Food, oh so glorious, glorious food
Breweries to baked goods, Jo-Anne Rowney reviews Thame Food Festival
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.