CHRISTMAS is coming - and for many, that only means one thing - food, glorious food.
Let’s be honest, December is the month when our thoughts turn to our stomachs - and whether it be lashings of ale, slap up turkey dinners, mince pies or Christmas pudding, each and everyone of us can be guaranteed to be tucking into a few guilty pleasures over the festive period.
Cakes, crisps, sweets and chocolate - wherever you look, there’s temptation here, there and everywhere.
And its just the same if you dare to set foot outside your own front door too. Restaurants and pubs are all wheeling out their Christmas menus - so more often than not, its easier to get stuck in, wave farewell to your waistline and wait for the New Year Resolution to diet to kick in again once the trimmings are taken down.
And one pub standing head and shoulders above the rest this Yuletide, and indeed, all year round, is Misson’s Angel Inn.
Over the past year, landlady Simone Fallon has transformed the quiet village hostelry into a venue that’s becoming acclaimed far and wide for the quality of its food - and that’s not suprising, for what’s on offer is without a doubt, some of the best fayre on offer in the region.
Fancy a Christmas Day without the cooking and the washing up? Well, if you do, you’ll have to find somewhere other than the Angel for there’s literally no room at the Inn - they’re fully booked for December 25 so you’ll not be able to tuck into such tasty treats as Scottish home-cured gravlax, capers, lemon mustard seed mayonnaise, peppered radish and rocket salad or slow roasted shoulder of lamb stuffed with basil and rosemary served with a red currant jus. Or a delicious dessert of Christmas pudding with a brandy sauce or thick custard.
Fortunately, yours truly managed to sneak in before the full sign went up and was able to enjoy some of the sumptumous dishes served up by Simone and her team.
Nothing says Christmas like Stilton and a starter combining its delights in a heavenly cheese sauce and poured over a black pudding and bacon stack may sound a tad too heavy, but no - a wonderfully appetising way of whetting the tastebuds for the delights still to come.
Potato and leek soup is also on the starter menu - rich, nourishing and comforting - and served with a huge hunk of fresh bread, just how good pub soup should be. The Angel’s menu is all about winter warmers and you can’t get much more warming than the glorious pot-roasted venison casserole with caraway dumpling served with mashed potato. Succulent chunks of meat, enveloped in a divine sauce - and crisp, light and fluffy, superbly flavoured dumplings - no soggy white lumps floating on the top of the pan here.
Fortunately, there was still room for dessert - Lemon sorbet infused with chilli and cardamom served in a frozen lemon.
Chilli in a dessert? It might sound bizarre but it does work, the warming heat contrastly perfectly with the crisp citrus tang.
The Angel is a bit off the beaten track in Misson but if you want the finest food for miles around, please, please track it down.
* Darren Burke