Always a harbourside highlight here at VU Guide, this year the Bristol leg of the Foodies Festival also had a surprise weekend addition – the sun! Bathing the proceedings in glorious sunshine and no doubt helping to fill the venue with smiling faces from beginning to end. Sticking with the successful formula of Food and Drink Masterclasses, Pop-up restaurants, Live Music and enough stalls new and old to keep even the pickiest of food lovers cupboards stocked until next year.
Arriving on Friday afternoon and immediately signing up for two wine master classes with Charles Metcalf – The wines of Bordeaux and Centre Loire wine sampling, we did a speedy circuit before making our way to the tent. It was a little balmy but we soon forgot such things as we were taken on a wine journey with Charles who is as charming and funny as he is knowledgeable. Both sessions were fantastic, if your visiting any of the foodies festivals I cannot recommend highly enough signing up for at least one session, we have done so every year and they just keep getting better, be aware though they do get booked up quickly.
As we left the tent drunk with knowledge, food was the next order of the day, from the pop-up restaurants we all choose a delicious chicken tagine, this was the perfect choice to mop up our knowledge, with the lightest fluffiest cous cous I have ever tried. I then made a bee-line for some much needed ice cream! Treating myself to a tub of Coconut Joe Delucci’s Gelato, cool smooth and delicious, my only regret being I couldn’t drive the van home and sample all the tempting flavours at my leisure.
Unfortunately we had to leave but with still so much to see and do we vowed to return on Sunday afternoon to pickup where we left off and return we did. With some serious shopping / tasting game faces on. After a quick browse at the top end of the end of the market, filling our bag with the sweetest cherries and nectarines we managed to get some tickets for the beer tastings and tutoring with Melissa Cole, having met the fabulous Melissa on Friday night we knew we were in for a treat, 4 out of the 5 beers we tried were winners for me and our top two, the St Austell bottled lager Korev, the traditional Cornish word for beer and no favouritism intended but the Siberia brewed by the Ilkey Brewery in collaboration with Melissa Cole were fantastic, a great session again full of charm, humour and vast knowledge on a fascinating subject. made accessible to all by Melissa’s delivery and enthusiasm.
Walking out into the sunshine we all fell instantly in love with the Halo cool touch BBQ’s (www.haloproduct.com) beautifully designed and extremely functional I can imagine they were flying out of the festival all weekend. The Ginger Grouse alcoholic ginger samples were well timed, super refreshing and perfect for an afternoon amble round the stalls, so good I brought two bottles and got a free hat – I wasn’t the only one!
With the tagline Cheese that makes you Grin, which sounded like a challenge to me The Cheshire Cheese company was a winner (www.cheshirecheesecompany.co.uk). After much grinning and sampling we ended up with a strange mix of Jamaican Jerk Spicy as we like it hot, the best selling for obvious reasons Caramelised Onion & Rioja Cheddar and the marmite-esque Sticky Toffee Heaven Cheddar which tasted like an amazing cheese cake. We cannot wait to get this little lot out after our next dinner party!
Another edition to our shopping bag was the two bottles of rapeseed oil from Stainswick farm (www.stainswickfarm.co.uk) treating ourselves to both white truffle and fiery naga chilli oil, again cannot wait to get cooking, they are so good both will be fab with some fresh pasta and not a lot else. My big treat for the weekend was a new knife a 5.5″ Santoku Knife by Hammer Stahl from Flint and Flame (www.flintandflame.com) a knife of much greatness which has already been put to good use making coleslaw to go with our Posh Pork pies from the (www.theposhporkpiecompany.co.uk). Building up some strength for the stroll home we can never resist the delights of El Gaucho, fantastic meat and addictive chimichurri sauce washed down with elderflower and sparkling cider cocktails and we were done!
The foodies festival this year again surpassed all expectations and we are already counting down the months until next year’s event. Many, many thanks to all involved with making the weekend such a massively enjoyable success.
Foodies Festival in pictures
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