18th October 2020
Breakfast in Bed at La Fosse in Cranborne, Dorset
I can’t remember the last time I treated myself to breakfast in bed. So, I was delighted when I discovered that La Fosse has introduced room service for the first meal of the day as one of their COVID-19 safeguards.
I had ordered my food and booked a time slot the evening before. It was left outside my room, its arrival announced by a knock on my door. The main constituent of my meal was a muffin generously filled with smoked trout. I later discovered that the trout had been caught by the local gamekeeper from a chalk stream nearby. Chef Mark had smoked it in his kitchen. You can’t get more local than that.
Bed & Breakfast at La Fosse
La Fosse occupies London House on The Square in the centre of Cranborne in Dorset. This charming building, originally a row of cottages, has been lovingly converted by Mark Hartstone, chef-proprietor, and his wife Emmanuelle. They had both worked in the hospitality industry for several years before their paths crossed.
On arrival at La Fosse, I followed the instructions on the front door. Mask in place and hands sanitised I stepped inside and rang the bell to announce my arrival. Mark directed me to my room. The key was in the lock and some information regarding their COVID-19 safeguards had been placed on the bed. There were also some maps of the area as I had expressed an intention to go walking. My cosy room was furnished with a pleasing blend of old-fashioned furniture and modern fittings. I had collected some fresh milk on my way upstairs ready for some tea after my walk.
The Restaurant at La Fosse
I was dining at La Fosse that evening. A note on my bed confirmed my reservation and requested my presence 10 minutes before. A note on the door reminded me I should put my mask on and sanitise my hands before leaving my room. It was really useful to have my own sanitiser. It is a small restaurant and the tables have been thoughtfully arranged to accommodate social distancing. Beyond the dining area is a snug where guests can enjoy a coffee after their meal. There is also a sitting room across the hall so plenty of space to relax. Some interesting paintings adorn the walls and I was particularly impressed by a series of paintings by Dorset artist, Sam Toft.
Once I was seated in the restaurant I could take my mask off and peruse the menu. Mark does use local ingredients where possible, including produce from his own allotment. I chose the medley of … as my starter. A colourful and delicious version of a sea-food cocktail.
For my main course, I chose the grey mullet from Lymington. I was accompanied by a lovely light mushroom sauce, new potatoes and a mixture of fresh vegetables. The fish was perfectly cooked with a nice crispy skin. For dessert I had the … crumble with salted caramel ice cream. It was a lovely meal – well-prepared and nicely presented – and plenty of time to enjoy each course. Emmanuelle was waiting on the tables and I appreciated her friendly, efficient and unhurried approach.
Places to Visit near La Fosse
Cranborne, home of La Fosse, is in Dorset but close to the borders of Wiltshire and Hampshire so it is the ideal base for exploring three counties. It is a twenty-minute drive to the famous Jurassic Coast and the New Forest is even closer. There are some lovely walks in Cranborne around the extensive grounds of Cranborne Manor.
At any time, La Fosse is an ideal place to stay and enjoy the flavours of South West England but especially now thanks to the care they are taking to ensure their guests can feel safe yet comfortable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller
An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing 4 books she turned to online travel writing and photography. Today she is editor, features’ writer and reviewer for ExperiencedTraveller.com and regularly contributes guided city walks to GPSmyCity.com