Browse Bath’s Best Bites (and Booze)

By Paul Bloomfield

Whether you’re in town for the festival or just for a break, you wouldn’t want to miss the local delicacies. Bath Buns and Sally Lunn’s buns – sizeable brioche-like confections topped with sweet or savoury fillings, or simply butter – vie for the title of best-known treats, but plenty of Bath-based artisan producers create a wide range of delectable food and drink. Try our five favourite Bath tastes…

1) Bath Ales

The brewery is actually in Warmley, just outside the city – but Bath Ales are real in the best possible sense. Gem, the flagship bitter, is a rich, malty brew, and a nationwide bestseller in supermarkets, but with a host of stouts, golden and pale ales, ciders and seasonal specials (try hoppy Summer’s Hare), most tastes are covered. Sip your way through the menu at the Salamander (John Street), Hop Pole (Albion Buildings) or Graze (Brunel Square) pubs in the city – all of which also serve good food. The Swan at Swineford is also a good option just outside of Bath.

2) Bath Soft Cheese Company

The cows munching on the lush grass around Kelston, just west of the city centre, produce fine organic milk – which goes into the wondrous cheeses from Park Farm. There’s Bath Soft Cheese (reputedly given to Admiral Nelson by his father in 1801), with a mild, mushroomy flavour; Bath Blue Cheese, smoother than Stilton but still with a punch; Kelston Park, another soft cheese with citrus notes; and Wyfe of Bath, a nutty, creamy hard cheese – try the extra mature version for more oomph. Pick up a selection at the farm café or at Bath Farmer’s Market in Green Park Station every Saturday morning.

3) Seven Hills Chocolate

The finest beans from Madagascar, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Costa Rica are blended with organic butter and cream from Somerset to concoct sinfully delicious artisan wares. From the powerful flavours of 85% Colombian dark chocolate to Costa Rican milk with toasted pistachio and cinnamon, there’s a range of bars and beautiful individual fresh chocolates to savour. Browse the stall at Bath Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, or in local delis.

4) Bath Gin

Playing with the city’s classical elements – ‘Gin’ Austen winks from the bottle labels – Bath Gin is made with British grain spirit and 10 botanicals including bitter orange, kaffir leaf and English coriander. It goes perfectly in a cocktail or with the company’s Naivasha tonic water, served with style at the Canary Gin Bar on Queen Street, where you can join a distillery tour, tasting or gin-making session.

5) Bertinet Bakery

Bath’s French connection stretches way, way back – indeed, in the 17th century it was from France that Huguenot refugee Solange Luyon arrived, becoming Sally Lunn and introducing her eponymous buns. Today’s Gallic baking star is Richard Bertinet, a Breton who bakes the finest boulangerie in town (and, now, elsewhere). Pick up a loaf at one of his shops on New Bond Street Place or the Vaults, or join a baking class at his cookery school.

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