My husband treated me to an Afternoon Tea for Two Gift Experience voucher. The places we could use the voucher within driving distance of our home were limited. We chose to go to Edible Ornaments in Chawston, Bedfordshire which was a 60 mile round trip for us.
The place was easy to find with plenty of parking and accessible for wheelchairs.
We were greeted by very friendly staff and the Owners Jo and Shawn Plumb. Shawn told us a bit about how they started growing chilies and also spent a lot of time talking about the history of chilies and different kinds of chilies that they grow. Shawn was really enthusiastic about chili growing and was very knowledgeable about growing them as well as using them to make sauces and chutneys etc. We loved walking round one of the green houses which had lots of chili plants all for sale. It was lovely to see all the reds, yellows, green and orange chilies all looking bright and vibrant. Listening to Shawn made me realise how biased I had been towards Kenyan finger chilies and now learning to appreciate other chilies too.
After the tour of the greenhouse, we got to taste some of the sauces and dips they make in-house; some of which they stock to sell. Some of their sauces and dips were exceptionally good, and we did come away with a few and with a view to going back there again to buy some chili plants.
I was a bit disappointed to see the area where all the sauce and dips were arranged for tasting as it looked really untidy with half or nearly finished bottles. We ran out of some dips, crackers and milk at one point which to me is unprofessional.
We also got a chance to try some of the chilies that are grown at the farm. Shawn started off with the milder fruitier chilies and then going on to the very hot naga chilies. The full range of chilies they grow are listed on their website here.
After the chili tasting we had tea and sandwiches. The afternoon tea was a little disappointing for me as it was going to be the highlight of my visit. I had looked at some of their photos about the tea experience online and was expecting everything to be looking very similar to that. We were served doritos, salad, sandwiches, wraps and scones. The food was OK but nothing to rave about. I was expecting to see unusual sandwiches and wraps created using some chilies rather than white bread cucumber sandwiches and wraps. I was also surprised that we did not get a choice of tea in individual teapots.I also like to get a bit more attention and service which I felt was lacking.
Overall we did enjoy the afternoon and will be visiting again to buy the chili plants and their sauces. Probably not for the food though.
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