Readers of our blog may have noticed that we enjoy attending food and drink events. There are several reasons why. Firstly, there are extraordinary foods which are struggling to attract attention, which you will not find in your local supermarket. Secondly, we are firm believers in buying local produce to support local businesses and economies. Thirdly, we love how these events can stimulate your mind as well as your taste buds. To add to all of that, there are obvious perks of meeting new people, trying new foods and learning a fact or three through cooking demonstrations.
The main downside tends to be the crowds or if the event falls into the commercial trap. The Real Food Festival was all of the pros with none of the cons.
We began our afternoon at 12:30pm by visiting “My Daddy Cooks” father and son duo Nick and Archie Coffer, who were demonstrating their Mexican lasagne and salmon and cream cheese pasta dish. Endearing Archie charmed the audience with his own take on the recipes; ripped tortilla with chocolate and salmon and cream cheese, also with chocolate.
After the demonstration, we ambulated through the aisles grazing and nibbling our way around. We stoped at various workshops one of which was a talk on parmesan and wine from the Douro region in Portugal. Christina Pickard resident wine-expert on the Good Food channel’s “Market Kitchen” was the presenter. Her engaging style and interesting subject matter had the audience enthralled. There was a light hearted competition at the end to win cheese and a recipe book. It was probably unfair of us to have entered given we are wine and food bloggers, but all is fair in food and freebies! We stopped answering the questions eventually and allowed others to have a go.
We have to say there were some amazing independent Food producers. Favourites, which caught are eyes were as follows:
The Cornish Crisp Company for crunchy, non-greasy crisps packed with authentic flavours. The spicy chili would be perfect laden with humus. We were also pleased that the company donate to local charities with every packet bought. Yet another reason why it was an obvious winner.
Naturally, we visited the Bordeaux wine stall and tasted a charming Pomerol 2007 and fruity Merlot 2009. There was no pressure to buy, but an opportunity to enjoy and learn.
Not only do Original Beans produce high quality, premium chocolate, but the founder Philip Kauffman is dedicated and passionate about conservation. We can not wait to get cooking with our chocolate or indulge in a cheeky intensely rich slab or two. A 70g bar is about £4.50, so it is not cheap, but the quality more than compensates.
Street food is en vogue at the moment, and we felt Zayti is on to a winning formula with their middle east meets west sweet and savoury delights. We tried a melt in the mouth Turkish chocolate brownie, which was exquisite. Rich dark chocolate melted into the fruity Turkish delight. We wish them every success, as we will need to have a second helping of the brownie in the future.
Arancini Brothers brought fabulous, crispy coated risotto balls of fun to the festival. They were just about the best “snacks” we have tasted for a while. Move over falafel and enter stage right risotto balls served in a wrap and lathered with home made chili salsa and garlic mayonnaise.
Other than gin, which is a favourite in the Wennie household, St Germain (elderflower liqueur) is hugely popular. If you do not have a bottle for your summer barbecue Champagne aperitif cocktails, you must get one. Delicious. Refreshing. Inspiring.
Out of all the food events we have attended, this was rather good fun and we returned home with sore shoulders from carrying our spoils. We would have probably appreciated the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine from an independent English wine company; perhaps from a sparkling wine bar. Most of the wine stalls were standing only and it would have been good to take a load off for half an hour to soak in the atmosphere. We want to say not to go next year in order to protect one of the downsides we mention above, but then we just won’t be fulfilling our blog’s aim. If you did not make it this year, pencil in this weather-proof food event for next year. Fantastic fun!