So far 2015 has been our busiest year since we opened the Guest House in 1989. We have met so many wonderful guests, made a lot of new friends and welcomed back many too. We have made a number of major changes in the past twelve months and there are even more ahead…
- For the second year running we have been short listed in the Free Freefrom Eating Out Awards for the Guesthouse. This is a very prestigious award and it was very exciting to be part of the Free From community and attend the award ceremony in London last November.
Last year we came third in the B&B and Guesthouse section.. lets hope we can match it again this year.
- As a lactose intolerant, vegetarian coeliac I know personally how difficult it can be to eat out. Even with the new labelling laws that came into force in 2014, I have found that many staff simply are not knowledgeable or trained in catering for allergies, and since a gluten free diet became known as a fad diet (because some people mistakenly believe it is a good way to lose weight), some establishments assume that anyone on a Free From diet of any sort is merely following a fashion (I wish…. ). Sadly this means that some chefs simply aren’t as careful as they ought to be when purchasing, storing, handling, cooking or serving food, and this results in massive risks of contamination by allergens. When we go away on holiday or out for a meal, not only is it important not to be served allergens but it is stressful and simply spoils the enjoyment of an outing to have to question every dish that is placed in front of you. Even then, there is always a little niggle at the back of your mind… “is it REALLY ok?” …. “how long before the familiar reactions begin?”…. At Stonecroft I have been catering for Free From diets since I was first diagnosed 19 years ago, after all, who better to cater for you than someone who understands first hand that just a little bit WILL hurt? My menus have always included one specifically for guests on Free From diets and we were always happy to adapt anything we can to suit individual requirements, but even then guests still asked the thousand dollar question… “is it gluten free / lactose free / vegan?” In view of this, we have created just one menu… everything on it is gluten free, and it is well labelled as to whether it is vegetarian, vegan or can be adapted. By law we also have a list of potential allergens and ingredients for every dish and will happily discuss your personal requirements at any time. To most of us a Free From diet is not a fad diet… It is a necessary lifestyle. It is not just gluten free, but free of certain allergens, or foods that we avoid for medical, taste, moral or ethical reasons or on religious grounds… perhaps it just makes us feel better… at Stonecroft It doesnt matter why you are following your particular eating regime or lifestyle… you will be treated with respect, your menu will be planned around your own personal requirements and wishes and we will do our best to obtain any specific ingredients you fancy.
- Because of my own niggles and doubts when I dine out, I also wanted to reassure my guests that I really do understand how important it is to avoid other allergens. In 2014 we were awarded Gluten Free Accreditation from Coeliac UK. This is not an easy to obtain award, and to dine somewhere that is Gluten Free Accredited, you can be assured that they know what they are doing! We have to prove purchasing, storage, food prep, cooking, serving, hygiene, training and other important protocols. We even have to prove that our suppliers do the same. We are extremely proud of this award..
- We are currently planning our Christmas menus. These will shortly be added to the website and will be available for selection for December.
- For the first time since we bought Stonecroft in 1989, we are closing for a short while in January. We will not be resting however as the builders are moving in, and the Back Tor room and Beauty Room are being knocked into one room and an en suite added. This is a lovely sunny room and the sun streams through the stained glass bay windows most of the day. We cant wait to see it finished!
- If all the plans run according to schedule we will also be letting Brown Knoll as a single room with private shower room from Spring 2016.
- Today we had a visit from the AA inspector. We are pleased to announce that once again we have been awarded 4 star with a Gold Award and a Breakfast award.