Foodies rejoice; there’s a brand-new food festival coming to Exmouth on Saturday 16 September from 10am until 11.00pm. With live music from Barefoot Bandit, street food stalls and an evening mussel banquet, it’s shaping up to be a delicious day out.
An array of artisanal producers from across the region will be coming to the stunning Manor Gardens in the heart of Exmouth for the event. Together, they will showcase a range of mouth-watering products from traditional cheeses, meats, preserves and ales to modern twists on gins, charcuterie, ice-cream, coffee and much more.
There will be a licensed bar from Powderkeg Brewery, food-themed interactive workshops and activities including a Beat the Heat chilli eating competition. A family day out wouldn’t be complete without a bouncy castle and face painter for the kids.
The festival will also include The Great Mussel Hustle – a sit down mussel banquet at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15, which will include a glass of wine.
The vibrant event is a collaboration between owner of award-winning local café Bumble and Bee, Debra Quine and Pop-up Events.
Debra says, ‘We’re so excited to host Exmouth’s Food Festival here in the beautiful setting of Manor Gardens. Enjoying live music while feasting with family and friends is a winning formula – I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday!’
Local food heroes include Exmouth’s own brewery Crossed Anchors, Pebblebed, Quicks Gin distilled in Exmouth, Little Pod, Exmouth Mussels, Fish on the Quay, Eat the Smoke, Devon Chilli Farm and Ottervale Chutneys.
Entry fee is £1, which will be donated to Hospicecare. Tickets will be available on the gate at Manor Gardens, near Exmouth sea front.
To book a place at The Great Mussel Hustle, please call Bumble and Bee on 07791229741. For more information about the day and to keep up with the latest news, visit Exmouth Food Festival event on Facebook.
Nourish Festival, now in its 4th year, has become synonymous with fine food, craft and music of the highest quality presented in the heart of Bovey Tracey, Devon.
The Devon Street Food Awardsat Nourish Festival in association with Devon Life turns for another successful year celebrating the very best in Street Food in Devon. The county is packed full of inspirational and exciting street food producers and Nourish celebrates those Food Heroes. Street Food producers from across Devon are invited to enter and present to our judges Andy Cooper, editor of Devon Life, Kate Haskell, ITV weather presenter & Devon Life columnist and Alex Murdin, Devon Home Cook of the Year and former director of The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, are suitably looking forward to the enviable task of sampling the food.
We will present an eclectic, exciting and above all delicious mix of street food at Nourish so whether you create Caribbean, Indian, Spanish, Moroccan flavours, wood fired Italian pizza, French crepes, Mexican street food, fish delicacies or a proper pie. A flavour to suit everyone.
We are extremely partial to a decent gin & tonic and with the soon to be opened Dartmoor Distillery in Bovey Tracey, we are rather keen to announce The Nourish Gin Festival. South West produces of artisan gin will gather for us all to enjoy at Nourish in September. Our Gin Festival is supported by Fever Tree Tonic and Tarquin’s Gin.
The Nourish Food & Drink Fair will fill Bovey’s high street with some of the best producers from the South West on Sat 2 September. We invited producers of the widest possible variety of excellent food. We had 2 simple criteria, you make the best and you live in the South West of England. Expect to find artisan cheeses, preserves, bread, cakes, cordials, vegetables, herbs, beer, game, meat, fish, wine, liqueurs, cider, relishes, pates, handmade chocolates, oils, pies and even speciality mushrooms. An exceptional collection of epicurean delights.
Other events include The Bovey Bake Off and Junior Bovey Bake Off, will once again get the community reaching for their mixing bowls judged by our own Queen of Cakes, Tracey Godwin.
The Nourish Contemporary Craft Fair will be hosted in the Methodist Church Hall, showcasing beautiful handmade craft from across the South West with craft demonstrations and other craft events taking place at Devon Guild of Craftsmen.
Exceptional makers from across the South West will present an inspirational selection of jewellery, pottery, glass, textiles and wood
The NourishMusic programme from 1 September will present a rare performance from world renowned cellist, Steven Isserllis. Isserlis, who sells out Wigmore Hall and venues across the globe will be performing in Bovey Tracey on Friday September 1st in the intimate surroundings of St Peter, St Paul and St Thomas Church. A truly unique experience. THIS CONCERT IS NOW SOLD OUT
The Festival also features Japanese pianist, Noriko Ogawa. Noriko appears with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras including recent and forthcoming performances with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra and the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Noriko will be performing in Bovey Tracey on Friday September 2nd at St Peter, St Paul and St Thomas Church.
Superlocrian, our Saturday afternoon concert, brings together two trumpets, two trombones and two saxophones to create a thrilling sound where the dynamic edge of brass sits alongside the warm, soulful sounds of saxes and flute; a concert promising adrenaline, emotion – and superb musicianship.
Nourish Festival organiser Sarah James said:
“We are delighted that Nourish Festival has been welcomed so warmly to Bovey Tracey. It has been a success for the stall holders and craft makers visiting the town, for the local traders, and best of all for the local community. There is such a buzz in the town with so many people visiting the food stalls, talking to expert craftspeople and taking part in our own Bovey Bake Off. I’m also very excited about our Devon Street Food Awards and looking forward very much to our Gin Festival!
The music programme continues to be a tremendous success, and I look forward to welcoming Steven Isserlis, Noriko Ogawa and Superlocrian. A weekend to remember”
The Food & Craft Fair on Sat 2 Sept are free. Concerts on 1 & 2 September are ticketed. Full details and ticket information can be found at www.nourishfestival.org. Tickets will also available via our Box Office at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen.
With just two months to go until Powderham Food Festival returns for a sixth celebration of local food and drink (Saturday 7th to Sunday 8th October), festival organisers Bob Small and Fiona Gofton are hoping 2017 will be the biggest, best and quite possibly the healthiest food festival they have ever hosted.
Set amid the spectacular grounds of Powderham Castle, home to Lord and Lady Devon, Powderham Food Festival is a magnet for foodies of all ages. So, with nature’s autumnal larder full to brimming with delicious fruits and vegetables, what better time to shine a light on fresh, wholesome and delicious food that the whole family can get excited about.
Bob Small says, “Powderham has always prided itself on being a family-friendly food festival, but this year we wanted to give everybody food for thought on what they feed their loved ones. It is for this reason that we have teamed up with Sugar Smart to help inform and inspire families on how to cook more with fresh ingredients, less with sugar-filled processed foods and to find simple ways to lower their sugar intake.”
Fiona Gofton says “We all live busy lives, and I know I sometimes struggle to get inspiration for meals to feed my family that are quick, healthy and appeal to everybody’s tastes. Our new family food marquee will focus on wholesome home cooking, offering loads of useful information from Sugar Smart and associated organisations on how families can make small changes to their diet and lifestyle that will have a long-lasting effect on their health and wellbeing.”
Rachel Pinnock, a food anthropology PhD student who works part time at Exeter Cookery School and part time as a Sugar Smart ambassador, will be on hand to show children and their parents how the humble veg can be transformed into a delicious and nutritious family meal. Meanwhile, Judi Spiers will be joining the team from Home Farm Café – a Dartmoor-based farm café with 85% of its menu featuring local, seasonal produce – with demonstrations from Stella West-Harling and Nick Smith on how to create exciting and delicious dinners for week-night meal times.
Fun Kitchen will also be supporting Sugar Smart’s campaign at this year’s Powderham Food Festival, as it returns once more with its popular, messy and educational hands-on cookery classes for children. Fun Kitchen founder and Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, Joe Mann, is a firm believer in making cooking fun and accessible for children, and has been instrumental in teaching about food beyond the classroom as a partner of the Growing Devon Schools Partnership.
For a wondrous line-up of the region’s culinary talents, head to the Exeter Cookery School stage. Jim and Lucy Fisher, the dynamic husband and wife team who opened Exeter Cookery School in the summer of 2016, will play host to a dazzling array of cookery demonstrations for the third consecutive year. Working with the region’s very fine seasonal larder, chefs confirmed so far this year are Richard Hunt (TV chef, consultant chef & founder of Devon Scone Company), Richard Valder (head chef and co-owner of @Angela’s Restaurant), Paul Greenhead (chef and co-owner of Café Catalan), Rachel Pinnock (Exeter Cookery School) and Nila Ross-Patel (Exeter Cookery School tutor), with more chefs yet to be revealed.
Completing the cookery demonstration areas, the ever-popular Theatre of Fire and Smoke will also be back at Powderham Food Festival to delight its loyal following. Barbecue and food smoking aficionados Simon Dyer, Marcus Bawdon and John Gower from Quiet Waters Farm, will be cooking up a storm. Meanwhile, the Clifton Chilli Club will be hosting their usual increasingly fiery chillies on members of the public in the Great Devon Chilli Challenge – for the bravest of souls (or should we say stomachs).
And if that was not all, there will be over 100 local food and drinks producers and craft stalls to explore and give you plenty to keep your tummies happy. The festival will be a fantastic family and foodie day out for all to enjoy – so make sure you put the date in your diary for the must-visit Autumn Food Festival at Powderham Castle!
Tickets for Powderham Food Festival are available to purchase online via www.powderhamfoodfestival.com with a saving of 25% for advanced purchase tickets!
Fun galore awaits children and adults alike as the River Cottage Summer Festival draws near. Taking place across the August bank holiday weekend (26th – 27th August) the Festival offers visitors a packed schedule of family friendly activities and foodie delights. The whole family can enjoy top music acts and great children’s entertainment, all in a beautiful East Devon setting. Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult making the Summer Festival a fantastic, affordable day out for the whole family and a perfect way to celebrate the end of the summer season.
Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities and entertainment, from watching performances by Swamp Circus and Rainbow Gecko Giant Bubbles, to getting hands on with Play Art Junk Modelling or taking a foraging tour with John Wright. Littles ones can enjoy baby massages, kids yoga, the hands-on mud kitchen, sandpit, felting and flower workshops and the Marine Monster making. Other workshops include pottery, jewellery making and clay modelling. Nature lovers can immerse themselves in the wonders of the stunning countryside with guided geology walks with local butterfly experts as well as star gazing after sunset.
Take part in one of the masterclasses to find out how to make your own sushi or cook over a wood fire. The little ones can get stuck into pizza making or creating their own ice cream sundae masterpiece with prices starting from just £20.
When thoughts turn to food, visitors can enjoy a veritable feast of tasty homemade dishes on offer throughout the weekend with delectable street food from local artisan producers. Treat yourself to a Farmhouse Feast and immerse yourself in the River Cottage atmosphere. The two-course sit down meal is served in the iconic Farmhouse for just £20 and offers a mouthwatering menu designed using fresh, seasonal and local produce from the farm, garden and local suppliers. There will also be a selection of bars located across the Festival serving a variety of sumptuous drinks from Chase Vodka cocktails and English sparkling wine from neighboring Castlewood Vineyard to locally sourced beers, ciders, wines and seasonal cocktails.
A team of chefs and experts will be on hand to share their culinary tips throughout the two-day weekend on the Garden Stage hosted by Steven Lamb. On the Saturday, visitors can enjoy a mix of chefs, speakers and activists including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, forager John Wright, Bake-Off star Chetna Makan and herbalist Katie from Pukka Teas. On the Sunday, award-winning blogger Ed Smith will take to the stage alongside Satish Kumar, Michelin-starred Adam Byatt and Hugh.
Festival goers can enjoy music throughout the weekend with a variety of brilliant musicians on the line-up. There is live music from midday until 10pm on both days, with entertainment for the whole family. On the Saturday, Sound of the Sirens will headline alongside The Jack Daniels Band, Them Voices Poor, Sadie Horler, Hungry Bentley, Nicky Swann and DJ Diggz. On the Sunday, visitors can enjoy music from The Travelling Band, Mr Tea and the Minions, Melissa Bel, Mark McCabe, Tori Reed and the Troubadours and DJ Diggz.
For more information and to book tickets, visit the website: www.rivercottage.net/festival/2017. River Cottage is running a free park and ride service to and from the Festival or add to the experience with VIP parking onsite available for just £5 per car.
What a food filled weekend! On Sunday 30th April, I attended the Salcombe Crab Festival; I was not going to let our British weather make us crabby by stopping our bank holiday weekend fun, so my family and I donned the raincoats and wellies and off we drove.
Salcombe is approx. 1 hour south of Exeter, on a steady drive and boy you do know when are you nearby; the sea down below just peeking through the trees, and the lushest bright green roadsides guiding you down to the bay.
Salcombe Crabfest is a smaller annual festival, organised by volunteers from the Rotary Club of Salcombe and sponsored by Favis of Salcombe and Coast and Country Cottages. It has music, food stalls and food related events spread throughout the town which creates a lovely festival vibe.
This year the event was being opened by Matt Tebbutt, well known for presenting Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped as well as Saturday Kitchen and a being a regular contributor for Waitrose Kitchen magazine. He would then also be cooking up a storm (although nature had already given us one) with local food hero and seafood ambassador Mitch Tonks, the co-founder of the Rockfish restaurants and takeaways as well as The Seahorse Restaurant in Dartmouth.
The cookery demo was great, very free flowing with both of them having a good time and answering any random questions thrown at them. Mitch cooked Singapore spicy crab as well as deep fried soft shell crab rolls which made their way around the lucky few in the audience and Matt cooked crab ravioli using spring roll papers – a trick I am going to try at home! The ravioli was absolutely delicious, served in a crab broth – I was near enough to the front to be fast enough with a nearby spoon!
There was an hourly tour at Salcombe Gin Distilling Co and this was an eye opener; we got a shortened version of their new Gin School offering, so learnt a bit about how they make the gin, chose some ingredients and got to taste the final product. Do look them up for a gift for yourself or a loved one (they are award winning already too – see recent press release here) you get to create your very own flavour of gin and not only take a full bottle home, but also enjoy your drinks in their lovely bar afterwards.
We saw JB Preserves, Bell and Loxton Oils, Favis of Salcombe, Salcombe Brew Coffee, South Devon Chilli Farm, amongst others. My son loves crab so enjoyed a fresh pot full and he even tried an oyster!
Live music filled the air wherever we were, the local shops were buzzing and who can resist a view like this round every corner?
For a free event, it’s a great day out – perhaps plan a night or two away for next year and wander around the festival enjoying the many food and drink delights on offer without having to drive home.
Look out for next years date and get it in the diary!
Eating Exeter editor Chris Gower will be appearing in the BBC Radio Devon Q&A Tent tomorrow from 13:15 to 13:45 with the fab Nick Hook and Tara Smith about digital dining and the rise of the food bloggers!
For more information about the festival, including the fabulous evening events – head to the Exeter Food Festival website and follow on Twitter
Taking place over May Bank Holiday, River Cottage Spring Food Fair is the perfect way to celebrate this season’s foodie delights and activities, surrounded by the gorgeous East Devon countryside. Promised to be packed full of fun for all the family to enjoy, enter our competition and you could win a family pass for Monday 29th May 2017.
We’ve rounded up our top 10 things to do at the Spring Food Fair….
Enjoy a cookery masterclass – Get cooking with our adult and child masterclasses and learn the secret behind cookies and doughnuts & pasta and focaccia. If parents want to try their hand at something different then there are a range of other masterclasses to enjoy from Wild Cocktails with John Wright to Outdoor Cookery with Gill Meller
Pottery Workshops – Learn how to make a seedling pot which will be yours to take away at the end of the session
Falconry displays – Marvel at these beautiful birds as they fly around and catch their prey
Food, food and more food! Feast on delicious fare from our local producers, pop up food stalls, try some delicious River Cottage wood fired pizza or dine in our farmhouse pop-up restaurant!
Bee Area – Visit the East Devon Beekeepers and learn all about bees, you will also be able to make and take away your very own candle and take part in a fun bee-related quiz.
Lucet Braiding/Felting workshops – Learn how to make textile jewellery e.g. friendship bracelet using the Lucet & 100% wool fibres or textile waste or you could learn the basic principles of needle-felting to create a delightful bumble bee brooch
Enjoy spectacular large bubble displays/ get face painted
Forest school – Learn how to build a shelter, whittle pegs and light a fire
Animal area – Wonder around the farm and meet the River Cottage animals and other friends. Pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, alpacas, miniature ponies will all be around for you to see.
Natural woodcraft workshops – Use natural resources to make you very own bug box or a beautiful wooden flower
…and if that’s not enough to tempt you, visit the website (www.rivercottage.net) to find out more or buy yourself some tickets.
To be in with the chance of winning a family pass to the Spring Food Fair on Monday 29th May, where you can enjoy all of our favourite spring delights and much more, simply enter the competition below.
Terms & Conditions
In order to enter please just retweet the pinned post on Twitter or like, share and comment on the pinned post on Facebook.
Closing date Midnight 30.04.2017
Prize includes two adult tickets and two child tickets to the River Cottage Spring Food Fair on Monday 29th May 2017
Transport is not included
Open to residents of the UK aged over 18
Prize is non-transferable or amendable
No cash alternative
Additional costs incurred are payable by the winner
*Featured header image courtesy of Nick Hook Photography
Tom Kerridge confirmed in chef line up! Early May bank holiday weekend – Saturday 29 April – Monday 1 May
An all-star line-up of chefs has been confirmed for this year’s Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink including Tom Kerridge who will join festival co-founder Michael Caines MBE in the cookery theatre on the Sunday.
Seven Michelin-starred chefs are among the line-up this year, including Tom Kerridge, Michael Caines MBE, Simon Hulstone, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Wignall, Mark Dodson and Josh Eggleton, alongside a further 30 talented chefs demonstrating. The seven award-winning chefs will be performing live demos across Sunday 30th April and Monday 1st May in the Festival Cookery Theatre.
The three-day Festival is a celebration of the South West’s Food and Drink producers and top chefs, taking place over the early May bank holiday weekend (Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017) at Exeter Castle and the surrounding Northernhay Gardens.
Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge said: “I was really pleased when Michael asked me to be part of the festival. I’m looking forward to coming down to Exeter for the bank holiday and demonstrating on the Sunday as well as sampling the amazing local produce.”
Visitors to the Festival can enjoy demonstrations in the Festival cookery theatre from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon, with demos, head-to-head competitions and the school competition taking place across the weekend.
Alongside the fantastic line-up of top chefs from the region, the 14th Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink will feature more than 90 producers, as well as BBC Radio Devon’s Festival Question Time, the Dart’s Farm ‘Food is Fun’ Teepees and demonstrations of tasty recipes in the West Country Bakery Theatre.
Throughout the weekend local musicians will entertain visitors in the Exeter Castle Courtyard. The three After Dark Music Festivals will take place on Friday 28th April (Headliner: The Locked Horns, supported by Stephens Scown’s Choir and Loose Cannons Band), Saturday 29th April (Headliner: Leigh Coleman Band, supported by Yazzy, Joanna Cooke and Celine Dos Santos) and Sunday 30th April (Headliner: Bill Ding and the Skyscrapers, supported by Alex Dobson and Roger Styles).
The Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is supported by Exeter City Council. The festival is a not for profit event. Tickets can be booked in advance and are available online.
We are very lucky in this county and beyond, to have such wonderful food and produce – what better way to experience all of this together than at a Food Festival!
Here’s a round up of the upcoming 2017 Food Festivals in Devon as well as a couple from Cornwall. Click on the website links for further info or read our review of the previous year’s event for a feel of what you can expect. This page will be updated constantly if other events pop-up, so do come back to double check if you’re looking for an event to visit. (Updated 15/03/2017)
A food, craft and music festival; there will be a Farmer’s Market, plus a range of food producers selling their food products as well as cooked food to sell on the day. Local restaurant, The Bakehouse, will be hosting an Indian Cuisine night and there is a special meal at The Walronds on the night (ticket only), with a celebrity chef doing the honours.
New to the South West and driven by the increased interest in UK BBQ’ing, smoking and outdoor cooking, this BBQ competition can be entered into if you dare! For visitors there will be camping, products, demos, bouncy castles for the kids, beer and live music in the barn as well as the opportunity to taste some of the best BBQ in the country.
In our opinion, the largest event in the South West and right here in Exeter centred around Exeter Castle. An excellent festival including evening music events, live music during the day, beer tent, kids cookery and activity tents, farm animals, plenty of food to eat, producers and no shortage of tasters – come hungry! Demo kitchen, chef’s Q&A, wine tasting as well as a VIP option with an extra room full of treats and a place to rest.
Held in the grounds of the Shops at Dartington, this great event includes a demo tent, large food producers tent, plenty of food to eat, along with a few kids activities. On top of that you can enjoy the deli, the kitchen shop, toy shop as well as the drinks shop! A great excuse to visit and get two in one!
Quite a large food festival spread out through Plymouth city centre. Food stalls, producers, drinks marquee and chef demo tent, including this years guest appearance from 2016 Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown.
Now in its 5th year, this event is aimed at foodies and all the family, encouraging healthy eating and showcasing local produce and restaurants. On Friday 2nd from 6pm, there will be Tap into Tapas where you can enjoy various small plates from local eateries but all in the Food Theatre Marquee. There will be demos from The Salutation Inn, The Pig at Combe, Exeter Cookery School, and The Samosa Lady. There” be kids activities in The Library, Tickety Boo and The Institute.
Now in it’s 9th year, great for food stalls, music and demos.
30th: Rockfish Crab Festival, Dartmouth South Embankment
The Rockfish Crab Festival is now in its 6th year, championed by restaurateur Mitch Tonks & co-hosted by Angela Hartnett, it celebrates all that is great about our British crab. Enjoy music, local crab, children’s crabbing competition & the best-dressed table competition – that’s the table not the guests! Bring bunting, table linen, flowers, candelabra, whatever you fancy. Guaranteed fun & guaranteed weather-proofing with a marquee! Tickets at www.rockfishevents.co.uk
This inauguaral event, open to trade and baristas as well as the public and enthusiasts, the event will be held at Powderham Castle. If you love coffee…get yourself to this event! We have been given an exclusive level of discount off the already affordable ticket price:
Held at Pentillie Castle, to the east of Plymouth, last year’s inaugural festival was a great event of BBQ competition, live music, chilli eating competition, kids activity tent, food and product stalls all in a beautiful setting.
Bovey Tracey’s Fore Street gets transformed for this music, food, craft festival and Devon Street Food Awards with a new addition for 2017…Nourish Gin Festival! There will also be two evenings of concerts.
A unique and beautiful place, Clovelly celebrates its famous lobsters and crabs sustainably caught by its fishermen with a great day out for all the family. This year is its 10th Anniversary.
9th: Topsham Beer and Bacon Festival
This little festival is not all fancy and big – it’s perfectly formed and organised by the guys at The Pig and Pallet/Good Game. A beer tent, some bacon and pork based food stalls, a side loader truck opened up for the live music to perform on, and right in front of The Lighter Inn on Topsham Quay. If you’re local, be sure to pop down for a good time.
The website states “The Barbican and Sutton Harbour will come alive on Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 September, with a celebration of locally sourced and sustainably caught, high quality seafood.”
With Plymouth having the second largest fish market in the UK, events spread across this harbourside city includes cookery theatre with well known regional chefs, food stalls, crabbing competition, and a cardboard boat race amongst other activities!
Live music, magic, a special crab menu for the day, all hosted by restaurateur and chef Mitch Tonks. We’ll also be distilling the first ever Plymouth Uni Gin, a recipe made jointly with students at from Plymouth University’s Hospitality and Catering Department – we’ll have a VW campervan parked outside distilling the gin throughout the day so be there for a historic first taste! No tickets for this event but pre-booking tables advised.
A week long food event that will include Smokeinteignhead, a newly added BBQ competition. Various events are held and venues and include Tea on the Teign, jam making workshops, an evening in the orchard, Fry Up Friday, street food market, farmers market and culminating with a food fair.
Held inside Powderham Castle and around the beautiful grounds, this fabulous festival includes a Theatre of Fire and Smoke, food stalls, producers, drinks, items for sale, free cookery classes for kids by Fun Kitchen, demo kitchen with local great chefs and some live music.
Held all along the harbour with plenty of food stalls, products and demos to be enjoyed as well as special offers in restaurants.
Some of the above events we have visited and some we haven’t so it’s a mix of knowledge, opinion and information gathered from the websites. Please check websites or organisers directly regarding prices, parking and accessibility. If you know of any events that we have missed, please feel free to tweet or DM us on Twitter and Facebook.
River Cottage has announced dates for its Spring Food Fair – held across the late May Bank Holiday. This hugely popular event is a real treat for the senses and a must-visit for foodies and gardeners. It’s a chance to get the family down to River Cottage, to explore the farm nestled in gorgeous East Devon and to indulge in the sights, sounds and tastes of spring in the heart of the Devon countryside.
The Fair is packed full of activities and family fun – from chef demos, artisan food stalls, kids’ workshops, talks and live music to garden and foraging tours from River Cottage foraging guru John Wright.
Little ones go free and will be thoroughly entertained throughout with a huge choice of child- friendly activities including falconry displays, donkey rides, felting and lucet braiding workshops, animal area, candle making, demonstrations by local craftsmen, bubble workshops, face painting, skittles and hula hooping – to name but a few.
Grab the chance to take a peek behind the scenes at River Cottage HQ and – new for 2017, visitors can enjoy a sit down meal in the pop up restaurant, located in the famous farmhouse itself. The special Farmhouse Feasts feature a delicious menu designed using fresh, seasonal and local produce. River Cottage street food will join forces with local producers to make sure no-one goes hungry as they enjoy the festivities. As well as delicious dishes from the street food stands, there will also be a fully licensed bar serving local ciders, beers, wines and exciting seasonal cocktails.
A team of experts will be on hand to share their culinary tips and seeds of gardening wisdom throughout the three-day weekend. The Main Stage will be packed with cookery demonstrations from guest chefs, while green-fingered visitors can head to the Garden Stage to listen to expert talks on a huge variety of topics related to horticulture.
River Cottage has confirmed an exciting line-up of chefs. Taking to the Main Stage are Gill Meller, Matthew Fort, Signe Johansen, Tom Hunt, Mark Hix, Louise Gray, Naomi Devlin and Rachel De Thample to name a few. Organic kitchen gardener, chef and writer, Stephanie Hafferty will speak on the Garden Stage with Charles Dowding, market gardener, author, teacher and ‘no dig’ advocate alongside River Cottage’s head Gardener Will Livingstone and many other garden experts. Talks hosted on the Garden Stage will cover all aspects of organic, sustainable and unique horticultural methods including; seed-saving, biodynamics, market gardening, no dig, soil and compost and much more.
Those keen to learn something new can book onto one of the popular masterclasses.
Starting at just £15 these include Bread & Butter from scratch in an hour, Wild Cocktails and Super Salads and Ferments, whilst kids can learn the secrets behind Cookies and Doughnuts.
For more information and to book tickets, visit the website:
www.rivercottage.net/springfoodfair. River Cottage is running a free park and ride service to and from the Fair or add to the experience with VIP parking onsite available for just £5 per car.
Where does time go? I recall fully, last year when my husband Steve attended a nearby trade show, that he said he’d had the best time trying lots of local produce and meeting lots of great people. It was called Source Food and Drink Show, held at Westpoint Showground. “Better than lots of food festivals” he said. So to see what all the fuss was about, I booked a day off work to attend and hoped it would be worthit. And here we were, tickets printed, ready for 2017.
As I write this, a week has flown by already before I’ve even managed to put fingertips to keyboard and we’re in the latter end of February.
I could really write a full walkthrough but you dont want that – you want to hear of some great things we found, don’t you?
Well, the usual suspects, and what lovely suspects they are; Good Game were there in all their glory, a fantastic display with all their charcuterie goods on show. They also own The Pig and Pallet in Topsham, and if you haven’t been yet – I urge you to go! My first ever review for EE was their breakfast offering, which you can read here. They of course also serve lunch and dinner. I digress…
Also our foodie mate Eat the Smoke was opposite them – we honestly go through a bottle or two of his BBQ sauce a month, it’s astounding – get some if you havent already! His smokin’ 10 Q&A & product review can be found here.
Ebb Tides, who harvest seaweed and were also a ‘victim’ of our 10 Q&A were in the newbie bit, enjoying some great exposure. Tony has another new product on the market, and his seaweed in bags and in grinders are so very easy to use for dips, marinades and extra oomph to flavour and your diet..
We enjoyed cider from both Somerset based Sheppy’s and Honiton based Norcotts, ales from Dartmoor Brewery, whose Jail Ale we love, and family owned Black Tor Brewery (who occassionally do a lovely porter) – ‘mummy’ Black Tor must be commended, she was helping out on the day and was really delightful to talk to, very proud of the business and such a welcoming smile.
Koppert Cress were very interesting – we tasted lots of their herbs and plants; local business contact but items grown in Norway I believe. He gave us a layered handful of selected items which we rolled up and ate as a whole – dubbed Vegetarian Oyster, and boy was it seashore flavoured!
We saw 2016 South West Chef, Jamie Coleman, cook up some delights in the kitchen.
We stumbled across Chococo owner Claire and manageress Michelle having a wander round, and Michelle indulged in some insect eating with my husband Steve (who now has his own product blog Chilli Head Chef). On the count of 5 this ‘up for it’ duo downed a handful of Cornish Edible Insects with gusto.
We enjoyed some further charcuterie delights from Ottery St Mary’s The Rusty Pig and ended our day with a fantastic coffee from Steve of Exe Coffee Roasters who produces his own coffee for sale for trade and home use as well as enjoying in his coffee shop.
Of course this show is a trade show after all and is intended for buyers to come along and find new products to stock or use in their outlets. So many fantastic stands haven’t been mentioned who fed us something or other including fudge, chilli sauces, ethical pony meat, seafood, ice creams, pasties and so on.
We’re very lucky here in the South West to have such amazing variety of produce as well as the people behind these businesses. Well done to the Hale Events and main sponsor Taste of the West for a fantastic show, it really is one of the best we have attended.
What would make someone in their 20’s move from New York to the village of Croyde in Devon?
Well, it turns out, to sell the American staple food, chicken wings!
Having been born and raised in NY and spent three years studying Food Service and Event Management at NYSU Oneonta, Lauren McGill moved to Manchester, England for the final semester of her college degree. She never intended to stay much longer than the original semester, but having met her now partner, Si on an airplane heading out on an impromptu trip to mainland Europe, she stayed a little longer. Then, after going to a few UK festivals and street food events they knew something was missing from the food line ups… authentic New York style chicken wings!
Now, you wouldn’t have thought that the little of village of Croyde (where Lauren and Si were now living) would be the best place to start selling New York style chicken wings, so that’s why they started a food truck and now travel around the UK feeding those crying out for some authentic wings, having traded at Grillstock, the UK’s biggest BBQ festival, the NFL in London and the British Street Food Awards, demand keeps on growing – having been invited to trade at the award winning street food event, Street Food Circus and with big plans for 2017.
The fifth Powderham Food Festival has been the most successful yet with over 6000 visitors attending the two-day event in the grounds of Powderham Castle, during the first weekend of October. Online ticket sales for the festival were four times higher than the previous year, showing that more people were planning ahead and booking in advance of the event.
The festival also featured a record number of exhibitors, with over 150 in attendance. This was a mix of local food and drink producers offering all kinds of tasty delights to sample and buy, but also a range of unique craft and gift suppliers from the area.
Event organiser, Bob Small said:
“We were absolutely delighted with the turnout on both days and it was great to have reached a record number of visitors. Not only that but we had even more exhibitors than previous years which meant there was even more choice. This has definitely been our most successful year yet and we’d like to thank everyone for coming along and being a part of it. We look forward to seeing you all next year!”
Attendees were also treated to lively demonstrations from esteemed chefs on the Exeter Cookery School stage, while the Theatre of Fire and Smoke welcomed several barbeque aficionados. The theatre also hosted the Clifton Chilli Club’s fiery chilli challenge which saw several brave visitors go head to head to see who could handle the heat.
Other highlights included the children’s Fun Kitchen where award-winning food teacher Joe Mann provided plenty of messy fun, and live music from a range of jazz acts and acoustic bands entertained the crowds throughout both days.
Both of us visited Powderham Food Festival independently, and wandered round in our groups enjoying many facets of the festival. Now in it’s 5th year, it hosts food producers, food stalls, children’s activities, a cookery theatre and it’s USP is the Fire and Smoke Tent; most events with BBQ events are mainly for BBQ enthusiasts, this drops it right in the middle of mainstream. With the extensive landscape, dotted with deer, a background of the castle and the estuary in the distance – the setting is a beautiful one. There is something for everyone, here are our best bits:
Last year we experienced this festival on a misty autumn day and this year, it was a glorious sunny day. I love how the festival is well spread out inside and outside the grounds, on different levels.
You pass though the initial courtyard filled with suppliers – too many to mention. There are also even more placed throughout the castle’s beautiful lower ground floor.
One of the first activities we came across was Fun Kitchen, who were there to keep the children entertained, learning to cook whilst having fun. Joe Mann does an incredible job of commanding every little persons attention and they end with something edible, made by their own little fair hands, to take home at the end of it.
I loved the Theatre of Fire and Smoke; a huge teepee like tent, filled with benches surrounding a large fire. Local oracle Marcus Bawdon of Devon Wood Smoke and UK BBQ mag put on a very interesting itinerary with 2015 BBQ champ Simon Dyer and other guest cooks. Plenty of demo’s, q&a and the all important tasters with plenty for everyone.
There was a larger range of food and drink stalls this year, with gin and cocktails an obvious trend.
Quirky vehicles converted into food and drink delights also included Dolly Mixers, Lolas Wings and Gourmet Cheesy Delights
We were hungry fairly early on and, where usually I struggle to choose food (through sheer reason of wanting to eat it all) I easily settled on the cool Grandpa Franks and their reuben dog – a firm hot diggety dawg smothered in beef brisket, monteray jack cheese and some jalapeno’s thrown in for good measure – mouth wateringly good. My son chose a fantastic super-fast-oven-baked pizza from Pizza Buona, and it was delicious.
The Exeter Cookery School cookery theatre included demo’s from Richard of Angelas Restaurant, ex River Cottage chef Tim Maddams, and of course the host, ECS director and chef Jim Fisher. Tim cooked 4 courses, one of which I was delighted to be a selected diner due to the speed I put my hands up like antlers! (A fun and fair selection process). I enjoyed pigeon with mushrooms and blackberries all foraged by Tim himself, it was delicious! He was incredbly entertaining, full of anecdotes and clearly passionate about food and its origins, with uncomplicated dishes.
We purchased some lovely fudge from Devon Fudge, Steve was delighted to find a fantastic Indian naga chili pickle from India In A Jar, and my son loves beetroot and apple juice so he chose to buy some with his pocket money. I couldn’t leave without grabbing a caramel chocolate tart from Te Cake and coffee from Crankhouse – I consumed these two together so swiftly in joyous celebration of a good day out, I didn’t even take a photo!
An affordable and lovely day out full of local suppliers and food producers and all the demo’s included. If you haven’t visited it yet, you best put it in the diary for next year, and hot foot it towards the smoke and fire tent early on – it gets busy. Sit a while until hunger and curiosity lure you out, and enjoy everything this dynamic festival has to offer for yourself.
Summer’s final death knell fell on the weekend of The Powderham Food Festival. A gloriously sunny Sunday made up for a wet Saturday, and with this final surge, we close the doors on Summer with a superb send-off.
The festival is a relative new-comer to the foodie calendar, but it has been booming in popularity each year. I finally got the chance to visit and experience the clustering bustle of culinary craziness takes over the home of the Earl of Devon. This year has been particularly successful for the festival, firmly embedding it in the region’s foodie calendar.
Tori has been poorly for quite a few weeks now, so I took my lovely mum. The car parking was logical and well laid out, a little walk up to the castle with an optional tractor service for the less mobile. We we gently pottered along some of the Powderham’s magnificent stags casually laid themselves out by the fence, drawing much attention from the snappers and onlookers.
The first section of exhibitors were local producers in the courtyard. This was the entry point that all punters walked through on their way to the rest of the festival on the other side of the castle. Here we found Bell & Loxton with their lovely cold-pressed rapeseed oil, which I bought two bottles of including a Garlic oil that I have since used to cover everything edible in.
Also Shaldon Bakery, my favourite bakers I might add, was there in force with some delicious looking breads including the infamous and delicious Uglibun.
We took a trip around to the other side of the castle and there were street-food stalls, more producers, even a mobile gin bar! The highlight for me was the Theatre of Fire and Smoke which was MC’d by one of my favourite bloggers Marcus Bawdon and his pal Simon, who is also a legend in the BBQ world.
It was great to wander around taking in surroundings, to watch some of the demos at the Fire and Smoke tent and even get to taste some samples from the demo too!
Our last stop was the Exeter Cookery School Demo tent where we watched chef-maestro-and-nice-chap Jim Fisher and friends, including foodie hero Tim Maddams, share their extensive knowledge and skills to eager foodies.
Before we headed home we were able to walk back through the castle itself which was home to even more local producers.
Including a Pork Pie cake!!
This has to be one of my favourite food festivals. The exquisite surroundings of the castle, the reasonable entry fee, the choice and above all else the celebration of some of the fantastic local producers and street food stalls makes you realise just how amazing we are when it comes to producing good things with great ingredients, grown and created on our front door.
Music: Thu 1, Fri 2 & Sat 3 September Food & Craft: Sat 3 Sept
The Nourish Festival will bring some of the region’s top food producers and craft makers to Bovey Tracey, alongside a programme of nationally and internationally renowned musicians.
This year, Nourish Festival launches The Devon Street Food Awards, a lively competition to decide who is the Best Street producer in Devon. Devon is packed full of inspirational and exciting street food producers and Nourish celebrates our Food Heroes. The Nourish Food Fairwill fill Bovey’s high street with some of the best producers from the South West on Sat 3 September. Stalls will be selling a huge variety of locally produced food including artisan cheeses, preserves, handmade chocolates, oils, pies and speciality mushrooms.
A selection of street food will offer Caribbean, Spanish, Moroccan, wood fired Italian pizza, French crepes, Mexican, local seafood and the good old British Banger.
The Bovey Bake Off and Junior Bovey Bake Off will get the community reaching for their mixing bowls. The competition will be judged by Bovey’s own Queen of Cakes, Pauline Woodward. The Nourish Contemporary Craft Fair will be hosted in the Methodist Church Hall, showcasing beautiful handmade craft from across the South West with craft demonstrations and other events taking place at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. Exceptional makers from across the South West will present an inspirational selection of jewellery, pottery, glass, textiles and wood.
The NourishMusic programme from 1-3 September will see the internationally renowned Brodsky Quartet return with Schubert’s Death & The Maiden.
The Festival also features the Westcountry debut of the Dutch group, Calefax Reed Quintet, whose flair for performance and communication is matched only by their musicianship. In their 30-year career Calefax have played all the great music festivals and venues across Europe. For Nourish they present a fairytale-inspired programme, including Tchaikovsky, Ellington & Ravel, and featuring Bach’s iconic Chaconne.
Nourish Festival organiser Sarah James said:
“We are delighted that Nourish Festival has been welcomed so warmly to Bovey Tracey. It has been a success for the stall holders and craft makers visiting the town, for the local traders, and best of all for the local community. There is such a buzz in the town with so many people visiting the food stalls, talking to expert craftspeople and taking part in our own Bovey Bake Off. I’m also very excited about the new Devon Street Food Awards, we’ve had a huge response from Devon’s food companies.
“The music programme continues to be a tremendous success, and I look forward to welcoming The Brodsky Quartet once more. Calefax Reed Quintet from the Netherlands is a very exciting addition to our programme. The Devon Guild’s Japanese exhibition inspired us and the Thursday performance at the Guild is an evening of puppetry and music with a Japanese theme. Kagemusha Taiko drumming will raise the roof at the Methodist Hall on Saturday. A weekend to remember”
Its competition fever here at Eating Exeter! In our third competition this summer, we have a family ticket to this year’s Powderham Food Festival up for grabs. This one is a Twitter competition, so get on Twitter and get retweeting!
As ever our competitions are super easy, and you’ll need your wits about you as you follow the instructions on the image below! Simply Retweet this image making sure you mention @eatingexeter and @powderhamfest using the hashtag #powderhamfest.
Well what a great day out as always; we went to Dartington Food Fair on day 1 of its 2 day event held over Sunday 29th and Monday 30th May. Now in its 6th year, and held at The Shops at Dartington in conjuction with Food and Drink Devon, this perfectly formed fair works well hosting over 40 local food and drink producers alongside the normal shops on site.
Thankfully the sun shone, surpassing 20 degrees C!
It was great to see Susy Atkins again, and she was giving ad-hoc tastings to anyone who ventured into the Devon Drinks shop – I tried some Lyme Bay 2014 Shoreline, Steve had the Dartington Elmhurst Ale, and I also tried the very tasty Sharpham Sparkling Pink Brut. I loved this last drink – a lovely light fizz I thought, light sherberty taste almost and Susy told us about how it has been made using the champagne method, certainly one to buy for a treat or celebration!
As well as catching up with well known local companies such as Blueberry Brothers, from whom Steve bought a Blueberry Ale and Norcotts Cider who make our favourite Elderflower Cider which I highly recommend even for the non-cider fans such as me (I hear cider fans gasp in horror, but I am afraid it is true). Bell and Luxton were also there who have a new basil oil which is a delight, and the fab South Devon Chilli Farm were also showing their wares.
Some new discoveries were made today – Bini, with her new business Sweet Cumin which consists of home cooked Indian ready meals, South Hams Brewery who had a lovely amber beer called Devon Pride and a light amber ale with a hint of Stokeley honey called Stumble Bee. We also came across Ebb Tides who were selling sustainably hand harvested seaweeds including kelp, dulse and sea salad in both bags and grinder options (it was their first outing for the business so we wish them luck in their foodie adventure!). Steve tried everything and is certainly a fan already. And last but certainly not least we discovered New Lion Brewery with beers crafted in Totnes, they had a lovely Totnes Stout and real treat of a chilli beer called Scorpion IPA – a triumph of a beer for a chilli head with a good heat in the middle of the palet and a touch of lemon came though on the tip of your tongue.
We watched Favis in the demo tent show us how to crack open a crab, and Exeter Cookery School were to follow to showcase co-owner and chef Jim’s spun sugar skills. There were other chef demos earlier in the day as well. There was Crazy about Clay for young and old alike, cast your vote for the best scarecrow, meet some rare breed animals, forage tours on the estate and of course, after all this, the food tents and bars outside providing lunch and much needed refreshment.
Our son was delighted at the sight of the Dartington Dairy Ice Cream and, with mint being his favourite flavour, he throughly enjoyed a scoop of their mint ice cream made with fresh mint from the Dartington gardens picked this morning – incredibly fresh and light.
So a great free day out with the only cost being £2 for all day parking. I highly recommend it; go on Bank Holiday Monday if you don’t already have plans!
Being a foodie can be an organisational nightmare sometimes. Devon and The South West has so many fantastic foodie things going on, so as you might think there are many opportunities to celebrate the fantastic produce we are known for.
There are food festivals happening all over our fair county. The excitement of the Exeter Food Festival might have passed for this year, but there are other festivals happening over summer. Here are just a few for your diary! I expect there are more, but this is just a selection, with handy screendumps of websites too – click the text (not the screendump) to get to the website.
Wow – what a weekend! I hope everyone who attended the festival had a great time, I certainly did. We are avid food market and festival go-ers in Devon, Cornwall and beyond, and I believe this is the largest and best food festival in the South West. Now in its 13th year, it is still going from strength to strength.
My poor Samsung phone was used and abused with the amount of pictures I took, so this review will be more of a feast for the eyes, in order to capture the spirit and joy of such an event.
I attended the event on Saturday and Sunday; the former on my own so I could whizz round a bit more, catch up with some foodie acquaintances who were exhibiting, and also enjoy the VIP lounge and the latter with my chef husband and my 6yr old son. I enjoyed myself thoroughly both days – this is certainly a festival for anyone – singletons, couples, groups and families. The initial area around the castle contains the ‘take-away’ food tents serving an eclectic mix of meals, along with a newly placed and larger bar area, with the music stage in the usual place.
Leading off the castle terrace is the VIP lounge which is a great treat if you purchase the upgraded ticket. It includes VIP access to a room where you can escape the hustle and bustle, enjoy a coffee at any time, 2 drinks from the bar, afternoon tea as well as a relaxing treat from a massage therapist (provided this year by the award winning Wear Park Spa, based at Exeter Golf and Country Club) – all included in the price! I sat down and enjoyed a wonderful hand exfoliation and massage, treating my weary typing hands to stress relief for 15 minutes. I grabbed one of my free refreshments in a take-away cup from the bar, and off I went, feeling refreshed.
I continued down to Northernhay Gardens and caught a cookery demo in both the Cookery Theatre, hosted by co-founder Michael Caines MBE (pictured below with me) and the Westcountry Bakery hosted by Great British Bake Off contestant and local teacher-turned-cookbook author Glenn Cosby. Plenty of room for people to sit and enjoy the various demo’s from the array of local talent we are lucky to have in the county.
I sat at home that evening feeling very satisfied and on a bit of a high actually from a really delightful couple of hours.
The Sunday was a more thorough adventure, working our way through the Food and Drink Pavilions with over 100 artisan food and drink producers – I made a concious decision to have very little breakfast in order to really savour the delights on offer. Endless treats in offer – beer, wine, gin, cheese, desserts, jerky, cured meats, curry kits, pies, preserves – the list goes on. Well laid out, with enough room between each stand – this event is pushchair and wheelchair friendly thanks to the wide aisles in the tent – although on a very busy day it could prove a slight struggle but by no fault of the organisers, more so the effect of such a good reputation that many flock here in their droves.
We sat in the Food is Fun Teepee on a pretty yet simply decorated bench table to enjoy a demo from Darts Farm’s head chef Paul Matthews who cooked salmon over applewood smoke, the juiciest ever pork belly and then lemon mousse, whilst some matching wines from the renowned Pebblebed were discussed by an expert. Delicious tasters were passed round on wooden platters, along with wine tasters to match. All extremely delightful!
Behind us children were enjoying making their own pizzas, decorating cupcakes and then being entertained with food science by Fun Kitchen. Further along from the Food Pavilions was Little Cookies with Fun Fast Food (healthier alternatives), Food is Fun Kids Cooking and Kenniford Farm with their beautiful farm animals, as well a some face painting and junk modelling – enough to keep the children entertained.
A few craft stalls were place down the Queen Street end of the gardens if you fancied a purchase for your home, yourself or perhaps a gift for someone else. Walking back up the hill, we re-entered the Food Pavilions for round 2 and some final purchases.
All in all, a fantastic event for any food lover, in fact, anyone who wants a good time with food, drink and music a plenty. The After Dark Festival was on again this year, with live music going on until late, for which you could buy tickets separately and just have a good night out even if you didn’t want to attend the main festival in the day.
I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into making this a smoothly running and enjoyable day so a huge thanks and congrats to co-founder Michael Caines MBE and his teams for their vision and hard work. Of course all hail the brave and hardworking local suppliers too, without them there would be nothing to enjoy.
Thanks to mother nature for the fabulous weather on Saturday and Sunday, which makes this type of event all the more enjoyable. I can’t wait until next year! If you can’t wait either, I can tell you the dates to put in your diary already: 21st – 23rd April 2017. See you there!
Susy Atkins is the weekly columnist for the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine, as well as drinks editor of the brilliant and stylish ‘delicious’ magazine. She also writes a wine column for the South West’s own magazine ‘food’. She appears regularly on BBC1’s flagship cookery show ‘Saturday Kitchen’ as wine expert, from time to time on BBC radio, local and national, and has written or edited eleven books on wine and drinks. She is also Champagne Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards Short Copy Columnist award winner 2014.
In the run up to her appearance at the Exeter Food and Drink Festival, I thought I’d ask Susy a few questions about this fabulous event, her favourite food and whether or not she only drinks wine.
1. You’re hosting some wine and cheese tastings this year, what can people look forward to?
The cheese and wine tastings will feature a wide range of wines, English and international, with tutored tastings from a range of experts ranging from the winemakers to the importers, with me hosting most of the events and talking to the guest speakers. And there will be at least 4 delicious south-west cheeses to sample with them at each one!
2. Do you get to wander around and immerse yourself in the atmosphere as well as enjoying lots of tasters from the suppliers?
Yes, I always find time for a wander around at the Festival – so many things to sample and people to say hi to.
3. What is your favourite type of grape or country producing wine at the moment?
It’s a tricky one, I would have to say Spain fascinates me more than any other wine country right now – the sheer variety of the wines (including sherry, I am a big fan of that!) is brilliant, and the newly emerging areas of the north-west are worth watching… then again, Chile is another remarkable wine country at the moment, moving into new areas of vineyard planting – can I have then both?!
4. Do you only drink wine or are there drinks do you enjoy?
I am mostly a wine girl – there aren’t many other drinks I ever order over wine, but I do like good cider and also enjoy the occasional gin and tonic, especially now there are so many fine gins on the scene.
5. If someone was new to wine, what would you suggest they start with?
If you are new to wine, you could start with our own English whites – as they are light, and crisp and refreshing and relatively easy going, they are a lovely way into the subject. There will be plenty of opportunities to sample South-west English wines at the Festival. I’ll be showing some to guests on Saturday pm at the Dart’s Farm tipi – come along and join us…
6. We are lucky to have quite a few vineyards in Devon; how do English wines compare to warmer climates?
Because of our cool climate we tend to make wines with quite high acidity (so crisp fresh qualities) in England, and our wines tend to be relatively low in alcohol compared to wines from hotter parts of the world.
7. On the food side, any favourite food or meal discoveries lately, locally or abroad?
I’ve just come back from the Douro Valley in northern Portugal which is port country and enjoyed some fabulous food while there. The seafood is great and they have wonderful custard tarts with flaky pastry and cinnamon on top called pasteis de nata with coffee which are dangerously moreish…
8. During your travels, I’m sure you eat out a lot but when you are home near Exeter where do you navigate towards for a nice meal?
Yes I do eat out far and wide. But close to my home in the Teign Valley (8 miles west of Exeter) we eat out at The Nobody Inn, and we love a family Sunday lunch at our ‘local’, the Bridford Inn. In Exeter itself, I am a huge fan of The Curry Leaf for the sort of Indian food – much of it vegetarian – that I used to love when I lived in London.
9. When not tasting, discovering or talking about wine, what do you like to do to relax?
To relax I swim quite a lot – mainly with my sons who are now faster than me! – and I go out walking on Dartmoor with our huge labradoodle, Truman. Last weekend my husband Ian and I took Truman up to Mardon Down for a beautiful early evening walk. I also sing with a couple of local choral societies.
10. What are your plans for the Summer and beyond?
This summer we’ll be going on a family holiday in France as well as taking several trips to Dartmouth which is a town I love. But it has to fit around the various food festivals where I’ll be giving talks and holding tastings this year – Exeter is the first one of the Spring and I love this festival especially as it is my home city – but I’ll be heading off around the country later on!