Wine tasting

More in Hampshire than it is in West Sussex. Yet despite the anomaly of being half in and half out, Emsworth is definitely Chichester Harbour. A quaint South Coast village that has retained its charm and which is where Vin Wine Merchants offer wine courses, free in-store tastings, corporate and private events as well as vineyard tours in the UK and throughout Europe

Wine shops in West Sussex and Hampshire

They can be found around the corner and are just hard enough to find to be unusual and interesting.

Housed in a listed building dating back to the seventeen hundreds, they stock a range of wines from all over the world along with our tasting room where we hold all our courses and tasting events. With original wooden floors throughout and old fruit crates for the shelving it’s like stepping back in time to the wine merchants of yesteryear, adding to the whole experience.

Where to eat

Despite being famished, before stopping at The Pass Street Food Cafe for a burger, I wandered up to Charlie Harpers to see what they were offering on their specials board.

Crispy belly of pork served with black pudding mash, apple cider and thyme jus, green beans and bacon.

More than enough to get me to a table and take out the newspaper. Charlie Harpers is one of the best casual day restaurants in Chichester. Their specials board always offers something of interest at very affordable prices.

But since I don’t get the opportunity, as often as I would like, I still stopped at The Pass for a Mexican burger and chippers. It is a rare pleasure to be served something bursting with flavour that needs no seasoning.

Again real value for money. The only restaurant where I order a burger. They also do a monthly special which I have never tried as I stick to exactly what works for me.

These two along with Woodies and De Levante are worth trying as is Crispins for tea, coffee and cake.

Chichester Farmers Market

Looking for an artisan feta some years ago, I splashed out on a some goats cheese at a local market. But quickly lost interest as it had a distinctly unpleasant taste and have avoided the stuff ever since.

Up until I stopped at the Nut Knowle Farm stall at the Chichesters Farmers Market where I was very pleasantly surprised after sampling the different cheeses on offer. I also discovered that rather than being a goats cheese, feta was originally made from sheeps milk.

They range from a soft and mild roll, through to mature, mould encrusted varieties that pack a punch. As well as a full range of herbed and different flavoured cheeses in between.

The Farmers market operates the first and third Friday of the month and is well worth browsing around.

 

Fly fishing

Fly fishing is something the whole family can get involved with. Get started with a free store-based course at Chichesters Orvis retail store in South St.

Fly fishing courses Chichester

Learn fly-fishing basics. Perfect for beginners of all ages, includes free lessons on fly casting and outfit rigging. They also provide advice on local fishing, who to speak to and where to find.

Fly fishing rods and tackle Chichester

Goodwood

I cycled out past Maudlin, Strettington and Westerton along quiet country roads. Quiet until I hit Clay Pit Lane and all the traffic out for a Sunday drive.

Cycle routes Chichester

The attraction was the Goodwood motor racing circuit which is a destination for the breakfast/brunch riders.

As well as those out for a day drive.

The event was the ‘Breakfast Club’ which is a semi regular free to enter, and open-to-all gathering of drivers and riders who come to view each other’s cars and bikes etc. Each meeting is themed with striking examples of the days theme paraded on the start finish straight. It is held on five Sundays across the event season at Goodwood, on the first Sunday of the month, with breaks during Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival.

Goodwood Circuit is a historic venue for both two- and four-wheeled motorsport in the United Kingdom. The 3.8 kilometres circuit is situated on the estate of Goodwood House, and completely encircles Chichester Goodwood Aerodrome. It became famous for its Glover Trophy non-championship Formula One race, Goodwood Nine Hours sports car endurance and the Tourist Trophy sports car race.

The last race meeting was held at the track in 1966, because the owners did not want to modify it with chicanes to control the increased speeds of modern racing cars.

The two main events hosted at Goodwood are the annual Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival events.

The Festival of Speed is an annual hill climb, held in late June or early July. But not at the circuit. It is held in the grounds of Goodwood House featuring historic and modern motor-racing vehicles.

Following the success of the hill climb, racing returned to the Goodwood circuit in 1998. The Goodwood Revival is a three-day festival held each September for the types of cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the circuit’s original period, 1948–1966. Historic aircraft help to complete the vintage feel. Nearly everyone dresses up in vintage outfit from mods and rockers to racing drivers and just smart period clothes.

The track is now used for classic races, track days, and try-out days.

Woodies

A well cooked, as opposed to a well done steak is difficult to find. However the steak I was served at Woodies is worth going back to for another look see.

Nothing particularly special about it.

Steak restaurants in Chichester

Other than it being well seasoned, well cooked and well prepared. And besides the tomato, perched proudly over the accompanying mushroom. Suspect it had something to do with it being infused with Gin or possibly Vodka.

The Apple Cheesecake Crumble which followed was as good, if not better than my well prepared steak. A most enjoyable meal.

Best cheesecake in Chichester

De Levante

Tucked away in a cellar off St Pancras is one of the newer restaurants in Chichester.

Mediterranean restaurants in Chichester

Offering a selection of both tapas as well as main dishes De Levante is a Spanish Mediterranean themed restaurant in an unusual and attractive setting.

Spanish tapas restaurants in Chichester

But it was the Turkish rice pudding which caught my eye. Small things, simple things which make a difference.

Rice pudding in Chichester

The real thing

Chicken & winter vegetable soup at Charlie Harpers

Hot winter soup Chichester

Not your usual soup of the day. Nothing dull and boring about this one. Chunks of chicken and everything a good winter soup should be made of.

Followed by their brunch special. One of my regular stops.

Bread & Butter Pudding

I have found it.

The only restaurant in Chichester, if not the south of England, that offers bread and butter pudding on their menu.

Bread and Butter pudding south of England

I have also been assured that it is there to stay. Sweet, creamy and complemented perfectly by the sharp taste of the buttermilk sorbet. A fitting end to a meal that should be revisited……often.

Farm bread Chichester

Bread was served with beef dripping which was nice idea. Fluffy and light. But not much in the way of taste. I would have preferred some solid salty farm butter.

However the scallop starter was very different.

It was described as being baked with black pudding, cauliflower and seaweed butter. I am not sure what happened to the black pudding and cauliflower. But the scallop was lurking beneath a dressing of what I assume was foamy seaweed butter. It was also fluffy and light with crunchy bits which might well have been crispy cauliflower. Whatever it all was, it was most enjoyable.

Fine dinning in Chichester

My main course was ale glazed beef short rib which literally fell apart at touch. The meat served in the restaurant is sourced from the Home Farm and Dairy.

Farmer, Butcher, Chef is an exciting restaurant, the final stage of a unique process dedicated to showcasing the farms produce. One of the only self-sustaining organic farms in Europe.

The present Duchess of Richmond was one of the Soil Association’s earliest members. Her belief in organic food and for proper animal welfare were instrumental in the farm becoming the first 100% organically fed dairy in the country.

Organic farms in England

Midhurst

I got it all wrong.

Not dressed for what became a bitterly cold day. But that made an early breakfast at the Swan Inn in Midhurst all the more welcoming.

Home cooked pub food Midhurst

I understand that in this country breakfast is taken very seriously and I was fortunate to bump into the perfect breakfast sausage, quite by accident. Arriving in Midhurst a bit before time, I stopped outside the Swan Inn. It didn’t take long to decide to take them up on their offer of a full English breakfast and a bottomless pot of tea.

I didn’t have that many options. It was my only option.

Best breakfast in Midhust

The perfect sausage, the perfect breakfast in an English country hotel in the South Downs.

Accommodation in Midhurst