On one of the few sunny days we’ve had this year I am to be found along with Mr Jemimah wandering around a field on Tatton Park Estate awash with tents selling and promoting all manner of foodie treats. This is the Foodies Festival 2013 and for once the sun is playing ball and it is a glorious day; which is just as well given the lack of seating and the amount of barbecued food available. Although there are all manner of demonstrations available from chocolate to cocktails given the lack of Vitamin D we've had lately we forego these and set off to explore.
After an initial wander and mentally marking stalls to return to, as it is now lunch we make our way to Stolen Lamb, (http://www.stolenlamb.com/index.html) a Greek restaurant hailing from Wilmslow which is one of the sit down eating venues providing taster menus of their signature dishes. We chose the Kleftiko (lamb, sweet pea and artichoke stew) and the Halloumi (crumbed halloumi served on a salad of rocket and pea shoots). Obviously being a taster menu the portions are not full size but the lamb is well seasoned and tender and the halloumi being crumbed adds another dimension of nutty flavour to the creamy halloumi. Plates duly cleared we go for another wander.
One of the stalls I do spot is The English Spirit Distillery (www.englishspiritdistillery.com) which is the only distillery in Britiain which makes rum and also does a nice line in fruit liqueurs. Whilst absolutely delicious I do get the feeling they might be a bit too strong for me however further investigations reveal two more amenable beverage stalls; Thistly Cross Cider (http://www.thistlycrosscider.co.uk/) is a Lothian based cider maker making plain and fruit infused ciders fermented with champagne yeast. After a few tastes I buy two bottles of Elderflower. Then it is on to Glaswegian brewers WEST (http://www.westbeer.com/Our_Beer.html) and a half pint of Red Munich beer which goes down very well in the Cheshire sunshine. Sadly they are only selling on draught so we can’t buy any for later although they tell us they are supplying pubs nationally so I would recommend keeping your eyes peeled for any local beer festivals in case they make an appearance. By now we are feeling a bit peckish and after much thought and consideration of the many, many pie and barbecue stalls we opt for a burger from The Artisan Burger Company. At £5 a burger (average price for everything it seems) the plain burger does the job and can certainly not be described as your average “flat pack” burger. It requires two hands and two napkins each to eat. Now in need of pudding we make a beeline for the earlier spotted Subzero Ice cream (http://www.iamsubzero.com/ ) . How many flavours can one stall have? Lots. Opting for a two scoop cone each Mr Jemimah has the usual Vanilla with Pistachio as an exotic addition. Being slightly more adventurous I go for macchiato coffee and clotted cream with raspberry and peaches. Oh my. I cannot remember when I had ice cream so good. Sadly it appears that home delivery and retail is only available for this company in south Wales. Everyone else is seriously missing out…..
A final meander leads up to the wonderful Mr Fitzpatrick’s Cordials where stocks of their temperance cordials are bought. For anyone who has never tried these then you are missing out. The blackcurrant and liquorice especially is perhaps the nearest you will ever get to eating liquid boiled sweets. Based in Rawtenstall at the nation's last temperance bar if you can’t actually get there- and trust me the bar is well worth a visit but is very tiny – you can order via mail order (http://www.mrfitzpatricks-temperancebar.co.uk/). Then it’s time to leave although I must give a very special mention to the sole trader making the raspberry cocktails. Again priced at the standard fiver the raspberry Moscow mule was a lovely end to the day and if I’d have known they were that good I’d have bought another for when I got home!
Would I go again? Possibly. However there were a couple of things I noticed. Although toilet provision was very good and there were cash machines on site (unfortunately the ubiquitous ones that charge) I did see a lack of seating apart from a beer tent and some deckchairs with people strewn on parts of unmuddy grass to eat their lunches. Also a good addition would have been some sort of play tent for toddlers. Yes, I know, it’s a food festival however I’m sure that more than a few parents would have been glad of a sit down for a while with a play area for their children. Obviously there is one at Tatton Park but it’s not always practical to wander in and out of a showground just to allow Mum & Dad to rest their feet and the children to be relieved of their boredom. After all, there are only so many pie stalls you can look at.