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Star Anise Arts Café, Stroud

Muddy says: We love this Stroud institution for its great coffee, tasty and nourishing food, and superlatively good vibrations.

A community hub à la Haight Ashbury in its halcyon days, this Stroud eaterie is no ordinary café. Yes, it ticks all the café boxes with aplomb. You’ll find artisan coffee from local specialty roaster Extract, tea from Mr Tea’s Teas in Bristol, locally sourced food inspired by macrobiotic and whole foods cuisine that caters for vegans and the gluten-free (the latter sadly miss out on the incredible sourdough bread that’s baked daily on the premises, but can tuck into many of the refined sugar-free cookies and cakes the staff bake from scratch) and lovely, friendly service.

But it also exudes something else, integrity ­– in the ingredients and in the warm, joyful environment they’re cooked in, which Star Anise believes raises the food to a whole new level of flavour and nourishment. And I’m not arguing! When I visited in the summer (and soaked up the sun in the fab courtyard space), I felt transported to my happy place. And this is probably why it’s always jampacked with smiley people and is the hostess with the mostest for the raft of community events the café welcomes with open arms.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Gloucestershire