Our first food festival in Northampton and we had a great time! The people of Northampton were fantastic, turning out in crowds to enjoy the busy food roadshow, various workshops, real ale tent, food halls and of course the main stage with our wonderful celebrity chefs.
Holly Bell was a star all weekend, teaching how to bake wonderful meals for a typical busy mum: veggie sausage rolls and lemon & coconut tart. She was followed on stage on Saturday by Jean Christophe Novelli – a French chef of some considerable character who kept the full marquee laughing as well as learning about French cookery. Then we had Levi Roots. He sang to us, and he demonstrated the art of Caribbean cookery with huge enthusiasm and accompanying anecdotes about his time on Dragon’s Den. Brilliant.
On Sunday we enjoyed Holly Bell’s demonstration of Firecracker scones followed by Theo Randell, who created a rather tasty fish stew and showed us how to cook pigeon. Then Phil Vickery came and cooked up a gluten free storm with Burmese Sweet Potato Curry and banana split muffins. He then demonstrated home made pasta made with custard powder – which tasted a whole lot better than it sounds!
The Fruit De Mer restaurant was hugely successful and fully booked with people sampling their enormous seafood platters. All our chefs managed to find their way in there to have a taste and pronounced it delicious.
The Real Ale tent was busy from lunchtime both days with ales from local breweries proving extremely popular. The Piazza as a whole was buzzing, with food from all around the world. We also had the UK’s coolest barbecue in the shape of a little steam engine! With the live music providing an ambient background, people enjoyed sitting in the sunshine and soaking up the atmosphere.
The food halls were also buzzing from early on. We had everything from jams and chutneys, through fudge; wonderful pies and puddings and cheeses.
Another highlight – especially for the children was the little workshop run by Polka Dot Bakes, where children as young as two or three were making gorgeous little fondant bears – and loving it! The chainsaw carvers were quite a draw over in the corner, creating works of art and especially in the speed carves when they had just thirty minutes to create something wonderful, then auctioned off to the highest bidder.
All in all, it was a fantastic first food festival in Northampton. The weather was lovely, the crowds were great and a huge thanks to all the traders, exhibitors, chefs and musicians who worked together to make it such a success. Here’s to 2017!