In a quiet corner of our area lies a secret, a rather tasty and tangy secret, award winning marmalade no less.
Features Writer Rob Bullock discovers that Middle Holly Cottage, situated in on the edge of the Bowland hills is not only a beautifully welcoming B&B, and a high-quality tearoom, but the exclusive purveyors of some of the best preserves this side of Seville…
Situated in some of the most-lovely scenery our area has to offer is Middle Holly Cottage a welcoming B&B owned and run by Andy and Gill Osborne. Just north of Garstang and 5 miles south of Lancaster, this beautiful and peaceful place to stay is ideally suited for those who want to explore, beach, city or mountains. But, why bother going very far? On the doorstep lies the Forest of Bowland with its unmatched hill walking, country pubs and eateries.
VISITORS FROM FAR FLUNG COUNTRIES!
Gill and Andy are open all year round and have four high quality bedrooms to choose from. The couple find that many guests cannot wait to return for another stay, even when they’re travelling from far distant countries. “We had some people staying recently who had come all the way from Australia,” says Gill. “We’ve also had people from Europe stay as well as visitors from Canada. One German family stayed with us umpteen times last year!”
THE TEA ROOM
Opening days are currently Thursday – Saturday from 11 am – 4.30 pm but why not book Middle Holly Cottage for your special event? They can provide Afternoon Tea for a maximum of 14 persons in their comfortable Dining Room and 18 in their delightful Garden Room.
The Tea Room menu comprises Light Lunches – sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, soup, omelettes, – all accompanied by a variety of salads according to what is in season, homemade coleslaw and Fiddlers delicious crisps.
The speciality Middle Holly Classic Afternoon Tea is served between 1.30 – 3.30pm (please note that they need a minimum of 24 hour notice as they like to cater exactly to the needs of the customer).
Classic Afternoon Tea is a real occasion, showcasing the variety of their homemade produce. Cakes for their Afternoon Teas are not just slices of cake from the cake cabinet, but a mixture of specially made mini cakes, meringues, tarts and desserts for the occasion. These vary from week to week according to what pops into Gill’s head, to what is in season and what she feels like baking! When you telephone to book you will be asked about preferred sandwich fillings, scone varieties and any dietary requirements. Attention to detail in meeting visitor’s needs is everything at Middle Holly Cottage.
AWARD WINNING MARMALADE Exclusively available at the Middle Holly Cottage Tea Room are Gill’s award-winning marmalades which never disappoint.
“I’d never made marmalade before,” explains Gill. “But three years ago I entered the Dalemain World Marmalade Championships in Penrith and got two bronzes. Last year I got a gold and two silvers and this two silvers and two bronzes.”
THE DALEMAIN WORLD MARMALADE CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Dalemain World Marmalade Championships are held in Penrith, Cumbria, each March just after the end of the Seville orange season. These quirky awards were founded in 2005 by Jane Hasell-McCosh with the initial idea of preserving, growing and widening one of the most British of customs – making marmalade.
Although Gill entered her marmalades in the Hotel and B&B category the Homemade Awards can be entered by anyone, and there are categories from Children’s Marmalade to Merry (with alcohol), Campanologists, Any Citrus and many more, ensuring that no matter what kind of marmalade you make, there is a place you! So does Gill have a secret recipe that she would never share with anyone? “No,” laughs Gill. “I just follow some traditional recipes from a number of very famous cookery books. But I might tweek them a little.”
MARMALADE MAKING ADVICE?
“Marmalade making is quite different to jam making, where you can throw all the ingredients in a pan, making marmalade is a much lengthier process. I would suggest you only make small batches. You need to measure your ingredients very accurately, make sure your marmalade gets to the right temperature and use solid pans!”
Gill’s award-winning marmalade can only be bought at the Middle Holly Cottage Tea Room. Please visit www.middlehollycottage.co.uk for more information.
Photos above by Nick Dagger Photography