A sign at the foot of some stairs near the entrance to Belgrave Hall in Leicester warned that this early 18th century building is one of Britain’s most haunted houses. Another sign nearby stated ‘No Admittance’ – who, I wonder?
Notwithstanding, I walked bravely out into the sunny gardens to savour my first visit to Belgrave Hall and its annual food fair. Sizzling came from the Mirch Masala stand, chased by a delicious smell – a tikka paneer wrap was an inviting prospect but I thought I’d look round first.
Cupcakes seem to be all the rage nowadays, they look pretty but I prefer my cake to come in a slab or wedge. And on that theme stalls were wedged (see what I … never mind) in every available space in the walled gardens, with surprising finds around each corner. The Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and Aldeby Wines Limited in the scullery, Chocanana in the courtyard (chocolate covered, frozen bananas).
Charnwood Chilli Company was appropriately sited near the Herb Garden. I sampled their Chilli Lemon Curd – it had a real comforting kick if you can have such a thing.
Next stop Helsham Chocolates. I like my cake in slabs, ditto chocolate. I sampled then bought a slab of milk chocolate flavoured with cardomom. As I am now a grown up I prefer dark chocolate but that would have masked the fragrant subtlety of cardomom. The ladies of Helsham clearly know what they’re doing, the chocolate was lovely.
And yes, Belgrave Hall is haunted. Whilst musing in the gardens with a skinny latte from Muddy Roots, I looked down and half my chocolate had disappeared. Dark forces clearly at work.