ED up with turkey sandwiches already and feeling particularly sweet-toothed, having indulged in so many seasonal treats this week, I decided to sample what Barnstaple has on offer in the way of alternative lunches. Whether you're getting ready to embark on a new year health kick, or feeling a little less virtuous, be consoled there are plenty of tasty options just off the High Street.
Our first stop was to Smooth Milkshake and Yoghurt Bar on Joy Street. As a long-term ice-cream lover and having never tried frozen yoghurt before, I have to admit I was sceptical. However, being beautifully smooth and light, the yoghurt leaves the sweetness to the toppings, which are available in abundance. I chose marshmallows and Smarties to top off mine, but there are also fresh fruit options.
I was warned the Fizzy Bubblegum Bottle Milkshake was addictive, and I can see why, as it's bursting with the flavour of all those "only once in a while" sweets from when I was little.
With fresh fruit juices and smoothies alongside sweet and chocolate bar shakes, Smooth is also the place to head for if you're hoping for a healthier 2013. The Power Lunch Smoothie caught my eye, with fruit, honey, muesli, frozen yoghurt and skimmed milk making it a sinless meal in a takeaway cup. If you're in need of an extra healthy boost after the party season, you can even have a wheatgrass shot or add any Boost 'n' Blend to your smoothie. I particularly liked the look of the Bug Buster Boost for January.
Next stop was Lindsey's Cake and Dessert Shop on Boutport Street, and after deciding it really is justifiable to have cake for lunch the next step was choosing what to have from Lindsey's counter. With everything from gingerbread men to crème brûlée as well as sausage rolls and pasties, the counter looked like an edible work of art.
I chose the beautifully light scone with jam and fresh cream, which being big enough to rival a sandwich, I must admit, at first I wasn't sure how to tackle the task of eating it. The lime cheesecake was also perfect, with a thin biscuit base and a generous slab of cream cheese, refreshing with a zingy lime kick.
In fact, these cheesecakes have become so popular that you can now pick up mini pots of the chocolate, lemon, lime, caramel and raspberry and white chocolate flavours in local shops.
As well as this, Lindsey and her team make personalised celebration cakes to order, and sell family sized portions of the individual slices on display. For those in Bideford, there's also a Lindsey's Cake and Dessert Shop on Mill Street.
Just a few steps down the road was my final tasting destination, The Waffle and Panini Café, a perfect stop-off after the panto or a spot of sale shopping. I couldn't resist a Belgian chocolate waffle. Although I can't vouch for the chocolate's Belgian origin, the sickly sweet flavour actually went quite well with the soft, doughy waffle topped off with a dusting of icing sugar. For a slightly less sickly option you can also have jam, fruit, honey, whipped and clotted cream as toppings. The café on Boutport Street also takes outside orders, making waffles a great idea for parties or even a Friday lunchtime office treat.
If, unlike me, you've completely had enough of sweet things over the festive period, you might want to try out The Waffle and Panini Café's all-you-can-eat salad bar, one of their jacket potatoes or hot paninis.
Full up, and slightly high on sugar, I left rest assured there are plenty of alternatives to sandwiches in Barnstaple. Whether you're on a tight lunch break or have more time to spare, Smooth Milkshake and Frozen Yoghurt Bar, Lindsey's Cake and Dessert Shop and The Waffle and Panini Café have just what you need to fight the food blues way into January.