I have lived in Surrey for six years now. What I still miss most (after leaving London) are the diverse range of food shops, authentic local restaurants (that actually use chillies with heat), street food, easily available ethnic ingredients and a place that sells a decent cup of coffee.
I am still looking for these things but then I did discover a place that is pretty special. A place that really reminds me of Petersham Nurseries. The Medicine Garden, Cobham. A restored Victorian walled garden with a cafe, craft workshop, gift shop, art gallery, treatment room and best of all, a fine food discovery in The Larder.
The only reason I came across this fantastic food shop run by Ruth Lambert is because I was visiting the garden as a potential plant source for the garden. My gardening hobby has taken a back seat lately, since teaching and writing this blog takes up all of my time outside of my family. But I am hoping to set aside more time in spring to get back into it along with more time spent allotmenting.
Anyway, the good thing is that by the time I left I had met Ruth and we had agreed to set into motion a new joint project. Kids’s Foodie Workshops at The Larder will hopefully be something that will take place throughout the year during the holidays starting this December.
Ruth also runs Foodie Fridays at The Larder. They are based in the shop and are run in the evening as a workshop for adults who are looking to have a taster session on a range of foodie subjects. I am running a Mince Pie workshop there in December, teaching the art of mastering pastry and how to put together delicious little mince pies made using my very own Sherry laced mincemeat.
Q&A with Ruth Lambert
What is your background?
Retail, mainly pubs and off licenses.
What lead you to start The Larder?
I was involved with The Medicine Garden as a volunteer after being made redundant. I got talking about how The Medicine Garden should have a food shop and I did not want anyone else to do it, so I started it!
What does The Larder mean to you?
The Larder represents a farmers market but in a shop version that is open every day of the week. I also like to think we are helping to promote the “shop local” ethos.
What are your bestsellers?
My products can all be described as “Best in class”. Best sellers are my cakes, local honey, fudge and Lancashire bomb cheeses.
What’s in store for the Christmas period?
Copas turkeys and whole hams to order. Traditional Italian Panettone, locally made Christmas puddings and hampers.
What is the next event you are holding at The Larder/Medicine Garden?
There is a Christmas Market being held on the last weekend in November. Gifts from a range of stalls as well as the on site businesses. Entry is free.
A hidden gem of Surrey. I hope and wish that more places such as this will follow. If you now of anywhere or are a producer, food shop, farmer or food retailer then do get in touch. I would love to hear about more of your Surrey Food Finds. This will become a bigger part of my blog in the future.