Planning your trip to Torbay

Plan your trip to Torbay in advance and pencil in some of these fantastic recommendations to make your trip to the coast a vacation to remember:

Riviera Lane

Go for a stroll along Riviera Lane. Just a small part of the 630 mile Southwest Coastal Path, the stunning coastline makes for a beautiful summer walk and the scent of the purple heather turns it into an experience you’ll never forget.

Paignton Zoo

Head a little further out to see over 2000 animals at Paignton Zoo. A fun-filled day out for the whole family, you’ll come across everything from baboons and giant tortoises to boa constrictors and flamingos. You can even book in for an animal experience and get up close and personal with meerkats, giraffes and rhinos.

Little Theatre

Visit the Little Theatre to experience the best theatrical drama that Torbay has to offer. Based in a converted church, this intimate venue has a retro bar and red velvet chairs. Catch classics, comedies and thrillers with the whole family in tow as you enjoy the old school atmosphere.

Ferry Boat

Want to head further out to Brixham and Paignton? Take a ferry service across the bay and relax as you watch the world go by for the 30-minute journey. Private charters are available too for celebrations like weddings and birthdays!

You can also take a ferry trip to Dartmouth, and if you get lucky, you may spot dolphins and other sea life on the way!

English Riviera Wheel

See the sights of Torbay from up high by taking a ride on the English Riviera Wheel.Witness the spectacular views from the centre of the famous Pavillion Gardens in the 360 degree view gondolas. Then finally, head back to the Osborne Hotel for a spot of lunch at Langtry’s or visit the Terrace bar & grill to see the panoramic views across the bay.

Advertisements

How to make the perfect Black Forest Gateau – Interview with Head Chef Kevin Robertson Wells

A Seventies classic, the Black Forest Gateau is a layered dessert rich with chocolate, cherries and cream. With a contemporary twist on this classic cake, Head Chef Kevin Robertson-Wells divulges his secret to making the perfect Black Forest Gateau.

Tips on:

The ‘make or break’ ingredients

Invest in high quality chocolate, Griottine cherries soaked in Kirsch and make your own cherry coulis to create a truly luxurious gateau.

Getting the perfect layers

Getting the perfect layers is important for three reasons. Firstly, the layered construction of the gateau ensures it stands up on its own and can carry the weight of the ingredients set between each round of cake. Secondly, the layering process creates the different level of flavours that result in a delicious and balanced mouthful with every bite. And thirdly, the layers create that WOW factor when you cut into the finished gateau, revealing the decadent strata of chocolate, cherry and mousse in each delicious slice.

The layers (bottom to top):

  • Dark chocolate sponge soaked in kirsch
  • White chocolate mousse
  • Griottine cherries
  • Chocolate sponge
  • Cherry jelly
  • Dark chocolate mousse
  • Chocolate spray
  • Topped with false cherries

The best type of chocolate to use

I highly recommend Callebaut (73% cocoa solids) dark chocolate. This is a chocolate that I’ve used for a long time as a chef because it works really well in a mousse – it lends a Black Forest Gateau the perfect amount of dark chocolate bitterness to offset the sweetness of the filling. I also use Callebaut white chocolate and the sweetness of this too is a great combination with the richness of the dark chocolate.

Using the right kirsch

We use the Kirsch Pur d’Alsace from France because of its high potency and 45% alcohol.  It has the smell and instant taste of kirsch which is classic in any black forest gateau.

Glazed or fresh cherries

I never use glazed cherries because they’re too sweet and the cherry flavour can get lost alongside the dark chocolate. Instead I use (1) fresh cherries to make a coulis for the jelly and (2) Griottine cherries matured in kirsch.

The hardest part

The hardest part of the gateau is the layering. We have to make sure each of the six layers is even and fits perfectly into the mould so that it looks impeccable when served. The layering is also crucial in getting the right balance of flavours for the best taste – layers with perfect symmetry result in a cake that not only looks attractive but tastes perfect; you get the heavenly combination of rich chocolate, sour cherries and fragrant kirsch in every bite.

Key things to avoid

Two key things to avoid are to not make the mousse too thick or the jelly too hard. This can offset the texture and moisture levels of the final cake. It takes two days to make this gateau but, judging on the great comments we get, it’s definitely time well spent!

Decoration – the final touches

Our original gateau was garnished with chocolate shards but our new and improved version includes something extra special: we top it with edible false cherries to create an impressive garnish! Although these cherries take a day to make they are truly worth the time and effort. Here’s how we do it:

  • First we make a cherry coulis and freeze it
  • Then we prep a cherry jelly, which is made with fresh cherry juice
  • Frozen balls of coulis are then dipped into the ‘cherry jelly’ and shaped into the form of a cherry
  • The stalk is made from a dried vanilla pod and the final touches are tiny hand-picked mint leafs

For the ultimate finish we serve the gateau with chocolate sauce and a delicate kirsch ice cream. But even when freshly sliced and served on its own, our glamorous gateau is truly a winning dessert – each of the flavoursome layers boast an intense flavour and a delicate texture that oozes decadence and indulgence.

Reserve a table at our restaurant, Langtry’s – click here.

How to host a successful meeting

With a venue to arrange, transport to be considered and lots of people to memo and manage, hosting a meeting can be tricky. Here are our tips on what to consider:

 

Location

Is the venue easy to reach? Situated a stone’s throw away from Meadfoot Beach, The Osborne Hotel boasts a superb central location (with excellent transport links) that’s both easy to find and stunningly beautiful.

Size of meeting room

Opt for a space that matches the character of the meeting, for example a small room with conference style seating is perfect for business events where as a buffet function might be better for larger numbers because it can accommodate more people. At the Osborne we offer private dining, spaces for large sit down meals (at both Langtry’s and the Brasserie), board room options for smaller groups and theatre style meetings at the oak panelled library.

Equipment

Arrange for audio visual equipment beforehand so you don’t waste time setting things up for business meetings. On site equipment is ideal because you won’t have to bring anything along with you and you can get started as soon as you arrive.

Refreshments

Tea and coffee is a must at any meeting but you might want to offer guests a meal or light lunch. We offer delegate rates for full and half days that include room hire and food.

Overnight accommodation?

You’ll need to arrange a residential stay for your guests if your meeting is expected to run over a couple of days.  Package deals at The Osborne include breakfast, dinner and luxury accommodation as well as use of the hotel’s leisure facilities.

 

Click here to view our meeting pack, which includes info on all of our meeting rooms and facilities.  Why not book now to benefit from our exclusive seasonal deals? Call us for the details on 01803 213 311 today.

5 Hidden Gems of Torquay

Torquay is famous for being a beautiful coastal town. If you’re planning on making a visit, here are our top five recommendations on the best sightseeing attractions in the area:

Meadfoot Beach

Just a stone’s throw away from the hotel are the stunning sights of Meadfoot Beach. The picturesque pebbly beachfront is perfect for families and makes the ideal spot for a stroll or a sunbath. Enjoy the rock pools, build a sandcastle or simply enjoy the undisturbed peace and quiet with an ice cream.

Kents Cavern

Visit the prehistoric Kents Cavern for a touch of history. See the spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations, walk along the outdoor trail or let the kids get hands-on in the archaeological dig area. Find it a mile away from Torquay harbour.

Cockington Court

Go for a day out at historic manor house Cockington Court. Set in a beautiful country park, the stunning property is home to a selection of gardens, tea rooms and craft studios that feature the work of glass blowers, blacksmiths and even a chocolatier. There are also food festivals throughout the summer, boasting delicious handmade products from local farmers.

Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium

Torquay’s Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium is situated on the sea front and is the perfect place to see otters, penguins, jellyfish, birds and other sea animals. Open every day from 10am, Coastal Zoo features an array of sights and sounds that will keep both kids and parents entertained.

Babbacombe Model Village

See the miniature world of Babbacombe Village! There’s so much to enjoy and the kids will adore getting to see everything from a mini castle and hot air balloon to a train and seaport.

Osborne Hotel offers the perfect place to stay on your visit to Torquay. Enjoy 4* accommodation and an unrivaled location, with spectacular views across the beautifully landscaped gardens stretching down to the picturesque Meadfoot Beach.

For more information, visit our website – www.osborne-torquay.co.uk

History of the Regency Crescent at Meadfoot

The Osborne hotel is set in the centre of an elegant Regency style crescent that was built in 1848. Commissioned by Sir Lawrence Palk, the handsome Grade II listed building, now known as Hesketh Crescent, took two years to construct and created 15 private terraced houses overlooking the stunning sea views of Meadfoot Beach in Torquay.

The construction of the opulent 4-storey homes, designed by the Harvey brothers, was triggered by the expansion of the railway, which was predicted to bring an influx of visitors and tourists to the area. Indeed many people were attracted to the stunning location not just because of its accessibility but because of the mildness of its winters, the health-giving properties of the air and the unspoilt beauty of the scenery. The Crescent was leased to the architects from the outset, paying £1,000 for each house leased for 99 years and £6 per annum ground rent.

The rich and famous came to live at Hesketh Crescent because of its growing reputation as ‘the Rivera of England’ – it was a relaxing spa town and a suitable place to convalesce. Charles Darwin lived at number 2 when he began writing his famous book on evolutionary theory ‘On the Origin of Species’ and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel spent his summers holidaying there. Philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts rented 1 Hesketh Crescent for twenty years and William Kitson, known as ‘the maker of Torquay’ worked tirelessly to transform the area into what the Western Morning News described as the “most opulent, the handsomest, and the most fashionable watering place in the British Isles”.

Hesketh Crescent’s central house, situated at number 8, became the Osborne hotel in 1853. Later the hotel was expanded to occupy the five houses it consists of today and by the late 1920s the building had incorporated electric lighting, gas fires and lifts to all floors. Guests enjoyed tennis lawns and secluded sea bathing and by 1958 rooms with private bathrooms and toilets became available too. Today the Osborne is a 32-bedroom hotel that allows visitors to experience the spectacular views and historic beauty of South Devon in opulent surroundings.

The Crescent has since been converted into a number of luxury timeshare apartments alongside the classically-styled hotel. The stately building and the trees that surround it fall under a Grade II listed preservation order to ensure the spa resort retains its historic character and beautiful design.