Foodies Festival run events across the UK. This summer they’ll be bringing their food and drink show back to London at Marble Hill House near Richmond (May Bank Holiday – Saturday 24, Sunday 25 and Monday 26 May) and Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath (Friday 30 May, Saturday 31st May and Sunday June 1st).

The festival will feature a Chef’s Theatre (where you can attend demos), a new Chocolate, Cake, Bake and Preserves Theatre and an opportunity for kids to learn too in the Children’s Cookery Theatre. There are plenty of places to try and buy food and drink from the producers, including a Chilli Food Market, a new BBQ arena, the Vintage Tea Tent amongst others.

Our friend, the well-known beer expert Melissa Cole will be hosting the Drinks Theatre, where you can taste a selection of beers and ales. There’s also a Real Ale and Cider Farm. And those who prefer cocktails can learn and try concoctions made by the resident mixologists.

As well as buying goodies to take home, you can eat at the festival in the restaurant arena or in the new Feasting Tent, where food will be served at communal feasting tables. Or perhaps a wander down Street Food Avenue for something more casual.

There will be live music to enjoy too.

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Individual images from previous events provided by Foodies Festival

 

COMPETITION

Foodies Festival are offering five pairs of (standard adult) tickets to readers of Kavey Eats. Each winner of a pair of tickets will be asked to specify Kenwood House or Marble Hill House, and their preferred date of attendance. The tickets will be available for collection at the entrance to the festival.

 

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me what you’re most looking forward to at Foodies Festival.

Entry 2 – Facebook
Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter
Follow
@Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win tickets to Marble Hill House or Kenwood House @foodiesfestival from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/ZNlYuX #KaveyEatsFF

(Please do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And you don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 2nd May 2014.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The five winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • There are five prizes, each of which is a pair of standard adult tickets to attend either the Kenwood House or Marble Hill House Foodies Festival 2014, date to be chosen by the winner. The prize does not include delivery; tickets will be available for collection at the entrance to the shows.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Foodies Festival.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kaveyat the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

TICKET OFFER

For those who prefer to buy their tickets now, the code “FOODIES241″ gives you two tickets for the price of one. This applies for adult and concession tickets, is valid for all festivals and expires 26th August 2014.

 

Kavey Eats is attending the Foodies Festival as a guest of Foodies Festival.

The winners for this competition are: Sue Cole, Stokey Sue, Chris Bull, FoodycatAlicia, Alexjttwick.

 

Abergavenny Food Festival is not just about visiting all the fantastic food and drinks stands spread out across the several market areas, though that’s a huge pleasure. A big part of the experience is attending some of the wide range of masterclasses, tutored tastings and food talks on offer during the weekend.

This year, I attended a number of tastings and talks, and wanted to share a little of the experience with you here.

 

Forage Ahead for Christmas by Trine Hahnemann and Liz Knight

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The key message from both Trine and Liz was to make use of the bounty around you for your Christmas gifts and your Christmas table. Some of the recipes they talked us through, and which we tasted, were from Trine’s new book, Scandinavian Christmas. Others were recipes that Liz makes and sells under her Forage Fine Foods brand, one of my favourite finds at last year’s festival.

One new idea for me was in the use of elderberries: whilst I’m familiar with the use of both elderflowers and ripe elderberries, I had never come across the use of unripe green berries pickled and preserved much like capers. This is common in Scandinavia, and a great one to try next year.

When it came to making use of rosehips, the fiddle of removing seeds and the itch-inducing hairs means it’s better to look for the larger ones, like the ones they had brought along to show us. The very next day, my friend Martine and I were quite excited to spot a bush covered in enormous rosehips in a nearby Abergavenny car park.

We talked about pickling blackberries, making rose syrup from petals and preserving cherries.

One of my favourites was a lingonberry preserve. Said Trine, “I made this myself, I really hope you can tell the difference from Ikea!”. Don’t worry, Trine, we could!

 

Veggiestan by Sally Butcher

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Having interacted with Sally on twitter for months, or maybe even years, I was keen to attend her Veggiestan talk and tasting. Sally and her husband Jamshid, also present for the talk, run well-loved London deli Perseopolis, specialising in Persian food and Sally is also the author of the Persia in Peckham cookbook.

For the purpose of sharing her favourite vegetarian ingredients and recipes, Sally presented a range of dishes from the fictitious land of Veggiestan, a way of covering the non-meat cookery of a region stretching from Turkey across the Middle East to Pakistan.

Some of the dishes we really liked, others left us nonplussed but all were interesting and we enjoyed Sally’s passionate presentation.

 

A Taste of Humble by Nature by Kate Humble and Friends

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After Kate Humble and husband Ludo bought a farm in Monmouthshire, they wanted to find a way not only to make a living from it but also to share with others what Kate had learned about rural skills and animal husbandry through some of her recent television series.

They turned to the experts, and now offer courses in food and cookery, rural crafts and working with animals.

For this talk and tasting, Kate introduced us to her charcutier Graham Waddington, Katherine Marland who runs the cookery school and Liz Knight, who teaches foraging and related cooking classes.

We had plenty of fine food to taste, from confit pig’s cheek to crabapple, bramley and fennel jelly to Japanese braised pork belly. It was an interesting session, as each of the three friends shared a number of tips with the audience.

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Making Fine Chocolates Marc Demarquette

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Marc Demarquette is one of my favourite UK chocolatiers, not only because his chocolates are fantastic but also because he’s a lovely man. His commitment to supporting British producers, and small independent suppliers is something he takes very seriously, not like many brands who simply use such a stance as a marketing tool.

In this session, we first did a tasting of 4 different chocolates, whilst Marc reminded us that “it’s very important to know the provenance of the product”. He will not buy cocoa from the ivory coast of ghana but instead invests a lot of time in seeking out ethical cocoa. Those we tried were a 65% Papua New Guinea, Marc’s dark house blend of cocoa from Madagascar, Ecuador and Dominican republic, a milk chocolate from Vietnam and an 80% dark from Uganda.

After the tasting, Marc walked and talked us through how to make his caramel chocolate ganache. Delicious!

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I also attended Memories of Gascony in which Pierre Koffmann talked to Matthew Fort about his life and experiences in the food industry. I’ll be writing about this talk as part of a book review of Pierre’s book of the same name.

 

With thanks to Abergavenny Food Festival for press pass and event tickets.

 

Last year was my first year at Abergavenny Food Festival and I loved it! I had a great time this year too!

Hundreds of food and drink producers spread out in several different areas around the town centre, a packed agenda of talks, tutored tastings and masterclasses to attend and a lot of eating and shopping opportunities!

Two things stand out about Abergavenny compared to other food festivals and, especially, the big food shows.

  • The quality of the food and drinks on offer is excellent. Some shows seem to accept any retailer as long as they’ll pay for a space. Abergavenny invites producers to submit an application, and then invite them to participate only if they feel the quality is excellent. The aim is to showcase local and regional Welsh products first and then products from rest of the UK. And another criteria is to achieve a good mix of categories so there’s a wide range of different items for visitors to discover.
  • This must surely be the friendliest food show in the UK? I’ve made many friends in the industry over the last few years, and all tell me the same thing – they go to Abergavenny first and foremost because it’s such a joyful weekend. Fellow exhibitors are friendly; customers are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and keen to learn more; they enjoy touring the festival too. That happiness on the part of the exhibitors is very evident to visitors too: it’s great to be able to visit stalls and be met by a smile, helpful explanations and courteous service. Even visitors, complete strangers, often get chatting.

This year, I attended a number of talks, tastings and masterclasses, which I’ll be writing about soon.

In the meantime, here are some photos of some of the exhibitors and products I enjoyed this year. (Click to view a larger sized image).

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Pictured: Black Mountains Smokery, Forage Fine Foods, Forest Pig Charcuterie, Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt, Homewood Cheeses, Hook & Son Raw Organic Milk, La Cave a Fromage, Lahloo Tea, Peppers by Post, Riverford Organic, Simply Welsh Cakes, Taste Of Persia, The Dorset Blueberry Company, The Garlic Farm, The Tracklements Company, Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars

 

With thanks to Abergavenny Food Festival for press pass and event tickets.

 

All a bit last minute, but I was asked on Monday whether I’d be willing to host a bloggers breakfast event at this weekend’s Abergavenny Food Festival. Once we agreed it would be an informal event, more of a chat room than a convention, and with no organised material required in advance, I happily agreed.

Rude Health are setting up a marquee in Linda Vista Gardens, from which they’ll be offering breakfasts to early festival visitors. Our Bloggers Chat Room will run there, from 10:00 to 11:00 am.

And the first 20 to sign up by email will receive a free Rude Health breakfast and cup of tea!

As it’s informal, you are welcome to drop in just to meet some other bloggers, and have a social chat. Or we can get some conversations going about issues of interest from dealing with PRs, to issues about writing style, content and length to accepting and disclosing freebies or anything else you are eager to discuss.

Click here for full details.

I went to the festival for the first time last year and wished I’d gone all the years previously when I’d thought about it but not managed to get organised. It was a fabulous weekend and I can’t wait for the weekend.

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Jun 132012
 

Pete and I were recently invited to Dublin by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, to attend Bloom 2012.

A bustling gardening and food show held in Dublin’s enormous Phoenix Park, Bloom is now in its 6th year and we quickly understood why it’s become so popular.

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My biggest criticism of RHS Chelsea, which I attended last year, was that the visitor numbers were so high that it was extremely hard to see anything. The crowds at each show garden were so deep that it routinely took 20 minutes or longer to slowly work one’s way to the front in order to be able to actually see the garden before guilt about the crowd behind resulted in shuffling away again a few moments later.

At Bloom, there were plenty of happy visitors but no unpleasant crowds and we were able to really admire the varied show gardens. These were beautiful and varied from a traditional front garden with a bicycle outside (complete with strawberry plants in the handlebar basket) to the modern white garden room with bubble swing to the unusual small garden with red metal plant sculptures to a wildlife meadow with a purple salmon stream to a modern urban landscape with graffiti tunnel and an eagle made from recycled drinks cans.

Another highlight was the enormous walled kitchen garden with vegetable beds in absolutely immaculate condition, not a weed in sight. Around the edges were displays of vintage gardening equipment. I found the planting and upkeep of this area inspirational.

For those wanting to indulge in some retail therapy, there was a vast selection of relevant stalls, both outdoors and in the large marquee tent, selling everything from seeds and seedlings to ride-on lawnmowers to wrought iron trellises and much more.

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The other side of Bloom was the Bord Bia food village, showcasing the best of Irish produce. Everything from smoked fish to fresh pies and quiches to dried seaweed to artisan cheeses to cakes to packaged snacks to cakes and biscuits to juices and beers… the selection was huge and I enjoyed chatting to many of the stall holders. That’s me, above, with the man from Sam’s Potatoes!

Had the show been nearer home, I’d have purchased a tonne to bring home. As it was, I contented myself with a packet of strawberry, mango and sencha tea from Kingfisher Tea. Can’t wait to break into that!

 

The show also had a number of other attractions for visitors including an entertainments stage featuring an eclectic range of musical acts, a cookery theatre with demonstrations from famous chefs, activities for younger children and a humanitarian and environmental zone where you could learn more about bee keeping, the tree council, bird watching and wildlife.

Bloom was an absolute delight to visit and I’d definitely recommend planning your trip to Dublin to coincide with Bloom in future years.

 

Kavey Eats was a guest of Bord Bia and Bloom In The Park.

Mar 082012
 

Holi is a Hindu festival, also known as the festival of colours, and is celebrated all over India. It is divided into two parts, Holika Dahan and Holi. Scheduled according to the lunar calendar, it is celebrated at the end of the winter, on the last full moon day in the lunar month of Phalguna, which falls in February and March.

This year, Holika Dahan falls on the 8th March and Holi on the 9th.

There are many aspects to the origins of Holi and many different reasons to celebrate it, today

Originally, it was a festival to celebrate the coming of the light and fertility of Spring, after the cold and dark Winter.

For religious believers, it commemorates events in the religious myths or stories of Hinduism. Long ago lived a race of giant demons, the Daityas. Their king, Hiranyakashyap, prayed long and hard to the great god Brahma, and was rewarded with a boon that protected him from death. He could not be killed by man or animal, god or demon, or by any weapon made under the sun. Safe from all enemies and heady with power, he began conquering the world, declaring himself king of the underworld, the earth and finally, of heaven. He defeated Indra, king of the gods, and the others fled, and took on the appearance of ordinary men and women. As ruler of the world, Hiranyakashyap ruled that no one could worship any being but himself. But his own son, Prahlad, disobeyed, singing the praises of Lord Vishnu. In fury, Hiranyakashyap ordered his attendants to kill his son. But their swords failed to hurt him. Hiranyakashyap called upon the snakes of the underworld and the great white elephants of the sky but none could harm Prahlad, who claimed the protection of his god, Vishnu. Finally, Hiranyakashyap enlisted his sister Holika, who had also received a special boon – no fire could harm her. A great fire was built, and Holika was ordered to carry Prahlad into the fire, which would surely kill him. To the king’s surprise, once the fire had died down, he saw that his sister Holika was dead, but Prahlad survived.  When Prahlad again thanked Vishnu for saving him, Hiranyakashyap roared in anger, slapping a stone pillar, asking, if Vishnu was everywhere, where was he, was he in the stone itself? The pillar broke and from it emerged a creature, half-man and half-lion – Vishnu in the form of Narsimha. He rushed at Hiranyakashyap and killed him with his claws, neither man nor animal, and using no weapon made under the sun. Order was restored to the world, the gods took their rightful places once again and Prahlad became the king of the Daityas; a just and kind ruler. At the end of his life, instead of dying to be born again like other mortals, Vishnu took Prahlad into himself. Holi is a celebration of this victory of good over evil.

These days, what many love about Holi is the custom to put aside rigid social structures, allowing those of different ages, sexes, castes, professional status and wealth to behave as equals and celebrate together. Formality is forgotten, and there is an atmosphere of fun, exhilaration, celebration, love.

Traditionally, Holika Dahan is celebrated with a bout of spring cleaning in the home, big communal bonfires out in the street and lots of neighbourhood socialising. Then, Holi itself is a frenzied day of throwing and smearing gulal (coloured powder) over everyone else. People prepare for the onslaught by dressing in their oldest clothes – white is a good choice as it allows the colours to show well. Youngsters enjoy catching their elders with the dyes; workers can colour-bomb their managers with impunity.

My understanding is that the significance of throwing of coloured powders is two fold: the powders were once made from medicinal herbs and spices prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners to protect against illness and the bright colours also represent the colours of Spring.

At the end of the day, one goes home and bathes away the coloured dyes, dresses in new clothes, and sits down with family for a traditional meal. You can find many of our favourite family recipes at my mum’s site, Mamta’s Kitchen.

There are many traditional foods and drinks served during Holi, but one you might not expect is the ingestion of bhang (cannabis), most commonly in a drink sometimes referred to as bhang lassi but actually called bhang ki thandai. The buds and leaves of the cannabis are ground into a paste with ghee and spices such as fennel, cardamom and saffron and mixed with almonds, milk and sugar to make a drink. The paste is also used to make a green bhang halva and other cannabis-laden sweets.

Happy Holi!

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