Rutland Food Festival

September 16, 2012

I made a late decision yesterday to drive over to Empingham for the Rutland Food Festival. A very good decision as it turned out.

For once in this rain-sodden summer it was a lovely warm sunny day. The festival had a sumptuous setting by Rutland Water, where over a hundred little sailboats were having some sort of race thing (come on, you all saw the Olympics – who had a clue what was going on?)

It was, in Rutland style, a small but classy event. Cooking presentations from leading local chefs including Brian Baker, Sean Hope and Dameon Clarke and around maybe 30 food stalls including familiar stalwarts such as Pick’s organic meats and Hambleton Bakery, newer businesses such as baked goods from Les Rosbifs restsaurant (left)  and Johannah’s Patisserie. I picked up a end of festival box from the later which included some of the best bakewell tart I’ve ever encountered. They are opening a shop next month in Oakham so look out if you’re over there. 

Other goodies I came away with included venison from Fen Farm, pain Levain from Les Rosbifs, spicy plum chutney from Rutland Preserves, spicy N’awleans  rub from Gourmet Spice Company, and a bit of punt, a bottle of Rutland table wine – a Bacchus from Abbey vineyards. A little tasting suggested an off-dry wine with a surprising amount off fruit showing through. Whether it will hold-up away from the feel-good environment of a sunny food festival I’m not sure but at £6.50 it felt like a deal. 

I ended up staying most of the day helping sign-up people for the Great Food Club, along with fellow Great Food magazine contributor Hazel Paterson and partner Glen.  Hazel’s a really creative cook and photographer, if you’re not already following her work in the magazine or  through her blog and tweets, I recommend you investigate.

A strange day out

November 3, 2011

I’m claiming a world first tonight. The first person ever to visit a two Michelin star restaurant and sit outside finishing off a Gregg’s Steak Bake.

It was probably the most surreal moment of a pretty strange day that had seen me visit dozens of the region’s finest restaurant, delis and cafes – and leave without eating in any of them. I was helping deliver the new edition – indeed Christmas edition –  of Great Food magazine to sales points and some prestige restaurants  who are keen to have a few copies for diners to browse. It was a day done at breakneck speed around Melton, Grantham and Nottingham. It was a great chance to visit venues such as the  the newly-Michelin listed Berkeley Arms in Wymondham  but very frustrating to  just drop and go (I know what I’m having when I do get back there – pork and black pudding terrine with crab apple jelly and toast, followed by roasted guinea fowl with wild mushroom and pearl barley risotto and carmelised poached pear with blackcurrant sorbet.)

A steak bake recently

Eventually then I was parked up in Nottingham dropping off at venues such as World  Service and Harts and time was getting short. It was 6.15pm and I had to be back in Leicester in a hour. I’d not eaten all day, I had  a £20 note and I needed  change for the car park. Well what would you have done? Gregg’s it was. But I had one last drop to make – under the flyover on Lenton Lane at Restaurant Sat Bains.  I felt somehow that I  was sullying the car park by bring in the salty, rather gristly pasty thing, but there you go – we all have to get by as we can.

It was worth rushing back to Leicester  – a tasting of rieslings at the splendid Evington’s.

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