Having just arrived home from the Nottingham Food Festival held at Wollaton Park this weekend, I couldn’t wait to get back and blog about it. It started off a little bit cloudy, but by 2 PM the sun was blazing and we had a fantastic day.
Living heritage, the guys who organise the Northampton and Sandringham food festival, scour the country for the best entertainment and food stands, producers and retailers imaginable.
As well as cookery demonstrations from Celebrity chefs Marco Pierre White and Brian Turner, they also had a roadshow area showcasing some of the best talent from in and around the East Midlands including Annie Spaziano, from the renowned Annie’s burger shack in Nottingham, and Johnny Pusztai – Nottinghamshires best butcher.
There was lots to keep the family entertained.
There was also a chainsaw carving competition which was really fun to watch, and it’s absolutely incredible how from a piece of wood, people can carve owls, teddy bears and other amazing delights within half an hour.
‘Make and Take’ stalls were set up where you could make a range of crafts and gifts, keeping the kids (and me) entertained for ages. My housemate and I decided to try our hand at a bit of wood burning, making these cute plaques for each other.
Live music was on throughout the day, and I thoroughly enjoyed the soft folk, acoustic voice of Ellie Keegan. I really hope she is going to record and release her own music in the near future, but her covers were absolutely fantastic. She flawlessly covered artists such as Kings of Leon, Train, The Lumineers, Ed Sheeran, Ben E King and the Goo Goo Dolls, and did an impressive mash up of popular songs which included Teenage Dirtbag, American Pie, Time after Time, Don’t you want Me and Pretty Young Thing. She has an incredible voice and I hope to hear more from her very soon.
My picks of the retailers:
First of all HAS to be Charlie and Ivy’s. I wrote a piece recently about this brand when I met them for the first time at the BBC good food show. I was kicking myself all the way home from Birmingham in the car for only buying three of their six bread dipping oils. So as soon as I saw their stall here I had to buy them. The Cumin, chilli and coriander seed dipping oil is absolutely fantastic, with loads of coriander seed. The rosemary thyme and lemon with red wine vinegar is a definite winner for me and you can really taste the lemon. Last but not least is the garlic oregano and balsamic which would be perfect with an olive focaccia. I also bought this seriously scrumptious lemon and poppy seed dressing.
Next up is the UFO, ultimate fudge outlet. They have some amazing fudge – from chocolate and mint, chocolate and peanut butter, vanilla marshmallow to rocky road. I bought a few pounds worth of the caramel Honeycomb and had devoured most of it before I got home.
The Giggly Pig company, from Romford in Essex had some amazing samples. My favourite was the pork & leek, and I came back with 12 sausages even though I have about a million in my freezer. They also have an Italian olive and herb that I loved along with a gorgeous hickory smoked sausage. They actually come in 75 flavours so there is a lot of choice. Their pigs are raised from birth at their own Piggery in Essex, and are outdoor reared, free range, rare bred saddlebacks. The sausages apparently contain 0% fat, all fat is removed to make them even more delicious.
Rose cottage liqueurs are based in Liverpool and their rhubarb gin is sublime. It tastes like the rhubarb and custard sweets you get as a kid. I could easily drink this neat. I also bought their elderflower gin, which has a stronger alcohol taste but is equally delicious. I can’t find anything online unfortunately!
Another producer I was ecstatic to see again is Pig in the Middle. Their sausage rolls are incredible. The barbecue pork, and sweet chilli pork are my favourite and at four for a tenner you can’t go wrong. They are huge and so full of flavour. I was buying some to freeze, but I’ve already eaten three of the eight.
The Great German Salami Company had lots to offer. Their chorizo, and green pepper salami were my favourites, they had an amazing salami mix offer, where you got nine or 10 of their meats for £10. I was so so tempted but it isn’t going to help with my diet so I unfortunately had to resist.
The Lynm Bank Farm stall went down a storm. Based in Thorpe St. Peter near Skegness these producers create more than 20 different varieties of cheese and chutney. As I’m sure you’re aware I don’t eat cheese, however my housemate did the honours and sampled lots. They produce Lincolnshire Brie, the only Brie made in Lincolnshire. The tomato and basil, mango, apricots chilli and lime, and smoked cheese were highlights.
Bubbles & Punch came to my rescue when I was feeling parched, with a gorgeous pint of Pimms Full of juicy fruit.
Massagical create handmade hand and foot products designed to cleanse, exfoliate, nourish and replenish your skin. First off is the massagical gold, made from cold pressed rapeseed oil infused with elderflower and other healing oils and Himalayan rock salt. It really makes your hands feel clean and as I had been in the garden early morning, my hands needed a little tlc. Then the moisturising cream which contains Shea butter made my hands super soft and smell amazing.
I then met a lovely lady called Linda Hewett. Linda is an expert bread and pasta maker based in Lincolnshire. She is amazing. She was running a stall teaching people the basics in pasta and bread making, and let me and my housemate have a go. It was so much fun, we were covered in flour by the end of it! We have had a pasta maker at the top of a cupboard since we have lived together and neither of us have used it. That is going to change. It was so easy to make and I think with a little bit of practice, and the tips that Linda gave us the pasta maker will never be relegated to the back of the shelf again.Look st my face when I realise how easy it it!Ha
Oil & Vinegar have a huge range of flavoured Oils and vinegars. Colin & Sandie Craig run the franchise in the UK, based in Inverness. These are fantastic for gifts, and have an incredible variety. The oils come in flavours such as orange, white truffle, bell pepper, and garlic. They also do walnut, pumpkin seed and pistachio infused oils. Their balsamic vinegars also comes in a number of flavours including blood orange and fig. They also do a range of fruit vinegars, including strawberry, passion fruit and pomegranate. I came home with the mango pulp vinegar, the passion fruit vinegar, and then Marc de Champagne dressing.
I had a fantastic day at the show, and can’t wait for next year to see who will be exhibiting, and talking up on stage.