If you are even remotely greedy for any type of food or drink, you could quite easily lose your waistline at Brighton Foodies Festival. This Sunday I spent about five hours there with my aunt Sarah and we had a great time, so here are my highlights.
Mandy Nolan runs The Cheesemaking Workshop in Arundel, the only one-day cheesemaking course in the UK where you can learn how to make seven cheeses from scratch. Sarah and I are dying to learn her skills. ‘All you need,’ says Mandy, ‘is a saucepan, a skimmer spoon, some culture and a box. I can’t tell you how addicted you’ll get.’
Another person I’m keen to steal knowledge off is Wross Lawrence of Finders Eaters, a foraging school and product line launched just three weeks ago. Wross is a Welsh rambler based in Brighton who supplies wild food to top restaurants. He takes groups of aspiring wild foodists on foraging expeditions around Seven Sisters, starting and ending at the Hand in Hand pub in Kemp Town, one of my faves.
Sarah and me loved the fruity taste of Manjira South Indian tamarind pachadi so much we took home a jar each. The relish can be used as a condiment or marinade and, we are told, is particularly delicious mixed with rice, coriander and fresh peanuts or peanut butter as a simple vegetarian meal. I can’t wait to try that.
Other yummy products on sale at the festival included West Sussex Wobblegate cider and juices, Hedonist Bakery part-baked artisan breads and a huge array of loaves from Petworth bakery The Hungry Guest.
As you might guess, I was taken with the beautifully colourful children’s cookware from Titchy Kitch. The London-based startup launched a new ‘Cookery Club’ box-scheme on Saturday, which aims to help parents excite and inform kids about home cooking. That’s certainly a cause I can get behind.
Also pictured are our first snacks of the day, crisp tempura king prawns from Dorset Sushi, some nicely packaged dudes from Pinkster Gin, another of the festival’s new launches, and Custom Creams liquid nitrogen ice cream who put on a good show with their fancy kit.
Talking of shows, the Foodies Festival had simply loads of cookery demonstrations from a huge range of foodie personalities. Unfortunately I missed most, but I did catch this cake decorating demo from Jenny Engvall of Cakes Brighton. Jenny has worked at the Ritz and can make a cake look stunning in no time at all, just don’t ask me to repeat how she does it.
I was also impressed with this QVC star who gave us an entertaining demo of a pump-action hand whisk that can turn skimmed milk into cream… bet it doesn’t taste like cream.
It’s a pretty daunting task choosing lunch at an event like this. In fact, my food envy got almost unbearable when Sarah bought a Sam’s of Brighton pulled pork wrap for lunch, while I opted for a Fishy Fishy Sri Lankan curry and rice from next door. The curry was tasty and the staff obliging, but if you’re reading this Dermot O’Leary, your portions are too small for this gannet. I wish I’d opted for an Exotic Tagine or El Gaucho barbeque.
I had eaten my mini fish curry by the time Sarah got to the front of the queue at Sam’s, so I had to top it up with a cup of Sam’s lemon posset with raspberry coulis. Very zingy and good, although the dish does always remind me of something my midwife once said.
After a pause, I couldn’t help but make room for a few freshly made churros and chocolate sauce. Disappointingly, their sugary taste didn’t quite match the thrill of watching the Spanish doughnut sticks get fried. I needed something small and refreshing to cure me of a growing lardy feeling, so Sarah and I chose to end our day’s consumption with a shot of wheatgrass juice from The Guarana Bar.
From one extreme to the other, the wheatgrass juice has to be the most surprising taste of the day. Powerfully strong-tasting and like a concentrate of raw, freshly podded peas, we’re told that just one ounce of wheatgrass juice provides your daily fruit and veg requirements. I’m not sure I believe it, but after nearly five hours at Foodies Festival, a shot of wheatgrass juice sure tastes like a tonic.
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About Chloe King
I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.
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