Brew Food Festival 

Brew Food Festival

Last Sunday Steve and I walked down to the station to catch a train to Taunton. I had heard of a brand new food festival situated at the Brewhouse Theatre both inside and out. The Brew Food Festival ran over two days and showcased delights from the region in the form of food stalls and demonstrations. The brainchild of Annabel McCabe from Click Your Heels Event Management and Michelle Beck from By Invitation Event Management. They wanted to create a festival feel to the  occasion. There was live music with local singers and groups interspersed between the local food producers and the food to go stands which certainly created a relaxed atmosphere for mooching.

The festival was split into different areas with the main auditorium at The Brewhouse being a perfect stage for the cooking demonstrations. We managed to sneak in at around midday and caught Ashley Farmer from Tristens Bistro. He demonstrated a simple dish comprising of a plaice fillet rolled with a crab meat filling. Surprising easy to do and something that I will definitely recreate at home.

This demonstration led us nicely into lunch time. We walked around the “food to go” area that had a whole host of delicacies to choose from. Steve opted for a pulled chicken dish from Lola’s Wings but that was lots of other choice in the form of noodles from Hungry Tiger, Greek food from Polly Nostimo’s and delicious cheesey comfort food from Gourmet Mac and Cheese to name but a few. We sat in the autumnal sunshine whilst Steve gobbled up his pulled chicken fries.

I decided that I wanted to buy some foodie bits from the traders and the area I centred on the most was the Taunton Farmers Market. The farmers market in Taunton has recently won gold in the Taste of the West awards as well as Best South West Farmers Market. You can tell how passionate the traders are and it was a pleasure to chat to them all. I enjoyed purchasing a few bits to stock the larder for the week. I spoke to a lovely gentleman called Ray from Ray’s Veg who told me about his farm. He farms with organic methods but isn’t certified organic due to the animals he keeps. I purchased some parsnips, carrots and chard from him and the whole lot cost £3.50. Plus he threw in a homegrown red chilli as a gift for me! What a nice guy. Supper that evening was a delicious spiced parsnip, carrot and lentil soup using Ray’s veg – and it was delicious!

Moving on from Ray I started talking to two charming men from Common Loaf Bakery. A Devon based bakery situated at Stentwood Farm at Dunkeswell. They specialise in homebaked bread and sweet treats made with rye and spelt flours. I had come across them previously at the Devon County Show where I had purchased the most divine fruit loaf which had left me with a hankering for more of their delicious baked goods. I was so pleased to come across them again. After trying lots of yummy samples, Steve and I decided on a Mexican spiced spelt focaccia and some peanut butter granola. The focaccia went down a storm dipped in my homemade chunky veg soup that evening (made from Ray’s veg!). Whilst talking to the two lovely chaps I found out that they visit Honiton Farmers Market every Tuesday so I will certainly be getting the train to Honiton for another Common Loaf fix soon!

Alongside Ray’s Veg and Common Loaf there was a selection of beautiful cheeses from Blackdown Hills cheese. All of which I tried and can safely say they were divine. If only my fridge wasn’t full of cheese from my recent trip to Quicke’s farm otherwise that would have come home with me too. I would have liked to have tried some marshmallow from Grown Up Marshmallows but I couldn’t get near the stall. It was proving very popular with the visitors. Next time perhaps?

From the award winning Farmers Market area I moved on to more food traders. I picked up some delicious looking garlic mushroom bread and a piece of bread pudding from Winnie’s Bakery. The bread pudding was shared with Steve over a cup of tea from Toot Sweets. It brought back memories of growing up and eating my Nan’s homemade bread pudding. So good!

From here we moved inside the theatre where more traders were selling their wares. I stumbled across a lovely lady called Sam who makes her own nut butters, gluten free brownies and cakes. Liberty Cakes are based near Yeovil in Stoke Sub Hamdon and produce hand crafted raw tarts with decadent fillings and the most deliciously rich (but good for you!) brownies. I have to say that the nut butters were particularly good and I hope to try more in the future. I purchased a tasty nut butter that had more of a savoury feel with a mix of cashews, walnuts and almonds all mixed up with some spices and a little hint of chilli. I can’t wait to crack open the jar and spread some of that yummy goodness on some toast.

The last item purchased was some cider from Ridgeway Ciders. Steve and I had purchased from Ridgeway before. They were at Cullompton Spring Festival last April and we were both happy to see them here. Steve picked up a 3 litre box and put it under his arm.. it really was the last thing that we could carry!

We had a very productive time at The Brew Food Festival. I feel like I have personally made some new foodie friends and can’t wait to see if there is a second one next year. Congratulations to Annabel and Michelle for putting on such a great show. You should be very proud of your achievements. I think that Brew Food Festival can only go from strength to strength from here!

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