Yesterday was a fantastic and beautifully sunny day. and yes, it was FULL of culinary delights! In our usual try-as-many-coffee-shops/restaurants-as-we-can-possibly-afford, Jessie and I had several cups of coffee of various degrees of deliciousness, as well as visiting some wonderful ‘places of interest’.

Here’s a little run-through of our wanderings, with some links. All places mentioned come HIGHLY recommended. What a lovely place Exeter is!

I was met at Exeter St. Davids by Jessie and her dad, local story-telling legend, Kevin Cotter. He was equipped with his story-telling hat, (straw with several magnificent feathers bobbing in its brim as he led the way to the car), as he said he would drop us off in town after visiting a local school. What a dad!

Off we wandered through Exeter and stopped at The Plant Cafe.  A vegetarian deli/cafe/restaurant, we shared a lemon and crunchy polenta cake, which was lovely. From our table outside, we had a view of the Cathedral as well as the historical buildings surrounding it. We also had a great view of the local drunks, semi-permanent fixtures of the Cathedral grounds. They were completely harmless, and were just out enjoying the sunshine (Did I mention it was sunny?)  as much as we were!

After feeling ever so slightly intimidated by the row upon row of sparkly windows in Princesshay, we headed away from the torment of the hideous high street and towards the beacon of culture, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

I could have easily spent a whole day there. Instead of rows of identical dresses and printed jeans, there were glass case upon glass case of the most intricately original butterflies, beetles (some male and female species as small as a nit) and the famous Gerald the giraffe, which towers above the tusks of a stuffed elephant. (FACT OF THE DAY: Rumour has it that the tail of the giraffe, a resident of the museum since 1920, was mislaid, and now has a carefully painted replica, courtesy of some poor bottomless horse). After 5 years of refurbishment, the museum has been quirkily curated to encourage the interaction of the observer. Not all additions make perfect sense on a brief wander, yet the entrance, painted the most phenomenal pink, marks the old building with an immediate vibrancy that demands the notice of the modern visitor.

We were hungry… I was whisked off to The Exploding Bakery on Queen’s Street where we tucked into tomatoey-oniony-rocketty focaccia, a middle eastern spiced chickpea soup which was accompanied by a hunk of soda bread (the hunky assistant was just as tasty!) Dodgy puns aside, everything that we ate here was absolutely delicious. The soup was full of flavour, the spices fragrantly refreshing on a hot (yes, hot!) day. And at just £3 for a cup and the bread, it was perfect. We stashed the bread in our totes to feast on later.

We then weaved our way down little and large streets old and new, to find the Book-Cycle. Situated opposite the House That Moved (another barmy story to research later), the unusual charity book shop works on donations that are used to send books to children in developing countries. An allowance of three books a day, the price you wish to pay from goodwill. I’m not sure on the proper details, but please check out this website and be inspired by it. Surely it can’t just be books that the success of this ethos is limited to… The upstairs room in this fascinating shop is well-worth the visit – just being in it will make you want to read!

A final note. Kevin works for an Exeter based company called, Love Local Food. The not-for-profit business seeks to encourage the positive effects of shopping in local businesses, in order to create a community that cares about the origin of its produce.  I am absolutely thrilled to have one of my recipes on the website now! The (Non-Stinging) Nettle Quiche was trialed for my children’s recipe book and voted by a trusted group of hungry students as the tastiest. Have a look at it here on the Love Local Food recipe page. Enjoy!

Rosie x

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