Much as we love our jobs, sometimes it’s good for everyone to get out and about and take in the local culture – and for us nothing gets better than the Fleet Food Festival. This is the second year in a row it’s been run, and the first year we had attended, and it was a fantastic family day out. It’s taken us a bit of time to get round to writing it up (it took place the last weekend in May!) but it’s always worth praising local effort, and hopefully inspire some of you to visit next year!
One of the highlights of the day for us was the amazing selection of talks and demonstrations going on in the marquees all day. It was almost impossible to choose between some of the talk and demos, and the smells coming from the tents were delicious! The tents were split into 2 – the Food and Wine tent and the Demonstration tent.
In the Demonstration tent you would leave with your mouth watering! We learnt how to make a sweet and healthy raspberry tart, and the traditional chip shop plate with a twist from head chef Rob Kennedy was by far our favourite. We didn’t manage to catch them all, but there were a total of 5 different demos over the course of the day, from chefs like Andrew Ryder (of the Phoenix Inn), Vittorio Cassia and Gareth Jones.
The Food and Drinks talk tent was our favourite spot for the day, with talks from the local farmers about how to get involved in community farms, master mixologists explaining the art (and science) behind the perfect cocktail and even local wine bar Cellar Magneval made an appearance to talk about the perfect blending of wine. All of this was topped off with an interesting insight into the history of gin from Winchester based distillery and finished with the perfect end to every day – a passion for coffee.
Stalls & Vendors
Of course, it wouldn’t be a local festival without the local businesses of Fleet selling their delicious wares. You could spend hours wondering the fields, going from stall to stall tasting all manner of delicious things. From olives to chocolates, pickles to curries and spicy Rwandan chilli sauces and even freshly made pizzas, there was something to suit everyone’s tastes. And of course no festival would be complete without an ice cream stand!
For the adults, if you needed a bit of ‘grown up’ time, there was a Pint N’ A Pimms tent, which was serving a wonderful selection of locally brewed ales and beers to enjoy in the sunshine. You could even meet the people who brewed the beer you were drinking in a quaint festival tent next to a selection of live bands.
Something For The Kids
For anyone who worried about taking your kids to a food festival, they could not have been more wrong. One of the many marquees and tents was set up as ‘Willy Wonka’s Marquee, and featured lots of activities for children of all ages. Umpa Lump games kept everyone entertained on the lawns, while inside the children got creative, designing their own sun catchers and making & decorating sweets (I hope they brushed their teeth afterwards!) Local businesses Mind the Garden and Buttons Parties had both chipped in to keep the tent going, showing youngsters how to plant their own seeds and a huge selection of arts and crafts activities as well.
If you didn’t manage to make it along this year, you definitely missed a trick! But you shouldn’t worry; they’ve had so much success for the last 2 years that they have already confirmed they will be back next May! We can’t wait for it to come around and hope to see some of you there!