Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ludlow Food Festival

Ludlow Food Festival, 10-12 September 2010

The setting of Ludlow Castle provided a beautiful backdrop to the 2010 Ludlow Food Festival, if a somewhat sprawling layout.  Two circuits were needed to ensure you had seen all 130 small independent food and drink producers drawn from the Marches (the England/Wales border country) to this the 15th annual festival.  Despite these days attracting an international audience, it still manages to retain a local village fete feel.  Not only were there Awards for 'The Festival Sausage' and 'The Festival Loaf', but also for the winner of the 'Home Bread Makers Competition' and the 'Ludlow Window Dressing Competition'. 

As far as the stallholders were concerned, the Festival certainly showed this area has plenty of quality producers.  Amongst them, Penmincae Welsh Black Beef and Lamb, Shrewsbury Bakehouse, and Stonehouse Brewery.
Rhug Organic Estates were providing classy beef and bison burgers, KK Ventures Indian food including delicious Onion Bhajis, and many a thirst was slaked by The Ludlow Brewing Company.

My vote for most interesting stand has to go to Ludlow and District Beekeepers Association.  Selling honey and beekeeping products alongside masses of information on keeping your own bees and even a comb with active bees.  Most heartwarming was the Help for Heroes stand where £2 bought you a plate of stew.  It did look suspiciously like squaddies' rations, but then why not.  Rose Prince easily took my prize for best cookery demo persuading everyone of the delights of cheaper beef cuts onglet and bavette.

There was a veritable lake of beer, cider and perry, and the number of preserves producers had me wondering just how many jars of jam each British household must have at the back of their kitchen cupboards. Blustery, rainy weather and a flying stuffed boar's head landing at my feet told me it was time to leave.  Not my favourite food festival of the year but accessability may have coloured my judgment.  It's certainly a unique setting.