It is no hidden secret that one of the best ways to get to my heart is by going through my stomach. If I am not eating food, then I am talking about food and if I am not talking about food, then I am definitely thinking about it! Food is a priority that is always on my mind. In fact, I am almost 100 percent positive that I was Joey Tribbiani in a pervious life, (If you have no idea what I am talking about, then please politely let yourself out now as we can no longer be FRIENDS!) ..Pardon the pun.
With that being said, you shouldn’t find it too surprising once I tell you that when this time of year comes around and everyone else is getting excited about music festivals, I am getting excited at the prospect of all of the Food Festivals which are taking place. Yes, festivals dedicated to all aspects revolving around food.. It is a thing, and it is a delicious thing at that!
Many different towns and cities up and down the UK (and over the World!) hold their very own Food Festivals every year for everyone to enjoy. As well as being a lovely day out for us visitors, they are also the ideal place for local food companies to share their own individual creations and gain more exposure for their brand. Although there is an abundance of Food Festivals to choose from to attend, it is the Shrewsbury Food Festival in particular which continues to be one of my personal favourites to visit.
Now, I may be slightly biased as Shrewsbury is my hometown, however, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns to explore in Shropshire. Known for its fascinating history, its medieval buildings and its incredible flower displays, Shrewsbury makes for the perfect idyllic destination. Not only is it a great location to visit for sightseeing, but the town also hosts many different events throughout the year which never disappoint; From fun-filled carnivals, to country-inspired shows as well as a variation of different festivals. If ever you get the chance to come and experience one of these events and see for yourself what Shrewsbury has to offer, then don’t miss out on it!
Anyway, I am rambling..Time to get back to what this post is about; Shrewsbury Food Festival. Every year Shrewsbury host their own Food Festival, and each year it continues to impress more than the last. With more than 150 exhibitors taking part, providing everything from delicious food to entertaining music, it definitely makes for a memorable day out.
It goes without saying that this festival is predominantly about all things FOOD. I mean yes, the clue is in the name isn’t it.. Talk about stating the obvious Alicia! Anyway, if you are anything like me and you are an absolute foodie, then you are (fingers crossed!) going to enjoy hearing all about the Shrewsbury Food Festival.
This year, it was promised that the festival was going to bigger and better than any previous years, and upon walking into The Quarry, that was instantly recognisable. The entire park was completely filled with rows upon rows of food tents and catering vans. I honestly felt a little overwhelmed to begin with.
Where was I to start?! Actually, that’s a silly question. Of course I started at the Churros stand.. It’s all about getting in that nutritious breakfast on a Saturday morning after all! After taking a minute to compose myself, I went off to explore around all of the different areas of the Park. Churros in one hand, a gin in the other, and I was ready to get going for the day! I started off by making my way around all of the tents first. Inside these were where we could try little testers of products and then buy any items which we wished to. It was definitely a sensation for the senses, walking around all of the stands to see, smell and taste some of the most delicious food products! What I enjoyed most about going around these was that no two stand were the same..The assortment of products was vast and impressive. Everything was there, from dairy products, to fresh produce, to fresh meat, to condiments and confectionery..You name it, Shrewsbury food festival had it! Having such a sweet tooth, I definitely gravitated mostly towards all of the confectionary stands. Ah, the doughnuts, the fudge, the brownies.. My inner fat Alicia was screaming with excitement! I suddenly had no control and wanted to eat everything in sight.
Once we had walked around all of the tents, and lined our stomach with little treats, it was time to get some proper, substantial food to eat. Many variations of mobile catering businesses were positioned around the park, so there was a lot to choose from. All different cuisines were available including Thai, Spanish, Mexican, French, Cuban and many more. As well as this there was also pizzas, burgers, fish and chips, and of course there were also some vegetarian and vegan options too. It was hard to decide on just one!
Some of the food companies that showcased themselves this year include;
- Amber’s Woodfired Kitchen ; Wood fired pizza catering for any event.
- Buddha Belly ; Authentic thai street food.
- The Ginger Cow ; Gourmet vegan street food.
- The Grub Shed ; Serving British food from locally sourced ingredients.
- The Craft Waffle Company ; Specialising in sweet waffles, topped off with innovative flavour combinations.
As well as having mobile catering, people offering tasters and companies selling their products, there was also talks and demos going on throughout the course of day too. This was where everyone had the opportunity to watch and listen to the professionals, and take on board their inspiring cooking tips. There was a mixture of local chefs, recognisable celebrity chefs and even michelin star chefs all taking part. This was a lovely aspect of the day as it gave us a real insight into their individual cooking techniques. Each of the chefs took to the stage at different times during the day and using their specialist skills, they chose their best dish to create in front of the audience. With some of the demos, we could even take part ourselves!
Separate cooking stations were set up inside the tents all ready for people to go and whip up a tasty dish, following the instructions from professional chefs. It was also like an amateur version of The Great British Bake Off (but with cooking!) and it was fantastic. Overall, spending the day at the Shrewsbury food festival really opened my eyes up to how many incredible food companies there are which are so local to my home town.
I usually have this bad habit of just sticking to what I know and eating the same thing over and over again, so it was particularly nice for me to have the opportunity to be more adventurous and tease my tastebuds a little! All of the food exhibitors that took part in the day were absolutely wonderful..Seeing everything from there individual branding to their appetising end products intrigued me massively, and they all bought their unique flare to the day. After discovering many new businesses at the festival, I am now super excited to try out more of their delicious treats in the future. Apparently a day at Shrewsbury food festival is all it takes for me to forget about my diet!
Following all of that food tasting, it goes without saying that you need something to wash everything down with, right?! Well, luckily enough there were plenty of places around the festival where you could purchase the beverage of your choice. Whether you fancied a quenching soft drink to satisfy your thirst, a glass of bubbly to indulge in, or an ice-cold beer to cool you down, there was something which would tickle your tastebuds. This year, over 20 of the local businesses that took part at Shrewsbury Food Festival were in fact dedicated drinks companies. The variety had us spoilt for choice.
Some of the drinks companies which showcased themselves this year included;
- Gindifferent ; A quirky bar located in the heart of Shrewsbury specialising in over 75 gins.
- Champervan ; A uniquely restored VW Campervan mobile bar offering champagne and cocktails.
- Gundog Gin ; A company dedicated to creating gin liqueurs made in Herefordshire using locally sourced fruit.
- The Wood Brewery ; An artisan real ale producer and creators of best selling Shropshire beers.
- Paso-Primero ; Made in Spain. Born in Shropshire. Winemakers bringing boutique Spanish wines to Shrewsbury.
Being a self-confessed Gin fiend, I instantly had my sights clearly set on my chosen beverage for the day. Honestly, I think my gin addiction is becoming a problem. If my camera is not in my hand, then a large G&T is! That being said, I was particularly happy to see the amount of companies at the food festival which were solely based around the assortments of different gins. Not only was it great to try the testers of them, but it was also extremely interesting to discover more brands which I have never heard of before. Who knew that SO much gin existed in the World? What a great time to be alive! Of course I had to sample the majority of them. Given the opportunity, it would of been rude not to..Don’t you agree?!
Whilst (responsibly) sampling the different drinks, it is almost guaranteed that you will discover at least one which you absolutely love. For me, it was my fifth gin of the day, (Yes, I was pretty much drunk at this point, but I do still remember it!). It was a combination of Pickney’s premium gin, mixed with Mediterranean tonic water and garnished with grapefruit and rosemary… deliciously refreshing. Luckily, if you come across something which you want to be able to take home so that you can indulge in it again and again, then you can do just that! As well as having mobile bar catering for the day to enjoy whilst walking around, Shrewsbury food festival also invite companies along who wish to promote their brand and just sell their products by the bottle.
This is the perfect way for smaller local establishments to get their name out there to a wider audience and open up more business opportunities. Also, doesn’t part of the fun of a food festival include leaving with a goody bag of treats?! They’re always exciting to go through once you’re back at home! It is definitely fair to say that Shrewsbury food festival went above and beyond with the vast selection of drinks companies which they got involved this year. They catered for everybody and offered a range of everything and they certainly surpassed all expectations.
As well as providing delicious food and drink for the event, amazing entertainment was also on throughout the day too. There was music, archery, bubble football, giant board games, martial arts coaching, inflatable obstacle courses and much more too. People of all ages could find something to get involved in and enjoy.
For the main entertainment this year, Shropshire’s biggest entertainment venue, The Buttermarket, bought to us their Shropshire Unsigned live music stage. Talented new artists, both bands and singers, were scheduled in to perform across the day, starting at 11am and carrying on through until 6pm. They included a great mix of music and created the perfect backdrop to the food festival. The stage was positioned right in the middle of the event, so you could hear and enjoy the music wherever you were in the park. This is what provided a real feel-good atmosphere to the day. The stage was also in the perfect place for everyone to be able to sit down on the grass and watch the artists.
After spending a few hours walking around, finding a place to sit in front of the stage was the perfect way to relax for the remaining part of the day. My family, my friends and I spent some time just sitting in the sunshine, singing along to the music, and laughing about memories, and it was a great way to round off a pretty great day!
All in all, my experience of the 2018 Shrewsbury food festival was undeniably a great one. I had the opportunity to try new foods that I would never normally eat, taste new gin flavours which I never knew existed, and discover an array of different local businesses which create some of the most incredible food products imaginable.
The festival is a fun-filled day out for everyone including individuals, couples, families, children and even the dogs love it too! There is so much to enjoy and explore whilst you are there, and if you have not been before then I cannot recommend it to you enough. Food, drink, music, activities.What more could you possibly ask for?!