This month we want to tell you about one of our favourite places near Stonehayes Farm – Otter Valley Ice Cream & Field Kitchen at Monkton near Honiton. When you come to stay at our family friendly and dog friendly Devon holiday cottages you’ll find plenty to see and do nearby but this place is only down the road and it should be high on your list. Delicious food and ice cream with views over the beautiful Otter Valley; what’s not to like about that?
Otter Valley ice Cream & Field Kitchen is a family run business that shows what amazing things can be done when you live and work on a busy farm. It also showcases the wonderful abundance of food and produce to be found in this neck of the woods and how we can all get along nicely when we work together. A message for the world perhaps – be nice, be kind, help each other.
This is a family who are proud to be farmers; farming hasn’t been without its difficulties over the years and in one way or another many farms have had to find other ways to bring in a decent income; some have renovated old barns for use as workshops or holiday cottages, others have branched out into farm shops and cafes. For this particular family it’s all about ice cream and this side of things has evolved to become what it is today – a fantastic family friendly restaurant and ice cream parlour in an outstanding location.
Back in 2010 they opened a summer house so that they could sell the ice cream they’d started making using milk from the cows that grazed on the farm (the herd have only a very short walk from the fields to the dairy). Their vision was to produce the best gelato ice cream from scratch and that’s exactly what they’ve achieved without cutting corners and by constantly experimenting with new ways of doing things and trying new flavours. It helped that they could site the hut in one of their fields right beside the A30 with a layby providing parking; people who lived locally popped in and then word began to spread and folk came from a wider area or stopped off when on holiday or en route deeper into Devon and Cornwall.
The family always held onto their dream of one day having a permanent home for their ice creams, for making something more of it. In 2018 that dream was realised when the summer house was replaced by a purpose built restaurant with soaring oak trusses and huge glass walls that took full advantage of those glorious views. And there they are, happy as larks, making gelato ice cream in small batches using natural ingredients and putting love and passion into each one. It’s an art they’ve perfected – they were so dedicated they even travelled to Italy and took gelato making master classes!
The result is nothing short of pure indulgence; the smoothest, creamiest gelato ice cream that’s absolutely full of flavour. Definitely something to savour, not to be wolfed down and forgotten about. No wonder it’s won so many awards! In true farming style they work with the seasons so flavours change regularly. Favourites include vanilla, honeycomb, strawberry & balsamic vinegar, lemon curd, salted caramel with chocolate brownie, banana & peanut butter, lemon & lime meringue and something you don’t find very often, seabuckthorn. Tasting is believing; there’s ice cream and there’s Otter Valley gelato ice cream. Try this and you’ll appreciate the difference.
The Field Kitchen follows the same principles of starting from scratch using the best quality ingredients sourced as locally as possible; things that are raised or grown in the fields nearby, or produced by specialist artisans. Eggs come from a farm just a mile away, sausages are from the local butchers, bread from the local bakery. Nothing is mass produced, they keep it real, they keep it simple – even the hash browns are handmade on site! You’ll get them in the breakfasts they serve each day, along with bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, sausages and toast – the works in other words, or if you prefer you can have Eggs Royale or Eggs Benedict. Go at lunchtime and tuck into wood fired sourdough pizzas, freshly cut sandwiches, homemade soups, locally grown salads, hummus boxes, sausage rolls, cheese scones, cream teas and scrumptious cake with tea or coffee.
They’re just as inventive with the pizza toppings as they are with the ice creams; try the Blackdowns (cheese, tomato, mushrooms, feta, garlic butter, green herb dressing, rocket), Far East Devon (spiced lamb, pickled pink onions, feta, green herb dressing, harissa yoghurt), or Dumpdon Hill (cheese, tomato, beetroot, goats cheese, caramelised red onion, honey, rocket). Dumpdon Hill? That’s the hill you can see from Otter Valley Ice Cream & Field Kitchen. Sit inside where it’s all light and airy or outside in the sunshine surrounded by the lush greenery of the Devon countryside.
Otter Valley Ice Cream & Field Kitchen is open 7 days a week from 9.00am - 5.00pm. Dogs are welcome outdoors.