We are once again in the season for some amazing foodstuff produce, and food festivals are a true statement for offerings from towns all over the country.
This year I was blessed to be a part of the Christchurch Food And Wine Festival, so how could I not do a piece to enlighten you on how it went…
As Treasurer, I knew the enormity of its yearly potential way before the weekend even kicked off. Well over 100 exhibitors turned up with their food and drink specialities to sell to the public and gain some all-important customers for the future; from meat specialists, to exquisite rum cakes (obviously a favourite of mine).
This was easily matched by the thousands who came to see what had been laid on all throughout the town.
The people of Christchurch, including the members of the recent BBC Three programme ‘Invasion of the Job Snatchers’ got the chance to see top celebrity chefs such as ‘Spiceman’, Cyrus Todiwala, and resident Festival Chef Lesley Waters, perform dishes in the demonstration marquee all afternoon.
My cocktail partner in crime, Senor Tommo Quy, and I got a decent slot on the Sunday with Dancing On Ice and Food Network star, Matt Evers, during his family BBQ session with his influences from America.
Whilst he cooked up some amazing sticky ribs and a ‘beer butt’ chicken (with Budweiser of course) we presented a modern day pirate theme serve called ‘Sending Out An SMS’, with the likes of an Eagle decanter smoked with Apple Wood, a soy sauce foam, our Chinese 5-Spice syrup and our favourite Gin, Langley’s No.8.
I also hosted a ‘Christchurch Bar War Shake Off’ on the Monday between the Captain’s Club Hotel and the King’s Arms Hotel, which seemed rather fitting to the humble air in the town, in that the result was actually a dead heat draw.
Christchurch has been my working home for the past year now, and although its size may attempt to prove differently, it is actually the best place I have ever worked in for the standard and enthusiasm for food and drink.
It is also very easy (if you put the effort in) to get well known for what you do in and around the area, and right now in the workplace it definitely seems like the ‘not what you know, who you know’ statement is the way forward.
If you are looking for a way forward in networking, hospitality greatness, and of course a glorious place to live, Christchurch is one of the best options around.
Back with food festivals though, I will leave you with a few main foodie visitor tips for your future travels.
1.) Make sure you get it into your head that you will spend money before you get there.
Many people turn up as something to do for a couple hours with no cash, but if you are a foodie person, you will just want to keep eating and buying stuff for home, and you will feel annoyed leaving with nothing and on an empty stomach.
2.) Scope the stalls out first before you eat, then set your second route around like a proper course meal.
Start off with some fresh marinade olives from a little Italian stall. Then try a little scallop dish with pork belly, go for a walk and then hit the big meat guns like duck or boar for a main course, then walk some more… Afterwards of course, try the sweets, and then my downfall; the cheeses.
On your walks fill your time with the buying the drinks; some nice wine, or ale, or the classic summer epiphany: a G&T.
Finally to walk off your food, pick the usual fancy stuff up for the kitchen like the rustic chopping boards and garlic peelers, tomorrow’s dinner, and of course something for the dog.
Cheers everyone, and happy food festival-ling!