Hidden Gems

Ever so often I stumble across a product or place that I love. Those little places that are sometimes hidden away and always a pleasure to visit. I’ve been a visitor to the Ferrers Centre for years but this weekend was the first time I’ve managed to visit there in a while. A stone’s throw over the border in Leicestershire The Ferrers Gallery always suckers me in. The constantly changing exhibitions means there is always refreshing new artists to discover. On this visit to the top floor of the gallery was some work by Darren Dearen. There was a particular piece by him that had lots of butterflies literally fluttering out of the canvas. If I had a few 100 pounds to spare I would certainly buy some of his work.

The newest shop at the Ferrers Centre is Breadfirst, one of the first artisan bakeries in the area. I had been recommened it by a few people on Twitter and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The atmosphere when we walked in was lovely; keen to help, but not pushy in the slightest. They were more than happy for us to browse before we bought anything. All the bread is baked on premises and visitors to the shop can see the ovens and the baker at work through a glass window. I love the fact they will make and bake fresh scones for you while you wait. We were also given the opportunity to sample some of their delights. All were so good we ended up buying them. The fougasse had the perfect texture with the caraway seeds & juicy sultanas bringing a delicious taste to the bread. We then tried some stunning cheeses. A white Stilton with ginger & apricots and a new favourite for me – Gorwydd Caerphilly. The Gorwydd Caerphilly is a mature unpasturised cheese was unlike any cheese I had tasted before. It has a soft texture in the middle leading to a harder more mature texture on the outside. For me the taste was similar to a Somerset Brie. To finish our shopping spree we purchased 2 individual pies to have with dinner, both of which were full to the brim with chunky meat and succulent vegetables all encased in the perfect pastry. Breadfirst is becoming popular with local foodies in the know and I will certainly soon be returning especially since I know Vintage & Cake will soon be selling her cakes there.

To round off my day of touring local independent traders I popped into The Blossom Tree in Melbourne (this is the little market town that the big Aussie Melbourne is named after). I’ve had flowers from The Blossom Tree before and have always been impressed, but this was the first time I had visited Kerry’s shop. My eye’s lit up when I saw she had some fringed tulips left and I have to say I bought the last 2 bunches. Ever since she showed photos of fringed tulips being used in a wedding bouquet on her blog I’ve wanted to get my hands on some. They are almost a little sign that spring is on its way.

There are thousands of great little businesses out there waiting to be found. Take a few hours away from the hubbub of the High Street and you may be surprised as to what you might find.

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