There are two kinds of mini-break I love. One involves a non-stop mad mission to explore a new city. Every second counts on a trip like this, and I’m usually hell-bent on making the most of it by sleeping very little and exploring, eating and drinking almost everything in sight.
The other, takes a completely different approach. It’s all about taking a step back from the busy, fast-paced pressures of day-to-day life, and recharging the batteries. Usually I manage to get away to West Wales a few time a year and that’s where I get my R&R, but this time, I decided to try somewhere different. Enter: La Fosse B&B.
.My stay was complimentary for the purposes of this review.
My visit to La Fosse B&B in Cranbourne
This cosy, six bedroom bed and breakfast is situated in Dorset, close to the borders of Wiltshire and Hampshire, making it ideal for exploring all three counties. Sadly, my b/f and I had limited ability to explore because we only stayed the one night, but we were pleased to discover some beautiful scenic walks right on La Fosse’s doorstep (I mean that literally).
After dropping off our bags, we headed straight out for a quick ramble in the the summer sunshine. The most striking thing about this part of England – apart from the views – is the quiet. There was no distant sound of a motorway, no hum from a nearby city, nothing except for the occasional contented ‘moo’ from the nearby grazing heifers. As a city girl who has spent her life in Cardiff and London, it took a little getting used to – but I loved it.
The village of Cranbourne itself is small and sleepy, with just a couple of pubs to explore. We stopped off for a pint at The Inn at Cranbourne, a traditional English ‘Country Inn’ with lots of outdoor seating. A perfect spot for days when the sun is shining as brightly as it did for us.
Back at the B&B, we checked in to our spacious room. Every one of the six bedrooms at La Fosse is named after a local cheese – and ours for the night was the ‘Dorset Blue’. Light and airy, it was modern in decor whilst still retaining the charm of a cosy cottage; with big sash windows which opened on to the main square in Carnbourne. If you sat and waited a while, little house martins could be seen swooping up to their nests built into the thatched roofs opposite.
In the bathroom, full-sized Cowshed toiletries made for a particularly fragrant and luxurious freshen-up.
Dinner at La Fosse
Dinner was a casual and relaxing affair, and it started with a seat on a comfy sofa and lots of time to consider the three-course, seasonal menu over a glass of wine.
The menu at La Fosse changes almost weekly, making the most of the range of seasonal, local produce which is abundant in this part of the country – a list of which you read on the back of their menu, along with each supplier and how many miles it has travelled. There is barely anything on the menu that has not been sourced from within 50 miles of the dinner table.
A cold, delicately spiced beetroot starter is dressed with a fresh, crunchy salad and a drizzle of local yoghurt – there’s nothing heavy about this Indian-inspired dish. Another starter, a well-seasoned goat ‘burger’ topped with a sunny yellow-yolked poached egg from the farm across the road is equally as light, despite the heavy sounding ingredients.
The mains follow shortly after; a pea risotto topped with gammon and belly pork, and a delicate grilled fillet of river trout, caught in the next village that same morning. The risotto is the stand-out dish, with the sweet summer peas matched perfectly to the crispy, salty pork.
Dorset’s best cheeseboard
Dessert presents a delicious decision between sweet and savoury. The promise of local poached pears with fig and honey ice cream is almost too good to resist, but Dorset’s best cheeseboard winner twice over is the absolute must-try. It’s delivered to the table by Mark himself, who talks through the flavour profile and background of every cheese which has been hand-picked. Ten bite sized servings of local cheeses, presented in running order from mild to knock-your-socks-off strong; served with chutneys, dried and fresh fruits and a range of traditional cheese crackers.
After a few glasses of red wine after dinner, we were ready for bed. During the night, our sleep was punctuated only once by the sound of an owl calling his mate in the early hours of the morning.
The next morning brought us another clear blue sky and the promise of plenty more sunshine. Feeling lucky to have planned our time off work so well, there was only one thing on our mind, and that was getting to the coast.
Luckily, breakfast at La Fosse is a hearty affair, and we could not have been better fed before we set out on our seaside road trip. We feasted on Dorset cereal topped with local yoghurt and honey, toast made with rye bread that was baked that morning. I even found room for a round of freshly smoked haddock with two perfectly poached eggs from the farm across the road.
It’s not very often that I actually feel a little sad to leave a place that I’ve spent less than 24 hours in, but it was with a heavier-than-expected heart that we packed up the car and drove away from La Fosse.
Owners Mark and Emmanuelle have created such a cosy, comfortable retreat in this idyllic part of the English countryside, it’s impossible not to be charmed by everything it has to offer.
Above: A few snaps from Dorset’s Jurassic coast – just under an hour’s drive from La Fosse B&B.
One night B&B in the ‘Dorset Blue’ room at La Fosse B&B is £120. Find out more: http://la-fosse.com