Who doesn’t love ice-cream? what I have discovered is actually, probably, no one. There is a secret cadre of ice-cream eaters that, mid-week, will drive out into the countryside to enjoy a bit of home-cooking, a browse round a farm shop and eat ice-cream. Not just a few people, you understand, but lots of people.
In the interests of research, we ventured out mid-week (mid-week you understand…) to the beautiful forests of North Nottinghamshire in order to grab a spot of lunch at a well-known Watermill (more of that later). Lovely sunny day, but still mid-week, you understand… we get to said Watermill and it is packed. Heaving. Every seat and every table is taken, and a table for two has even been erected in the entrance to squeeze a couple more in. Blimey. No chance of a table unless you book well in advance – for a tea-room in rural North Notts. Who are all these people popping out for lunch in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the week? Maybe it was a coach trip? I don’t know, but there sure is a lot of them.
With no chance of a table, we thought….lets get some ice cream, so headed off a few more miles into the countryside to try Thaymar ice cream, based near Bothamsall. This is not just any old ice-cream, you understand, it is made with local fresh milk and cream and has been made on the Cheetham family farm (Haughton Park Farm) since 1988. And guess what, this place was heaving as well. Haughton Park Farm is not just an ice-cream parlour, but also a bustling cafe serving a lovely range of home-cooked food, and a farm shop to boot.
We at least managed to grab a table here, but it was luck rather than judgement as people were forming a queue behind us and more were buying ice creams to take outside to eat on the decking. Had a coach load arrived here too? I don’t know, but I am suspecting there is a secret club somewhere that seeks out these places and then hires a luxury coach to bring half a village out for lunch.
And it was clear why it is so popular – the food was superb, the staff were friendly and efficient despite how busy the place was, and the ice-cream is to die for.
The Scottish husband had the Scotch Broth and though it “perfect” and I had a delicious mushroom soup. Both were served with warm fresh bread and a pat of delicious proper butter. Just about perfect for a soup lunch, that left enough room for a “build your own” ice cream dessert.There are over 30 flavours to choose from including Strawberries and Cream, Choclate Marshmallow, Gaelic Coffee, Honey and Ginger and Turkish Delight.
I had Chunky Chocolate and Toffee Fudge, and the Husband had Honeycomb Caramal Ripple and Apple and Cinnamon, topped with wafers and nuts. All of it was superb, sometimes it is easy to forget what real ice cream tastes like. Thaymar will remind you. If I had to pick a favourite, the stand-out flavour from our choices was the Apple and Cinnamon.
So, if you are not already a member of the secret club that buses people out to remote places to eat a fantastic lunch, and you’d like to find out what they are all up to, I suggest you book first.