From what I have heard, we hobbits have acquired quite the reputation for
being fond of our food and drink. Well, I decided to see if the inns and
taverns of the Shire live up to our high expectations in their fare, and so
I embarked on a trip of culinary exploration.
For beer you can't beat the Green Dragon Inn at Bywater, although the Golden
Perch, down in Stock, gives it a good run for its money! What I most enjoyed
at the Perch though was its poached trout, which they serve with a selection
of steamed vegetables, and fresh bread. The only place in the Shire where
the fish is fresher is up at Dwaling, at the Waterside Inn; the bread they
serve with it there is superb as well - I think they must buy it from the
bakery next door. Some of the best baked goods in the entire region are
without a doubt sold at the Dwaling bakery - I think they pick the berries
for their wonderful tarts from the Hills of Scary. Mind you, the Seven Stars
Inn, over at Greenholm has nice pastries as well, if you are willing to
journey so far west.
I hate to speak ill of any of the proprietors of our fine inns, but I have
to say that the Floating Log Inn at Frogmorton disappointed me. Its choice
of drinks is very limited, and the only food they serve is a rather lack-
lustre selection of pastries.
On the other hand, even though the choice of fare at the Tipsy Cat Inn, at
Woodhall is rather limited, the simple food is well-prepared, and they also
stock a very nice imported wine, although you must buy this by the barrel.
They also sell a fine Eastfarthing ale - perhaps it was this very inn that
the Man in the Moon stayed up too late to visit ;)
They have recently expanded their menu at the Ivy Bush Inn on the Bywater
Road, just outside Hobbiton. In addition to their cold cuts, fruit, tasty
pies, and their hearty stew, which they have been serving for years, they
now also offer a delicious chicken and chestnut pie. Served in individual
pie dishes, it has a thick flaky pastry crust, and big chunks of meat and
thick slices of chestnut, swimming in piping hot gravy.
But even Hobbiton's finest fare falls into second place behind that of the
River Inn at Rushey. It seems that they have entered into an agreement with
old Farmer Maggot, and now can sell the finest mushrooms in the Shire, baked
to perfection and served with a knob of herbed butter and a generous chunk
of fresh home-made bread - they truly are delicious!