Gone are the days when vegetarian options on a menu were an after thought -– when non-meat eating dining meant limp lettuce and floppy tofu.
Today’s foodie chefs are embracing vegetarianism and many cafes are doing a roaring trade, dedicated to hearty herbivore food.
One such place is the exquisitely located Caudwell’s Country Parlour Cafe.
Tucked away in the village of Rowsley is the unique, Grade II listed flour mill which has stood on the site for over 400 years.
The mill complex is also home to a shop selling freshly milled flour, workshops including glass blowing and a blacksmiths, a craft shop and cafe serving fresh, home cooked food.
Established in 1987, the building was constructed using wood from an old Scottish corn mill and the seating, tables and counter came from a local church. The floor started life in a Derbyshire cellar, completing the beautiful and evocative interior.
Everything, even the bread, is cooked in the busy kitchen by creative cooks committed to fresh, and wherever possible, fair trade produce.
I choose pear and stilton quiche and my fellow diner had bean burgers with chilli jam.
Both were served on plates overflowing with tasty and colourful salads made up of lettuce leafs, fruit, couscous and beans.
My pie was brimming with rich, melted stilton and deliciously soft pears. The pastry was light and the whole combination scored top marks.
The bean burgers were crispy and full of flavour, complemented nicely by the spicy chilli jam.
With just enough room for something sweet we selected fresh fruit gateau and lemon drizzle cake from an extensive array of tempting looking treats. Although both portions were generous they were quickly polished off and washed down with elderflower cordial.
Overall a lovely lunch in a relaxed atmosphere, overlooking the picturesque riverbank.
Rating: Four stars