Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
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ALL PHOTOS OF FOOD ARE real WITH no PHOTOSHOP!
The Suave And Suprising Travelling Gourmet TM visits a town famed for its awesome history and other…
MORE esoteric legends…
MY train pulled smoothly into the small train station. In next to no time I was whisked to the well appointed and unpretentiously luxurious Three Counties Hotel. Set some distance from the town centre, its lovely landscaped gardens and kind and heartfelt service made staying here a delight. This was my lovely base far from the madding crowd, from which to explore this lovely city celebrated for its incredibly beautiful Cathedral. You may know that when President Trump visited the UK recently, his grand banquet in majestic Blenheim Palace featured Beef, but no ordinary beef. Extraordinary Hereford beef is renowned for its taste, texture and yummieness!!! More of that later…
Hereford’s Captivating Cathedral
Perhaps you have seen Il Duomo in Milano, St. Paul’s in London, Vienna’s Stephansdom…BUT you ain’t seen nothing yet till you admire and be awestruck by Hereford Cathedral!
The most famous famous TREASURE of the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Hereford is unequivocally the Mappa Mundi! This awesome and amazing map of the world was created in 1300 by Richard of Holdingham. Unsuprisingly, the Mappa Mundi is listed on the UNESCO memory of the World Register. When I saw it, I was stunned like a broccoli! The palatial cathedral is also a Grade I listed heritage building. While the stunning cathedral became a place of worship in the 8th Century, or even earlier, the bishop’s chapel dates back to the 11th century.
A most learned and kind man who is one of the nicest gentlemen that I am honoured to call my friend, is the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor. The Very Reverend is the Dean of Hereford Cathedral. After attending a special service we had tea and biscuits in his beautifully landscaped garden. The enchanting garden is full of colourful flowers and shrubs. While enjoying our tete a tete, I told him that my very best friends all over the world were called Michael. Dean Michael remarked with a happy chuckle, “Yes, we share the same name…Michael is a very good name.” If you know your Bible, St. Michael the Archangel of God was the hero who cast the devil out of Heaven.
Marvellous Mappa Mundi
More on this historical artifact…The Mappa Mundi is no ordinary map of the WORLD. Back then there was NO Google, NO GPS…and yet they could create something incredible like this! Amazingly, astonishingly beautiful, and accurate too for the most part! Mind boggling! Believe me, it is truly one of the wonders of the Ancient World.
Now we have vibration sensors, invisible Passive Infra-Red Motion Detector beams, pressure switches, magnetic contact switches, biometric retinal scanners, ultrasonic detectors, CCTV monitors with audio and visual capabilities, mini cameras build into your Silhouette sunglasses…and more…including techniques so sensitive they are classified TOP SECRET. In the Ancient World, just like in today’s high-tech world of smart phones, bad people were also a problem! To prevent these mischievious miscreants stealing the valuable priceless books with priceless knowledge, painstakingly written word for word on ueber-thin calfskin “paper”, they came up with a clever and cunning plan. Chains! The books were and are chained to the book shelves. INGENIOUS! It works! That is why I always say: Do not reinvent the wheel and do not fix what is not broken! Bookworms of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but the “chains” of ignorance! Case in point, the vile viet cong terrorists in the Vietnam War survived on broken rice, a handful of crushed peanuts on a good day, tapioca, water/tea and Nuoc Mam fermented fish sauce. The US Army GI aka Grunt lived very well on-base! They feasted on Hamburgers, French Fries and Coca Cola, Coleslaw, baked beans, Eggs sunny side up, Apple Pie a la mode and Budwieser beer and more! In the field deep behind enemy lines, Lurps and Green Berets were privileged to enjoy posh expensive food, the SAME food as sold in Abercrombie & Fitch – Gourmet LRRP freeze-dried rations! Clearly, logistically it was much cheaper to outfit and feed the vile vietcong guerillas than GIs! Similarly, it is much cheaper to chain the valuable books to the shelves than to install super-expensive Security Systems or employ eagle eyed Librarians!!! There were smarties in the Ancient World too! One of life’s BIG ironies, nicht wahr!
Memorial to the Regiment
John Maine has entitled his artistic installation Ascension…As one engages with it, one finds many profound levels of meaning plus a range of narratives that gives us meaning and hope. Your eyes move up from the deep, dark shadows of the base of Dolerite from Stirling, Scotland…across sky blue glass panes, flecked with crimson-red…then towards the lighter yellow and amber tones…on a journey from the depths of darkness into the realms of light. Much of the Regiments work is shrouded in dark secrecy and the mysterious shadows echo this clandestine & covert aspect of the Regiment. ASCENSION…The lights change with the sun and seasons – SAS. The renowned “Winged Dagger” Badge of the SAS is the work of Perthshire carver Gillian Forbes, who also cut the line of poetry ‘Always a little further’ in this very hard black marble material.
Ascension Special Air Service Memorial
ASCENSION in stained glass also displays impressive 21st-century technology. Waking slowly and solemnly along the aisle, I remembered fondly comrades and friends in the Regiment. Some living, some not. I marvelled at the myriad kaleidoscopic patterns, plus ever-shifting waves of glimmering light from the 3,000 pieces of glass in 40 different colours. The mystical ever changing colours reminded me of the Buddhist maxim that existence is forever transient, and human life is endlessly in a state of flux.
The sculpture is formed of different stones from across the world: three of them are from Scotland. The base or pediment is Dolerite, from a quarry near Stirling, and the large sandstone recumbent comes from Clashach, near Elgin. The inscription ‘Special Air Service’ is hand-cut in a block of Caithness slate by the distinguished letter cutter Nicholas Sloan, who lives in Somerset. The ledger stones at the foot of the monument are black marble, from a mine near Mons in Belgium. The beautiful blue apse is carved from a kind of granite from Brazil known as syenite. Taken together, the varying hues and differing textures of the stones may be thought to reflect our multi-cultural world, ever changing, always challenging, but robustly protected and defended through the commitment and dedication of the SAS, exemplified by their never-say-die motto: Who Dares Wins!
We are the Pilgrims, Master; we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea.
The Pilgrims by James Elroy Flecker 1884–1915
Her Worshipful The Mayor of Hereford
Councillor Sue Boulter is the current Mayor of Hereford. A really kind and bright lady, she showed me all the historic, impressive and important ceremonial Regalia and important objets d’arts in the Mayor’s Parlour. Over a glass of cider, on of the famous products of Herefordshire, we had a wonderful tête-à- tête. On the subject of food, the Mayor asked,’Where are you going for dinner then?” I replied, “I don’t know at the moment but I want more Hereford Beef!” Mayor Sue esxclaimed heartily, “Then I strongly recommend ‘The Beefy Boys’!” My reply was, “Sounds good to me!
Where is the BEEF?
The resourceful and intrepid Travelling Gourmet…
MEETS The BEEFY Boys! Following the kind recommendation of The Mayor of Hereford, I found myself on the second storey of The Beefy Boys restaurant which was buzzing with many afficionados of Hereford Beef and macho Beefburgers which is what is served lovingly here! Somehow, I thought, as I looked around, I don’t think this is popular with Vegans! The Old Market is actually, despite its name…very NEW! A new well designed developement of shops, well-stocked Waitrose mega supermarket and quaint and yummie restaurants, cafes and bistros. The Beefy Boys entered
the UK’s biggest BBQ competition Grillstock and won the coveted title of Best Burger in 2014.
The boys then got to represent the UK at
The World Food Championships in Las Vegas where they
competed against 50 of the best Burger chefs in the
world for the title of World’s Best Burger! The four lads from Hereford defied all the odds and managed to come 2nd overall with their Burger winning the
final. WHO Dares Wins! Originally, there were 4 Beefy Boys but now alas, only three, as one has passed on. Well, life goes on, and they have even beaten the Americans in the USA with their Prize Winning Beefburgers!!! The BIG burgers are made with 100% 21 day age Herefordshire Beef minced fresh daily! The Hereford Beef is sourced from local butcher Neil Powell & local farmer Johnny Morris. For a great BIG BITE sink your mighty molars into… MEXICAN Boy! MEATY beef patty medium doneness with a hot fluffy bun surrounded by ueber-crispy tortilla corn chips, and matched with a glass of Butty Bach Wye Valley Ale is heavenly! Keep calm and munch on!! 🙂
The BEEFY Boys of The Meat Boutique,
Hereford HR4 9HU,
Hereford CIDER and Wine from…
MERRIE olde England!
Bulmers Cider in Hereford is the world’s largest maker of Cider. Since 1885 crafting tip-top cider to quench your thirst after a hard day’s work! Alas, since 2008, it has been owned by Dutch brewer Heineken. Never mind, Bulmers excellent cider lives on, and its Museum is not to be missed. Nothing quite like a chilled glass of vitamin rich low alcohol Bulmers Cider with some Herefordshire Cheese and Pickles! J’adore BULMERS
ORIGINAL…a good balance of sharp tangy apples with sweet apples from orchards in Herefordshire, this medium-sweet cider is really good with Fish & Chips and sharp, piquant cheeses like Red Leicester with some honey and caramelized onions! Another favourite is SARAH’S RED APPLE CIDER! Medium bodied with an elegant and smooth taste with a bittersweet finish. This showcases the true fruit taste profile of premium Herefordshire red apples! I like to go to The Grapes in a quiet part of Hereford which is a “garrison pub” popular with soldiers in HM Armed Forces, now owned by an Irish family. There I partake of beer, real ale plus cider and hearty “pub grub”.
ALL about Captivating CIDER!
As Mr. Spock always on Star Trek, “Fascinating…” Visiting is a fascinating learning experience. You will discover just how apples are pressed and…how the golden juice is fermented to produce cider. You can explore original champagne cider cellars and view cidermaking equipment plus a cooper’s barrel making workshop and a vat house. This because the museum was a cider making factory. There is a marvellous collection of old English lead crystal cider glasses from the 18th century onwards. The visitor can also listen to oral history recordings. Get unique souvenirs for your loved ones in the Gift Shop! An extensive range of ciders entice! The Tea Room offers light refreshments.
The Cider Museum of Hereford
Hereford HR4 0EF
The Museum is open: 10.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Saturday ALL YEAR including Bank Holidays. Closed Sundays.
Admission charges are as follows:
Adults: £5.50 Concessions: £5.00 Children/Students: £3.00 Family: £16.00
Thank you for visiting The Travelling Gourmet TM’ web portal! Keep calm and carry on eating!!!