What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Good Food Hunting: At Blenheim International Horse Trials

September 11, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

While everyone set their sites to Burghley last week, I set my sites to Blenheim. Quite possibly because I got to go last year, and partly because I feel it’s the underdog of England’s events happening in September. While not as prestigious in terms of rankings, it still has a lot to boast of in terms of competitive spirit, entertainment, heritage….and food. Oh, the magnificent food.

While I could talk endlessly about the food had at the event itself, I would actually like to share with you some key gems you might be missing in your attempt to avoid traffic on the way back to the hostel. At so many horse shows, we always seem in a rush to get out of the immediate area- let it not be so!

First up on the list is Blenheim Palace itself. While you have to pay to get into the grounds, £13-22.00, it’s absolutely worth it. Not only do you get to stroll the grounds and take tours of this magnificent residence, you also get to eat your way through Blenheim Palace. They hydration they have is also most excellent.

Bangers and mash at The Pleasure Gardens Deli at Blenheim Palace. English beef and ale bangers with caramelized onion mash.

Bangers and mash at The Pleasure Gardens Deli at Blenheim Palace. English beef and ale bangers with caramelized onion mash.

Roast British Beef and Horseradish Potato Chips found at The Pleasure Gardens Deli at Blenheim Palace. If anyone wants to pick me up some I would be forever grateful!!!!

Roast British Beef and Horseradish Potato Chips found at The Pleasure Gardens Deli at Blenheim Palace. If anyone wants to pick me up some I would be forever grateful, these were amazing!!!

Blenheim Palace has their own springs and with it comes some of the best water (in the world as far as I'm concerned). Grab some at The Oxfordshire Pantry at Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim Palace has their own springs and with it comes some of the best water (in the world as far as I’m concerned). Grab some at The Oxfordshire Pantry at Blenheim Palace.

Also at The Oxfordshire Pantry at Blenheim Palace is Samulesons of Witney Lemonade made from Blenheim Palace Sparkling Water, yummy!

Also at The Oxfordshire Pantry at Blenheim Palace is Samulesons of Witney Lemonade made from Blenheim Palace Sparkling Water, yummy!

Speaking of Blenheim Palace Sparkling Water, the story is quite unique and worth sharing. Blenheim Palace Natural Mineral Water is part of a centuries-old tradition which began in the twelfth century when Henry II built a pleasure pool for his mistress, Rosamund Clifford, at Blenheim Palace. The pool was fed by an ancient spring which, legend maintains has never dried. Rosamund’s Well can be seen to this day and the water has been highly valued ever since. When demand for Blenheim Palace Natural Mineral Water outstripped supply in recent years, a further source was found in the Park and a bottling plant was established. It is from here that this prestigious and delicious drink now springs.

As if walking the grounds and the event itself wasn’t enough- you could then take a stroll out the Woodstock gate (which closes at 6:30pm) to the town of Woodstock, Oxfordshire. We experienced fine dining at The King’s Arms, had Indian food at Jaan Indian Cuisine (not pictured- too dark), and dessert and drinks at the Star Inn. I learned that eating earlier had it’s perks, followed by a quick rest and jaunting the evening away in the local pubs. For breakfast, my favorite items came from the French market that appeared in town for the weekend we were there. It included so many wonderful treats, but more importantly it was the freshly baked croissants and goodies they had every morning that did me in.

Inside the King’s Arms Restuarant.

Inside the King’s Arms Restuarant.

Duck leg confit with samphire grass and roasted potatoes courtesy of the King’s Arms Restaurant.

Duck leg confit with samphire grass and roasted potatoes courtesy of the King’s Arms Restaurant.

Local brews and an amazing warm brownie courtesy of the Star Inn!

Local brews and an amazing warm brownie courtesy of the Star Inn!

My favorite vendor at the French market in Woodstock who had the absolute best French croissants, and chocolate ones at that!

My favorite vendor at the French market in Woodstock who had the absolute best French croissants, and chocolate ones at that!

To view the full recap of photographs relating to Woodstock, food and the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, view my photo albums.

This is only a mere sampling of the great food to be had in Woodstock due to my own time limitations whilst there. I’m sure there are many more choices I didn’t get a chance to enjoy and talk about. The important take away lesson is getting out and sampling the local cuisine no matter where you end up, using this post and upcoming ones as guides on where to go based on what you’re in the mood for. I do welcome any additional suggestions you may have as maybe I can get back to the UK and share my adventures at a later date.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.