I have just got back from a lovely weekend in Wensleydale near Leyburn with Chris and his family. We stayed at a gorgeous cottage called Theaked Stones which we booked through Gorgeous Cottages. Chris’s dad was certainly looking down on us as we literally could not have asked for better weather.
A weekend away wouldn’t be a weekend away without lots of lovely food and drinks, right?! However this was the first weekend away that I have had whilst being strictly dairy-free and I was somewhat concerned that the restaurants and pubs in the Yorkshire Dales wouldn’t be able to cater for what felt like my ‘fussiness’.
How wrong I was! Evening one: The Wensleydale Heifer. The waiter brought the menus and we ordered a bottle of white and a bottle of red. I scanned the menu and literally couldn’t find one thing that I thought I’d be able to have. Even things that I thought ‘might’ be dairy-free would no doubt be cooked in butter. So when the waiter came back, slightly awkwardly I asked him if there was anything they could offer that was dairy-free. He said he would go and ask the chef. Ten minutes later, he arrived back with a long list of plates that I could have. Naturally what I wanted wasn’t on his list so when I asked if it was possible to have it, he said they’d be happy to make some substitutions to make it free of my nemesis.
My starter was a gorgeous plate of smoked salmon with prawns and a timbale of potatoes which was just delicious. My main (the one which in theory should have had lashings of butter in it) was smoked haddock. Instead of cooking the spinach in butter they said they would do it in oil and rather than mashed potato, they gave me new potatoes. What’s more, when they brought bread and appetisers to the table, I had my own individual roll and different appetiser to everyone else which was such a nice touch. Yes it’s slightly embarrassing when they seem to shout out ‘WHO’S THE DAIRY-FREE?!?!’ but it was certainly worth it!
The second day we went into Leyburn and had a quick pub lunch before heading off to The Forbidden Corner. It was the kind of pub where I thought the cook might never have heard of dairy-free so I was absolutely gobsmacked when I opened the menu and the first page was titled ‘intolerances’ followed by a summary of the dishes containing common intolerances such as gluten, wheat, eggs and dairy. I opted for the ham and eggs which admittedly I would never normally have gone for but the menu was quite limited.
On the final day we went to another pretty pub / restaurant called The Wyville Arms for Sunday lunch which was recommended to us by the next door neighbour at the cottage. Sunday lunch is always going to be a challenge…Yorkshire Puddings and vegetables smothered in butter is a dairy-intolerant person’s worst nightmare! I asked the waitress what she could do and at first she looked at me a bit bemused. But then thought about it and said it wouldn’t be a problem. I bypassed the starters and opted for a salmon main course which was well cooked.
So, this is why I’m turning my intolerance into a positive. I went away for a weekend thinking I wouldn’t be able to stick to the diet but what I actually found was that everywhere was more than accommodating and better than that, I tended to do quite well out of it as, when everyone had to share vegetables, potatoes etc., I received a plate just for me!