Thursday, 26 September 2013

Lincolnshire Food Festival 2013

*Apologies if you are hungry and awaiting lunch or dinner, but this post contains LOTS of images of delicious food!*

What is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of September? Apart from Autumn coming, I think of harvest which can only mean one thing - food! British Food Fortnight began on 21st September, and to kick the celebrations off in Lincolnshire was the Lincolnshire Food Festival 2013.

Despite a relatively small number of producers on show (there were some big Lincolnshire names missing!), there was something for all kinds of tastes; freshly roasted, locally reared pulled pork, organic vegetables straight from the farm, artisan cheeses, chutneys, jams, cakes and handmade chocolates made using local dairy produce. After tucking into a giant pulled pork and stuffing bun straight from the Hog Roast at Hog and Rooster, it was time to sample some of the other local delicacies on offer.

The biggest surprise, for me, had to be the Lemon Cheese from Lymn Bank Farm. These are two flavours I never thought would go together, let alone try myself, but it was actually really, really tasty! The cheese was quite subtle, not too strong (my kind of cheese!), and you got just a little hint of lemon to sweeten.

For dessert, I had to have a gelato form The Little Chocolatier. They had some wonderful flavours on offer - strawberry shortcake, keylime pie and lemon meringue - but I opted for good old vanilla, and it was delicious! Made with Lincolnshire dairy, the ice cream was incredibly creamy, just the way I like it.

The theme for the Lincolnshire Food Festival was 'Around the World and Back Again', and you could find plenty of international foods and those from around Britain too.

I sampled some of the jam, jelly and marmalade made by The Cherry Tree, who are based in the West Country, and my personal favourite had to be blackcurrant and sloe gin - what a tangy combination! It really was delicious.

As well as a variety of olives, nuts, curries, crepes and hot dogs straight from Yorkshire, there was one exhibitor in particular that offered quite a selection - Exotic Game. If you wanted a burger, you had a choice of bison, kangaroo, ostrich, water buffalo, and more. I didn't try anything, but I know a happy customer enjoyed his kangaroo burger.

Towards the back of Meridian Park, Cleethorpes, was the demonstration area; myself and DC sat down to watch Steven Bennett, the Executive Chef of The Comfy Duck restaurant at the Oaklands Hall Hotel in Laceby.

DC and I actually had a lovely meal at the Comfy Duck not too long ago (blog post coming soon!), and he absolutely loved his ribeye steak, so we listened to Steven's tricks of the trade for cooking the perfect steak. It is safe to say that he had a lot of people wanting to try samples.

On the Sunday, Levi Roots attended the Food Festival and showed off his cooking skills in the demonstration area, but unfortunately I couldn't be there that day to catch him.

And, it wasn't just food at the Food Festival (surprisingly!). There were numerous stalls from the area promoting their kitchen utensils, vintage crockery and homeware, as well as charities. Also in attendance was Estuary TV, the new, local television programme which launches in November.

Emma, the Estuary TV's News Editor, was on hand to talk about what is to come on the channel. It will be broadcast on Freeview and will cover East Riding, right across to Lincoln and down towards the south of the county.

And then, hidden at the back of the arena was another tent from North East Lincolnshire council and Vanel.

Inside was a giant 3D map of Cleethorpes, and visitors to the tent were invited to identify problem areas and make suggestions on how a grant can be used to improve the area. From what I was told, this was a very popular way of getting feedback.

British Food Fortnight now runs on until 6th October, and there are many more Lincolnshire foodie events happening in between now and the end of the year too, so there is plenty for you to get your teeth stuck into. 


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