A scorching day, made things challenging for many of the stall holders selling and displaying things including chocolate and cheese. The Bristol Harbourside is an excellent location for this kind of event, as the space can fit lots of stalls.
From those selling food to eat there and then, from Thai street food to the good old burger. To stalls of local and not so local (Bonne Maman) delights. Pinksters Gin, Buckfast Tonic Wine, Bath Cheeses from Park Farm and Stainswick Farm award winning producers of rape seed oil.
I had the pleasure of seeing Martin Blunos and Chris Staines doing cookery demonstrations. The former had a very chatty and natural stage presence, from years of experience. Even including tips for how to keep the temperature of your oven hot when opening the door to put something in. To tips about how to use lesser known ingredients like the previously mentioned Buckfast Tonic Wine (reduced to make a glaze for meat!). The latter is a new chef, Staines has recently opened his own brasserie called Allium, at the Abbey Hotel in Bath, having trained under Michelin starred chefs. Staines had a more humble stage manner, almost boring to watch but still cooked up some interesting flavours (Iberico pork chop served with a pea risotto cooked without the addition of wine or stock).
Along side various other chefs, for the price of entering the foodie festival, you could also watch demonstrations in BBQing, chocolate and cake creation, and take kids along to specialist children’s cookery related entertainment.
The highlight for me was experience Sherry with food tasting by Charles Metcalfe. Metcalfe was animated and extremely knowledgeable. Creating a hazy picture of the Jerez region of Spain and making want to jump on a plane with him and experience the Sherry where it was born. The sherry was served chilled and was perfect considering the heat, and served with tiny examples of possible food matches. An excellent way of promoting such a wonderful drink as something that could substitute a wine when eating. Provided it isn’t drunk in the same sort of quantity of course as most Sherry is between 15 – 18% abv.
There was also a live band, and multiple places to get a drink dotted through the stalls. The atmosphere was excellent. My only complaint was please can there be more stall selling good quality locally produced products, and less stalls selling food to eat there and then. Bristol, Bath and the surrounding areas have so many excellent producers, these kinds of events are excellent celebrations of those people.
Foodies Festival are holding a number of other events throughout the summer, see their website for more information.