Despite the unsettled weather here, we thought we’d take advantage of some spare time and visited the Hampton Court Foodies Festival yesterday. Knowing what the area is like for traffic whenever an event like this is on, we duly jumped on the bus and waited while cars, buses and lost articulated lorries performed their usual dance in the Hampton area.
The rain more or less held off, which was fortunate, as there was the potential for Hampton Court Green to be transformed into a mud pit, rather than the miniature beach that Jamie Oliver’s team had put together near the entrance.
If there was any way to describe how wonderfully British the whole things was – it had to be the combination of the deckchairs on the green in the rain, right next to the steampunk-lite victoriana of the Hendrick’s Gin Emporium (great gin samples flavoured with slices of cucumber by the way and very friendly staff).
There were a good range of stalls showcasing a wide range of different cuisines – a number of restaurants were selling small meals ranging from hog roasts and vietnamese dishes through to shoulders of lamb and flatbread wraps of some sort that I never did manage to identify. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly too which was good. I’ve been to some where its felt very pressurised but with the various wine/champagne/mead/small brewery stands helping lubricate the thirsty everyone was quietly mellow.
Security didn’t even bat an eyelid at the broadsword umbrella over my shoulder either – which was great as it served as a wonderful icebreaker with stall-holders and fellow festival-goers alike.
We didn’t stop in to any of the marquees with michelin and celebrity chefs doing demonstrations (Levi Roots was busy while we were there) – or the children’s cooking tent, but that was because they were tight packed full of people already. We peered in, saw people enjoying themselves, and wandered on.
We came away with a good haul – pork pies, fudge, chilli jellies, chocolates and cakes – and ate well while we were there – but we had to do a lot of walking round with our hands firmly thrust in our pockets as we could have spent an outrageous amount of money on spices, supplies, knives, cookware and little luxuries.
The Foodies Festivals take place in a number of places over the next few months, so assuming their website has recovered (it had crashed when I went to double check the link at the time of writing this blog entry), its well worth booking a ticket or two and making the time to go and explore. Its not the biggest food event in the diary but its a good way to while away a couple of hours in a relaxed family-friendly environment so its getting a thumbs up and recommendation if you see one near you.
Now please excuse me, I have to waddle into the kitchen as the scent of minted lamb roast is tickling my tastebuds…