Having sampled and critiqued all the very best food and drink that the
Shire can offer (apart from my old mum's Highday dinners, of course), I
decided to venture further afield and see what a more seasoned traveller
can find in the wide World. I must say that my stay-at-home friends and
relatives are missing out on several treats.
I borrowed a sturdy little pony (fancifully named Princess Mee) from a
friend of mine, and set out westward. After a long journey, during which I
was only able to refresh myself at the Seven Stars in Greenholm and with
the rather plain food served at the small Laughing Elf inn, I found myself
at the fabled gates of the Grey Havens. The fine elven folk welcomed me
into their city, and I even met their leader, Círdan, who treated me most
graciously. As I had not eaten much since breakfast, and the inns were now
all closed for the night, some of the guards took me to their mess hall,
where I shared their supper - some very tasty pies. But over the next
couple of days I was able to investigate the fare on offer at the Seagull
Inn, The Spicy Swordfish Inn and the Lighthouse Pub. What a treat!
The Swordfish has a namesake dish - a plate of delicately herbed, grilled
swordfish, served with vegetables and rice - now that was new to me. After
lunch there, I spent a relaxing afternoon exploring the city, and also
sharing a drink or two with the patrons of the Lighthouse Pub (sadly they
serve no food there at all), which was very cosy. I had intended to take
dinner at the Seagull Inn, but alas - I found that they sell only a few
pastries, so I returned to the Swordfish Inn, where I enjoyed a delicious
plate of roast duck, served with all the trimmings.
Instead of spending the night at the Seagull Inn, I took the ferry (quite
reasonably priced) across the Gulf of Lhûn to Forlond, and stayed instead
at the Fishnet Inn. As I was still feeling a bit peckish, I ordered a plate
of steamed crabs for supper, and I can tell you that it was wonderful!
The next morning I visited the General Store for some provisions, and set
out toward the Dwarven Home, high in the Mountains to the northwest. I had
been advised by the guards in the Grey Havens that it is safer to make this
journey by following the trails from Forlond, for though they are less
travelled than those from Harlond to the Blue Mountains, there tend to be
fewer dangerous wild animals along this route.
Along my way I visited the small home and workshop of an elven vintner. He
is an extremely friendly chap - in fact I was hardly able to tear myself
away, he was so apt to continue talking. But eventually I came away from
the place, though not without having bought a fine bottle of wine.
My experiences in the Dwarven city were less favourable. After my arrival
that evening (the guards at the gate told me I was lucky to be allowed to
enter so late) I began to seek out the inn, which I had been told serves a
tasty dish of roast pork, only to be told that it is located in the under-
city; when I tried to reach this area my way was blocked at Trader's Way,
and I was told quite rudely that no foreigners were welcome to venture
further into the city. And so it was a cold night I spent, camping in a
small park, with only a cold supper to fill my belly. I was happy that I
had brought with me a few of those marvellous elven way-breads, else I
should surely have starved.
After this rather disappointing experience I returned the following day to
the lands of the elves. I tarried there for a few days more, enjoying their
unstinting hospitality (and their wonderful food and drink) then I made my