Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Eden Project

It's been a long time since I have eaten out in the evening! I have to admit this is mainly down to a certain 18 month old little one who is very clingy due to his poorly start in life. However, as everyone reading this will know eating out dairy and gluten free is no easy challenge.
Just before Christmas my hubby announced that we had been chosen to receive free tickets for the Stargazing Live event at the Eden Project. I was delighted but my delight soon turned to trepidation and then to terror when thinking about the logistics of completing our trip.
Firstly, our little one hasn't stayed with grandparents or other people for many reasons. I am keen to progress from this separation anxiety dominated situation and quickly phoned my mum. She happily agreed to travel down to look after him for the evening just so we could get out.
Secondly, was the prospect of dinner. The Eden Project was offering a two course meal for just £15 per person from a set menu of 3 mains and 3 desserts. My mouth watered at the prospect of these unobtainable delights. I decided that as our visit in August had been a great success (albeit with no expectation and a packed lunch) I would use this as a test for the poor unsuspecting Eden Project and challenge them with a dairy free and gluten free customer.
I rang a couple of days before to check availability and was greeted by a polite and cheerful man who confirmed there were still places available. When I asked if they could cater for a gluten and dairy free meal he immediately and positively replied that this would be no problem at all and he would just contact the chef. The thought did cross my mind that he had no idea what this would entail and would come back to me with the common response of "I'm sorry but we don't have the facilities for those requests here" or "we cannot guarantee that your meal will be gluten and dairy free" or even the dreaded "we can offer you a jacket potato with baked beans"!
I had to eat my words when he returned my call and asked whether I would like an adapted version of the menu choices. I was astounded.
We travelled down to Cornwall (we only live in Devon!) and took our seats in the restaurant area over looking the great Biomes. The waitress came over and took my husbands order as the concierge already knew what I had pre-ordered. Aside from the bread and butter brought over for my husband while we were waiting, the meal could not have been better. My main course was confit of Cornish lamb shoulder served on a rich bean cassoulet. Perfect for a chilly evening stargazing it was warming, filling and truly melt in your mouth delicious. I was not expecting to enjoy it so much or to be so determined to finish the generous plateful. Honestly, I did not need a dessert but after all the effort the staff had gone to I was not going to turn it down. While hubby had a chocolate and hazelnut torte (I will make a dairy and gluten free version at home one day) I was served baked winter fruits en papillote. The mixture of pear, apple, pineapple and plum was pooled in sweetened juices and smelt fabulous. I couldn't eat it all but made sure that I made my best effort.

With a full and satisfied feeling we made our way down to the Stargazing event in the main part of the Eden Project. This is a place I could spend a lot of time. The two biomes are complimented by an educational facility called the core and a number of smaller attractions.We spent many hours wandering around and learning.  The talks for the evening were given in the Mediterranean Biome where I could sit and observe for hours without moving a muscle. Luckily for me the restaurant area in the link building between the biomes serves soya milk for any of its hot drinks. Passing on the hot chocolate, which sadly contained milk powder (but at least the staff knew without having to ask in a panic), I settled for a soya cappuccino and snacked on my favourite marshmallows!

The Eden Project offer a gluten free option as standard on most of their menus. The ice cream parlour has a dairy free sorbet and the shop also sells Montezuma's fabulous range of chocolates of which some are vegan and all are gluten free.

In conclusion I cannot wait to go back to the Eden Project again. They gave me a fantastic evening full of new experiences and enjoyment. I cannot recommend them highly enough.


  1. Sounds like an awesome evening, fantastic that they were able to cater to you, big thumbs up from me :)

  2. Yep me too, if you ae ever down this way they are well worth a visit, they even do holidays :)