Who doesn’t love a Food Festival with all the different food experiences, chefs demonstrations and artisan producers selling their enticing wares ? So when I was kindly offered tickets to the Foodies Festival at Ripley Castle near Harrogate I jumped at the chance.
The weather looked promising on the Sunday which was the last day of the Festival and so after a very light breakfast ( needed to keep plenty of room for all the amazing food ) we set off on the very short journey from home to the Festival location which was on a large field on the Ripley Castle Estate.
Did I mention I could smell the food before I saw this sign ? Oh my ! I knew this was going to be food heaven.
We were given a fabulous magazine as we walked through the gates which contained some great recipes, the timetable for the day and very importantly a list of all the exhibitors at the Festival. I don’t know about you, but I often go to a country fair and forget the name of a supplier I bought a product from, so it’s handy to have each supplier listed with a brief description of their offerings and their contact details.
There were four theatres at the Festival, each offering cooking demonstrations or sessions. I especially thought the Children’s Cookery Theatre was a great idea to get youngsters involved in cooking from scratch. Jamie Oliver would have been proud. Some of the chefs cooking on the day I was there included Stephanie Moon, Great British Menu Chef and Chief Consultant at Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate. Also there was Tony Rodd, Masterchef Finalist 2015.
The Festival was well planned out with good spacing between stalls and an excellent amount of seating for people wanting to eat lunch sat down. I dislike Festivals or Fairs where there just isn’t enough seating for people as I think this is a turn off for visitors. Most people like to sit while eating rather than balancing food on their knee while sat on the grass or worse still having to walk round with food because the grass is wet. At this food Festival this was not the case and although it was busy, it never felt crowded as the stalls and eating areas were spaced out with plenty of room around them.
I must also comment about the toilet facilities at the Festival as I know this is a big issue for many people. What can I say ? The toilet facilities were excellent. They were situated in a separate field at the side of the main arena with plenty of toilets for men and women. There were NO queues despite the crowds and the toilets were impeccably clean and well kept with hand wash, running water and paper towels.
After a good look round all the stalls came the big decision. Where to buy my lunch from ? I cannot begin to tell you how much amazing choice there was. There was seafood, Mexican, Thai, English, BBQ food, crepes, Lebanese, Indian, Italian, South African and the most amazing Vintage Tea Tent ever. The list is endless and we honestly spent an hour walking round trying to decide what to have.
With the hunger pangs setting in I finally decided on a Margarita Crepe with a savoury filling of cheese, tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms. It was so delicious and I may try re create it at home, although it probably won’t turn out anything like the one I had. I love crepes as they are a great alternative to a sandwich and a little lighter to eat than pizza. Oh and don’t get me started on the chocolate and banana crepes they were making yesterday as they looked so yummy. Anyway my crepe was freshly made in front of me which is the great thing about food festivals as you know it has been made that day.
And guess what I got for my dessert ? Yes ! My favourite. Churros with chocolate sauce from http://www.churrossusanna.com Yum Yum.
After lunch we looked round the many artisan stalls selling everything from cakes to natural dog biscuits, cheese to locally produced wine. I am always astounded at how much effort goes into these small businesses, through the product itself to the packaging. Talking to many stall holders yesterday it was obvious how passionate they were about their business and it’s wonderful to see British businesses thriving in a very saturated food market.
There were SO many wonderful products that it is difficult to include them all in my blog, so here are a selected few.
And of course no food festival would be complete without various liquid refreshment areas and this Festival certainly did not disappoint with a Champagne Bar, a VIP Lounge, a Pimms Bar in the shape of a giant red tea pot and a rather unusual Bar within a red double decker bus. There was also numerous stalls selling high quality alcoholic drinks such as wine, gin and cider with ongoing tasting sessions for visitors.
We finished our day with a leisurely stroll through the grounds of Ripley Castle, which is one of my favourite places for visiting. To be honest I needed a walk after all the food I had consumed during the day ! We had a wonderful day at the Festival and can’t wait till it returns again, although I think we will also be looking out for more Food Festivals to visit in Yorkshire until then.
Thank you to Ripley Castle for inviting us and thank you to all the stallholders and participants who made it such a successful day for visitors.
Have you visited a Food Festival this summer ? What did you think to it ? If you have any recommendations for Festivals around the UK, please comment in the box below and let me know your experiences.
Until next time.