As you probably know, I love food festivals. The chance to see firm favourite exhibitors and brand new companies is so appealing to me. The Lincoln castle food festival, run by Great Food & Drink festivals (the same guys that run them at Nottingham Castle and Newstead Abbey) is no different.
It took us two hours, TWO HOURS, to get to Lincoln from Nottingham today. Traffic was shit, it was pouring down and we couldn’t get parked for ages. Thankfully the rain cleared up when we got into the festival but it wasn’t the greatest of starts!
The festival was held in the grounds of Lincoln Castle, and it was a lovely backdrop. This photo was taken as we left. The ones I took on entry are appalling, with grey miserable clouds in the background. This is the first time GF&D have put on a festival at Lincoln Castle and the venue is great. The layout was really good, although a few stalls were tucked aay at the back, with two huge produce tents, food vendors at the entrance and a little bit off to the side. There was also a kids entertainment area towards the back, where a Punch and Judy stage was set up.
John Torode was the highlight of today (Michael Caines is tomorrow) and the demo tent was so packed I couldn’t get a photo from the back!
Here are some of my highlights from the festival:
I couldn’t get close to this stand as it was surrounded 3 deep by customers. Edinburgh Gin is one of my top 3 gin companies. They gins are simply beautiful. Their Rhubarb and Ginger is perfect for summer and the new plum & vanilla is perfect for the winter. You’ll have to make do with a photo of my collection (pretty depleted but will rectify that in a couple of weeks when I head to the shop in Pooley Bridge, Lake District to stock up) but please PLEASE check them out!
Fudged up are a handmade, homemade fudge company from Grantham, Lincolnshire. Phil from fudged up was lovely to chat to and the fudge was melt in the mouth good. Made from Belgian chocolate, it meant that it wasn’t bitter in the slightest and with flavours such as white chocolate lemon meringue and milk chocolate peanut butter, they were well worth the £3 per bag.
Anthony and Kirsty from Long Sutton (right near where I grew up) own a deli and decided to bring a bit of the fens up to Lincoln. What lovely people these two are! We spent ages chatting and finding out more about the company. A few years ago they headed back to Lincolnshire from London and Three Counties Deli was born. They cute their own bacon, make their own sausages and use Great Taste Award winning black pudding from Fruit Pig in Wisbech. They were showcasing their spicy (or not) warm sausage rolls and Eleanor and I shared one. Yummy! No where near as hot as I thought they would be, which is great as I can’t handle the heat! They were also selling their bacon which looked amazing! They have also won the Great Taste Award for both their sausage rolls AND the bacon! Not surprising if today’s were anything to go by. When I’m next visiting the parents I’m going to take them along. They promised me the breakfast was amazing!
The Rolling Scone is ran by lovely ladies Rachel and Hannah. Their macarons are amazing. Unfortunately we got to their stall a little late and they had sold out of a lot of their stock. It’s not surprising really. Beautifully crafted and amazingly flavoured, they were an extremely close match to those I bought in Monaco two weeks ago. The company is based in Lincolnshire so I am hoping to see them again very soon!
Run by a husband and wife team with a couple of friends, this Gin is made in accordance to London Dry Gin and at 46% it packs a punch. The botanicals used include grapefruit and cardamom and it was delicious with tonic water. Definitely one for the gin cabinet!
Harrison and Griffiths Caribbean cakes are divine. A family run business from Nottingham, they create some of the softest, most moist cakes I have ever tasted. Mum and I both love the ginger cake and I bought some to treat her to next weekend when I’m back home. The also make pineapple cake, rum cake and fruit cake. Mmmmmmm
Mr Hugh’s rapeseed oils are lovely and fragrant. They offer infused rapeseed oils such as hazelnut (which reminded me of nutella) garlic and lemon, along with a world tour range including harms masala (my fave) and cumin seed. Really subtle flavours in bright eye catching packaging, a perfect addition to a Christmas hamper!
Oh my god, best pies I’ve ever had. I write about Brockleby’s constantly and always check to see if they are trading at a festival near me. Their Moroccan Lamb pie is hands down my favourite ever pie, however they also make others such as salmon pie and wild beaver pie. If you see them, buy buy buy!!
Granny Mary’s make a range of potted meats, and bloody hell they are great. With flavours such as peri peri and pork, they are sensational. Unfortunately they had sold out of chicken liver pate by the time we got round to the stall, but there was a little taster left and it was gorgeous. We walked away with 3 pots, and at only 87 calories for half a pot of duck and orange pâté perfect for a snack.
These guys from Halstead create a range of gins, whiskeys and rum. I already have their toffee vodka which is beautiful and walked away with a bottle of raspberry liqueur to add to my collection. They are delicious and also give you a generous taster before buying, meaning you can actually work out whether you like it or not before you walk away with a bottle or two.
Jorge artisan foods produce a range of balsamic vinegars, olive oils and ceramics. Their infusions are subtle and tasty as hell, especially the cherry balsamic. For around £8 you can pick up a bottle of their infused oils or vinegars. Well worth it!
Another from fave of mine are these guys, The Giggly Pig co. The pigs are rare breed saddleback pigs, bred on their farm in Essex. Their sausages are available in over 75 flavours, the marmite being my fave by a mile. Definitely try to grab some before they sell out!
Is not seen these guys before, but their banana habanero was amazing. They say ‘Mr Vikki’s is a small bespoke Indian Fusion pickle producer in the beautiful Lake district in Cumbria. Dedicated to using fresh natural ingredients, that contain no wheat or dairy. Many products use specific chillies, and keep very well once opened and unchilled due to the low water content achieved through ancient methods of preserving’
These guys offer a range of gourmet marshmallows with alcohol. They Included a divine elderflower concoction that would be amazing toasted!
Although I don’t eat cheese, I ‘forced’ (read she RAN) Eleanor to try all the offerings. Eleanor loved the ginger cheese. They have so many flavours to choose from and the stall is surrounded by customers at every festival they are at, so it must be good!
Old Vodka are a Hertfordshire based company with a 200 year old recipe! The result is deliciously smooth and comes in a variety of flavours. The tarragon (a little like zambucca) is my favourite. It has that aniseed flavouring without that harsh kick back. The passion fruit is a close second. It also comes in honey, rhubarb, coffee and a whole host of other flavours. Definitely another for the Christmas stocking!
I was also very fortunate to bump into the legend John Torode in the car park as I was leaving. Not one to miss a selfie I asked and he very kindly obliged. I’m am sure that after the demos and meet and greets he just wanted to bugger off home and relax with a cuppa, but he had a quick chat and a couple of photos with me. I really appreciate it, thank you John.
Lincoln food and drink festival is a lovely day out. They have cover in the marquees of it starts to pour down, a good selection of food vendors (although we didn’t try any so can’t recommend) and great produce to try. I hope the rain holds off tomorrow for the second day!