Saturday the 15th of June was the main event of the week long Bridport Food Festival and despite weather that was far closer to a winter’s day, folks turned up in droves and by all measures adopted a stiff upper lip & got on with having some fun. The festival was originally conceived and launched by River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall back in 2004 and now in its 10th year the festival attracts many locals as well as a decent chunk of out-of-towners (like us).
We were quite impressed with the size, scope and depth of the festival – pretty much something to interest or tempt just about everyone (we managed to open our wallets on numerous occasions). If you had a hunger pang, a smorgasbord of food options were on offer; if you needed to quench a pestering thirst, the Roundtable Beer festival was doing a roaring business and there was just about every other form of comestible delicacy for taste or sale.
Besides seeing many new producers, it was also nice to see some known and old favourites. We had previously met The Bartlett family and sampled Wootton Organic Diary’s wares at the monthly Bridport Farmers Market. Their festival stand was swarming with cheesey folks but we managed to snag a serious chunk of the Millstone, an unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese that was bursting with flavour.
Another recognisable and nice to see face at the festival were the folks from Bothen Hill Organic Produce. They are our ‘go to’ people for our weekly seasonal asparagus fix (we find them at our farm shop local Miller’s in Kilmington) where we usually have to purchase at least 2 bunches to quell the craving. You can also visit the farm on Fridays from 10 to 12 to get your asparagus fresh as but make sure you study your map & directions closely as they be off the beaten track.
And it was no surprise to us to find Capreolus Fine Foods and Wyld Meadow Farm in the festival lineup. Capreolus’s Dave (head popping out from the sausage row below) knows his way around a cornucopia of charcuterie and he makes excellent use of Dorset & Devon’s key ingredient – meat. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, the art of charcuterie or smoking meats is not as widely practised in the UK as it is in Italy or Spain to name just two but Capreolus can fill the void just fine.
And Wyld Meadow Farm is on our weekly shopping list (again, we find them well stocked at Miller’s Farm Shop) for carefully, well raised beef and lamb. It is not only important what quality food you eat but more directly what your animals eat & how they are cared for that makes all the difference.
And to make it a fun fest for the whole crowd, dogs were most welcome. In addition to several sausage samples, Hound #1 found a new friend…he likes the fluffy ones.