Three themes combined: caravans, chickens, and cheese

We spent a few days in Torquay, partly for a family visit, partly because we were itching to try out the new caravan, and partly to visit a couple of poultry breeders. And the cheese? Read on …

We stayed at Widdicombe Farm touring park, just outside Torquay. This site receives rave reviews, and I can understand why. The site is terraced, so everyone gets a good view of the surrounding countryside.

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There’s a bar, and a very nice restaurant that serves good traditional meals, and a very helpful and friendly reception. Even though it’s end of season, the site was quite full, and our particular pitch was perhaps not the best. We were on the edge of the site, and a wee bit too close for comfort to a cow byre with its attendant smells and flies. Next time we’ll know where to ask to be placed!

The new caravan is fantastic. We’d got a “fully serviced” pitch, so we could connect the aquaroll to a tap to keep it permanently topped up. There’s a little float valve like those in lavatory cisterns that goes in the aquaroll. Similarly, there’s a permanent drain for grey water. Unfortunately I’d neglected to buy a long enough drain hose, so we used our normal waste container. But it’s rather nice not to be constantly filling up the fresh water tank. Well worth the extra small charge per night.

The caravan soon looked comfy and “lived in”. It’s noticeably bigger than the old one, and the modern kit is functional.

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We set up the awning and a nice large table to entertain our guests to lunch.

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We gave the caravan kitchen its first real test with a lunch of scallops followed by sea bass, new potatoes, and creamed spinach. Pudding was plum compote, followed by coffee. Fruit and veggies from the allotment, of course. We bought spanking fresh fish from Fish4All, one of several excellent fishmongers in Torquay.

After lunch we were taken around St Marychurch, which has some good local shops set in quaint nineteenth century streets. We managed to resist buying until we were introduced to The Cheese Press, where we indulged in a round of Tunworth soft cheese, and some Cornish Gouda. Gouda wouldn’t be our cheese of choice, but this was excellent, well-flavoured, and firm. But it was the Tunworth, winner of the Supreme British Cheese Award in 2013, that was the more interesting.

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We opened it the next day. The first impression was one of astonishing saltiness. It doesn’t advertise itself as a camembert, but the presentation, and Raymond Blanc’s recommendation all suggest a camembert-type cheese. Run-of-the-mill camemberts contain around 0.7% salt, rising to, say, 1.4% for cheeses that are intended to be eaten ripe. Tunworth is 2.5%, and it is immediately apparent on the tongue. Our cheese, although clearly ripe and ready for consumption, was also much firmer than you’d expect a camembert to be:

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But it was undoubtedly delicious. The full flavour of the cheese exceeded even the finest camemberts, without being in the least “stinky”, as some Normandy cheeses are.

And finally, we went on a tour of the Devon countryside looking for chicken breeders. You can see from the previous blog entry that we eventually plumped for Orchard Poultry, but we had a great day out on Dartmoor looking at alternatives.

There are some narrow and precipitous roads on Dartmoor!

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One farm that found had not only chickens …

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… but rare breed pigs …

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… and even an ostrich. I’d love to keep ostriches, but sadly, space doesn’t allow.

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