Thirty years ago today we bought Stonecroft Country Gueshouse and Heathercote, the self contained wing attached to the back of the house. Edith and Eric (Stuarts parents) didnt want to leave Edale so moved in there and remained there for the rest of their lives. Today, it is home to our son Chris who owns a wonderful busy cafe just down the road…
Stonecroft had been run as a small licensed hotel for the previous 20 or so years by Edith and Eric, offering walking holidays to the over 40s in the beautiful Peak district National Park (Gosh, that was a shock the day we realised we were finally old enough to go on one of Mums holidays!)… and when we took over the business we continued to offer the holidays with one of Ediths long standing guests as a guide. From day one we specialised in vegetarian dining… the trouble was, in those days it was still the heavy pot crockery everywhere you went if you were veggie, and it was very much the wholefood ethos… we wanted a bit of fine dining, so the style of food we offered was very different to the norm… gourmet vegetarian cuisine… Everyone loved it.
Over 20 years ago I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and also developed other allergies and intolerencies, and I realised how difficult it was to eat out with specific dietary requirements, so I gained further qualifications and was able to cater safely for guests with allergy and lifestyle diets.
Time has passed, food styles have changed… but we are still going from strength to strength. Finally, we made the biggest leap of all… Because of our location, being at the very start of the Pennine Way, and having a lot of hikers staying, I was concerned that ditching the one dish that stopped us from being totally veggie, would be detrimental to the business.. But in the end, I apologised to the last sausage that I cooked and the Full English Breakfast was removed from the menu. We went veggie….
Stonecroft now operates a gluten free kitchen and the menu is vegetarian / vegan and suitable for just about all dietary requirements. Because we design every dish from the bottom up it is easy to leave out ingredients, and substitute other, to suit every taste / dietary requirement. Every dish is either vegetarian or vegan, or can be converted easily to being vegan.
I am very much against processed foods and make just about everything from scratch at Stonecroft. We also use local food producers wherever possible (even your cutlery is made in the valley).
We have also received many awards over the past few years: Not just AA 4 star Gold Awards and Breakfast awards, but Gold Awards / winner in the Guesthouse Category of the Free From Eating out Awards, Finalist in the AAs Friendliest B and B Award, Runner up at Eviivo’s Tastiest Breakfast award (I had to cook breakfast for Michel Roux jnr… not the most relaxing way to spend a birthday)… and I am also a just for Free From Eating out awards and Food Awards.
Its interesting to see how trends and food choices are changing yet again. Vegan food is now mainstream, and a Wholefood plant based diet is the recommended diet for maintaining health, and preventing, and even curing disease. We seem to have come full circle to where we were all those years ago, except this time we are not oddities… we are mainstream! 😁
As for losing business by being veggie?… I’m happy to announce that business has never been better.. we have bookings for over a year ahead, and its lovely to see guests arriving and not to have to apologise for having a lifestyle diet or allergies…
As for the future? I have plans for making lifestyle and allergy diets even more mainstream. Lets face it, we don’t choose to follow these diets for the sheer hell of it… we have reasons… ethical, environmental, allergies, intolerancies, autoimmune issues… every one is a just a valid reason for what we do… so why is it so difficult to eat out? More and more restaurants are offering gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan menus… but have you ever tried finding dishes that overlap? 🤣🤣🤣 (preferable to 😥😥😥).. just about impossible.. I’ve found this more and more… My mission is to work with a national charity in the future to encourage caterers to accommodate lifestyle and allergy catering more… and this will be through better training and knowledge.
So if you fancy a break away from the stresses and strains of everyday life, come and visit us in the heart of the beautiful Peak District National Park and enjoy a bit of old fashioned hospitality, in our multi award winning guesthouse…
Have a look at our website, and give us a ring… Remember the best deals are to be had by ringing us directly.. Short Breaks, Autumn and Winter breaks and gift vouchers available to book.
Happy Birthday Stonecroft…..