It’s not difficult to imagine, as you sit on the terrace on a hot July afternoon, the Gaddum family at home here at Brockhole. Tea is served to me in bone white china and the plates of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones might have just come from the kitchen of Edith Gaddum’s beautiful Edwardian home. I’m here at The Gaddum Restaurant looking across the gardens Edith loved, at the same view she would have enjoyed and shared with guests – it’s no surprise that she quickly made Brockhole House, originally planned as a holiday home, into her permanent residence.
I’m here having an ‘off duty’ visit to The Gaddum this time and treating myself to afternoon tea – and today I can relax and enjoy it! I’m having the Quinteassential blend of Earl Grey – it’s very quickly become my favourite and Michael knows it – it’s arrived almost before I’ve ordered it!
I’ve been working with the National Park and Brockhole team over the last few months on their newest venture here – The Gaddum Restaurant by the Lake – it’s been a dream of a project, all my favourite things (Arts & Craft design, heritage, gardens, views and food) in one stunning location – and I feel that I have been lead and inspired all the way by Edith Gaddum herself.
All the time I’m showing people around I’m aware that this was once a loved family home where a family lived, relaxed and celebrated key moments in their lives. So, when I thought about how new visitors to The Gaddum might feel when walking in to the stunning Arts & Crafts dining room, I simply thought of them as family friends being invited to tea – they would feel at home.
And when I was working with the Cumbria Life team on a recent wedding shoot here I kept in mind that William and Edith saw their son, Jim, married here in 1918 and what a joyous family occasion that would have been – and people will feel that again each time a wedding is celebrated here.
I’ve tasted all the delights from the Gaddum too – purely professionally you understand. I’ve had the signature afternoon tea with its pâtisserie and oven fresh scones – I’ve sampled the Cumbrian grilled butterflied chicken breast “paillard” – and yes it was all delicious – but I was working, talking to journalists and critics it not the best way to enjoy fabulous food! I promised myself I would come back and enjoy the delights that Gerald and Zoe prepare without a photographer over my shoulder or an enthusiastic journalist getting to the Lemon Tart before me. (That’s the Lemon Tart with crisp sablé pastry, homemade lemon curd, sa ron jelly, Italian meringue and dark chocolate that I have just eaten all to myself).
The Gaddum team are being really professional – they know it’s my day off. They have made me welcome, given me a shaded table and have checked in a couple of times to make sure everything is OK (and I’ve had a top up of tea – you need lots of tea with scones). I’ll be happy here for a little longer – I’m people watching (and listening!)
Two ladies in rather impressive straw hats are admiring the roses – a family is racing down to the Lake and a young couple next to me are making plans.
It makes me wonder… 2018 or 1918?
Footnote: Michael is Catering Manager, Michael Vanheste, Gerald is Head Chef, Gerald van der Walt and Zoe is Pastry Chef, Zoe McCaig.
View the full Afternoon Tea menu here followed very shortly after by putting a date in your diary to visit The Gaddum.