After a brief journey into the present, today we're stepping into the time machine and heading back to August. For the second week of our holidays, Chickpea and I headed south to stay with my friend Gill and her family. When we arrived, she surprised me with a belated birthday/early Christmas present of tickets to the Foodie Festival. And not just standard tickets but VIP tickets! I was so thrilled and excited I couldn't wait to go!
On arrival we went to the VIP area where we were greeted with a glass of champagne while we chose which of the demonstrations we wanted to see.
It was also a great place to sit and soak up the atmosphere before heading out to work our way around the stalls trying as many samples as we could. Our VIP tickets also came with a voucher for a free meal from three of the stalls so we chose a plate from each to try out the different styles: Turkish, Indian and British. The Turkish turned out to be our favourite and particularly a marinated chicken kebab - so much flavour!
Soon it was time for the first demonstration which was by Bonne Maman who were promoting their individually wrapped madeleines. The lady showed how they could be used and decorated in different ways. We enjoyed the free sample at the end but it was a bit too much of a sales pitch for me.
Much better was Sophie Grigson who showed us three meals from one poached chicken. She's just as lovely as she seems on TV and was wearing an enormous pair of earrings like she does on TV too. Although I have her book Sunshine Food, I think I've only used it for the recipe for limoncello! Really must dig it out as the food looked and smelled amazing. Annoyingly we weren't allowed to taste it though - those pesky health and safety police.
We also, unsurprisingly, enjoyed the chocolate tasting session! We were all given a sample of Divine dark chocolate and David (from Coeur de Xocolat) talked us through touch, smell and taste. Melt slowly in the mouth to release all the flavours. Mmmmmm - I love dark chocolate. We did the same with some milk chocolate and then again with a dark piece containing orange and ginger.
The lady in the photo is Fiona of Sciolti Botanical Chocolates who had a gorgeous stand of chocolates made with fruits, flowers, teas and herbs. She demonstrated how to make a truffle using some pink gin that another stall holder was selling - no problems with the health and safety police here so we were allowed a taste and, oooo, it was good!
To end our visit, it was back to the VIP area for a cocktail - I can't remember what it was called but it included mashed up strawberries and vodka (daiquiri?).
Even better there was a rock group playing at the time so Chickpea and I swayed around and tossed our hair with cocktail in hand until it was time to leave.
Of course we couldn't come away without buying something - a small bottle of toffee vodka for our homemade cocktails, toffee apple popcorn and some apple vinegar drizzle.
Later that evening we toasted marshmallows to make smores and sat by the fire until the only thing visible was the glow of the flames and the stars and, in the distance, the hoot of tawny owls. A lovely end to a lovely day. x