While most of the world gobbles down turkey like there’s no tomorrow (or indeed Boxing Day), some prefer not to eat turkey at all – given a choice of festive fowl, I’d never pick turkey. Never. It could sit plumply on the supermarket subs’ bench till kingdom come for all I care, forever in the shadow of gamey alternatives, goose, grouse or partridge in Guinness sauce.
Thankfully, Chewton Glen – a New Forest family-friendly favourite officially dubbed by this very blog as ‘Hampshire’s Most Splendiferous Spa-Enhanced Country-House Hotel‘ – has saved the day with a mouthwatering recipe from its recently revamped restaurant, Vetiver.
Of course, some of you might prefer to spend less time in the kitchen, and more time drinking sherry/unwrapping presents/recovering from Christmas Eve. In which case, the sane way to avoid manual labour completely is to check into Chewton Glen, bed down in one of its classic-luxe suites and let talented head chef Andrew Du Bourg do all the hard work for you…
Roast partridge | Truffle and butternut squash puree | Guinness sauce
For the sauce
2 banana shallots
½ head of garlic
1 can of Guinness
1 litre partridge stock
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
It’s that time of your when we start to regret all that festive over-indulgence and the thought of wearing swimwear by summer inspires pearls of sweat to appear on our foreheads faster than you can say ‘Book me that spa break!’
So here are a few of our favourite spa retreats in Blighty to whet your appetite (no, not that one) for a healthier spell…
Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Don’t be deceived by the historical look of this manor-house hotel – Aquarias and its part-inside, part-outdoor hydrotherapy pool is pure 21st-century.
There can be few things more irksome than being left out while an entire roomful of smug people simultaneously rave about something you’ve never tried (like a super-exclusive wine) or somewhere you’ve never been (like a favourite hotel) – and believe me, at Mr & Mrs Smith, it’s a regular occurrence. It’s like being back in the playground, having missed that vital episode of Dynasty and therefore being condemned to permanent social Coventry. See sample conversation below.
Colleague 1: ‘I was at Chewton Glen for a spa weekend last month, we had such a great time…’
Colleague 2: ‘Oh yes, I love it there! The New Forest is so lovely. And aren’t the rooms great?’
Colleague 3: ‘Yes, we stayed in the Poachers Suite when we went down last year…’
Colleague 2: ‘That’s where we stayed too! The bathroom’s amazing, isn’t it? And what about that two-person shower, eh!’ [repeat ad nauseam with self-congratulatory smiles all round]
Even anonymous members of the public were rubbing it in, voting Chewton Glen on of the top three ‘Best UK hotels‘ in a recent poll in the Sunday Times Travel supplement.
It used to annoy me. But not any more. Because – drum roll please – I am now a fully signed-up member of the official Chewton Glen Fan Club and feel that entitles me to a lengthy gush about a wonderful wine-tasting evening I recently spent at Hampshire’s Most Splendiferous Spa-Enhanced Country-House Hotel.