Food, oh so glo­ri­ous, glo­ri­ous food

Brew­eries to baked goods, Jo-Anne Rowney reviews Thame Food Fes­ti­val

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON SHOW -

FROM chillies to pulled pork, lo­cal beers to fine wines Thame Food Fes­ti­val is un­doubt­edly cen­tre of all things food and drink. I re­turned this year in an­tic­i­pa­tion of try­ing even more than I did last year, and was not dis­ap­pointed.

I had a plan this time around, work­ing my way along the stalls while dip­ping in and out of the demon­stra­tions.

First-up on the stage were Edd Kim­ber and John Waite from the Great Bri­tish Bake Off serv­ing up some yummy treats.

Adam Sim­mons also drew a crowd, as he show­cased his Great Bri­tish Menu D-Day dish for peo­ple to try.

After an im­pres­sive and ed­u­ca­tional start my friend and I felt it was ac­cept­able to start on the al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

Start­ing with The Blue Beer Company, I sipped and sniffed my way through their of­fer­ings.

Then it was time for ale guru Ian’s Tamin’ of the Brew, a beer that was spe­cially brewed for the fes­ti­val last year.

No visit would be com­plete with me sam­pling a few cheeses.

No.2 Pound Street is one of my favourite places to stop in Wen­dover, so I stopped by the stall to ask what was the best to buy for my brother. As usual the team helped me out, point­ing out a few va­ri­eties for me to try.

With all th­ese tastes of the savoury kind, I felt the need for a sugar hit.

There was the gluten free Piece of Cake, Rum­seys Choco­late, and hand-made cho­co­lates from Plan­ta­tion Cho­co­lates – the fresh fruit and spiced flavours proved to be a hit.

Pop­pin’ Mad the Amer­i­can style pop­corn stall was also popular, as I walked around I saw plenty of peo­ple clutch­ing at large bags burst­ing with the treat.

If that wasn’t enough, Joe & Seph’s Gour­ment Pop­corn had a long queue as peo­ple dipped their hands in each jar try­ing ev­ery­thing from Mo­jita flavour to Mar­garita, curry to pop­corn.

It turns out th­ese were not the only sweet things around – love was in the air.

Foodie David New­man pro­posed to his part­ner Tracy Rus­sell – and she said yes.

Long Cren­don’s Buck­sum pro­pri­etor Mr New­man met his now fi­ancee at The Thame Food Fes­ti­val four years ago.

Tak­ing a break we worked our way into the crowd for Ray­mond Blanc, and stuck around for Sophie Grig­son, who I par­tic­u­larly en­joyed.

I had grabbed her ear­lier for a chat, as I lamented my lack of cre­ativ­ity when it comes to veg­e­tar­ian of­fer­ings she came up with the so­lu­tion – welsh sausages, mi­nus meat.

I watched as she cooked up a batch, which had even me the hard worn meat lover sali­vat­ing.

Need­ing some­thing to fix my hunger pangs we ven­tured over to the stalls again.

I’m a sucker for ice cream, it’s my one weak­ness, so I had to try some of the Brad­shaws. They make the ice cream from the fam­ily herd of Hol­stein-Friesian cow’s milk. There was a lovely fresh flavour to it.

De­spite hav­ing just cooled our palate, we heated things up with a touch of chilli.

Grim Reaper Foods is a favourite of mine at the fes­ti­val. I like test­ing how much heat I can take, and got a great deal of amuse­ment of en­cour­age my friend to ven­ture out­side of his com­fort zone and try the hot­ter sauces.

When it came to get­ting some­thing more sub­stan­tial for lunch we popped to Bangers and Spits for a slow roasted pork roll with ginger and ap­ple sauce.

While eat­ing we paused to see what was hap­pen­ing at the in­ter­view stage.

Lotte Dun­can, the fes­ti­val pa­tron, was at home grilling the celebrity guests from Tom Ker­ridge to Ray­mond Blanc and Ken Bruce.

As al­ways as the day came to a close I was left feel­ing as if I needed more time to get around the rest of the stalls, which is no bad thing.

While I wanted to sam­ple and taste ev­ery­thing, I think my waist­line is eter­nally grate­ful that I just didn’t have the time de­spite spend­ing at least three hours or so wind­ing my way through the stalls.

...There’s al­ways next year.

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