From Frome’s independent boutiques to a couple of fabulous farm shops, where to pick up Somerset’s best bits
The cows are so close to Westcombe Dairy that the milk is still warm when it goes into the vat. This super-fresh milk from lovingly cared for cows, is one of the reasons its handcrafted clothbound cheddar tastes so good, the other being the 12-18 months it spends maturing in the cellar dug deep in the hillside. You can buy rounds of it at the farm’s charming dairy shop alongside Duckett’s Aged Caerphilly and Somerset Ricotta. While you’re there, pick up a bottle of Julian Temperley’s Somerset Cider Brandy which goes particularly well with a cheeseboard.
The cute-as-a-button cobbled streets around Catherine Hill are home to the pick of Somerset’s shops. Head to Ground for lovely practical pieces by ceramicist Fi Underhill, and Frome Hardware for everything from axes to customised ink stamps. Round the corner, Johnny Szymanski sells his capsule collection of considered pieces – high-concept parkas and punchy knits – from a smart little boutique on Palmer Street, with everything made in the UK. Best of all, is Assembly, a beautifully put together menswear boutique that stocks a handpicked range of heritage menswear brands – look out for its Yarmouth Oilskins hooded cagoules.
Few things gladden the heart like the discovery of a first-rate farm shop-cum-café in some out-of-the-way spot behind a bypass or whatever. True to form, this exemplar of the genre is handily placed on the A303 between Sparkford and Wincanton. If you’re self-catering your Somerset stay, head there for its signature butchery meat boxes and cider so local you can pretty much see the apple trees from Teals’ front door. If you’re stopping to refuel, there’s a great restaurant and a café where the sweet smell of Origin coffee floats on the air.
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