Ludlow Food Festival

photo 1-5Before you say anything, I know that Ludlow is 32.9 miles from Ledbury and therefore, if we are being strict about such things, out of our orbit.  But the Ludlow Food Festival is such a celebration of local food, and such a great event, that I felt I had to share some of it with you!  And of course, there are some producers from nearer home who exhibit there regularly, look at the photos and you may find some familiar faces…

Since its beginnings in 1994 the Festival has grown magnificently, with a second Spring event photo 5-3starting six years ago.  When we went there on Saturday the main event in the castle was packed, with everyone enjoying sampling what was on offer (well, not everyone, see right)  But what was also clear is that the whole town embraces this event, with shops, restaurants & cafes taking part and even non-food shops having food-themed displays in their windows.  There were queues at all the butchers’ stands around the town, with people standing in line to taste their sausages and get a stamp – the famous sausage trail!  There are workshops, demonstrations and talks, children’s cookery sessions, a secret dinner party and a secret restaurant which takes you on a walk to see the food that you are then going to eat – must remember to book next year!

So what new food did I discover?  The Ludlow Nut Company have some very moreish nuts & fruits and their luxury muesli is equally tasty. They now sell tempting cake mixes  – easy, quick & delicious. If you fancy a change from the usual crisps Scott Farms near Evesham won Best New Product at the Festival with their latest venture; sweet potato chips. Scarlet Angel (I liked their “decadence with a conscience” strap line!) were offering sauces with a wonderful bite; Lime, Ginger and Coriander was my favourite and I am looking forward to their Beetroot & Ginger Chutney too.

photo 5It was interesting to see just how many farms have diversified from their traditional produce – a sign of the times – offering a wide range of charcuterie, from salami to bresaola.  The ones I tasted, from Wenlock Edge Farm, would not have been out of place in an Italian delicatessen – tasty, moist and showing both the quality of our local meat and the skill & imagination of farmers in these parts! Sadly I could not fight my way through the crowd thronging their stand to taste the pork, plum & ginger sausages – right up my street!  Some farms have really diversified.  A glorious array of scrumptious-looking cakes turned out to be the latest venture of Hodghurst Farm at Church Stretton – more about them next blog as they have a rather particular angle, as do Cradley-based Mulberry Tree Pies…

And finally, it was lovely to see people queueing up to taste Once Upon A Tree’s delicious drinks.  The fact that it was quite hard to get a photo of the stand shows how popular they are! The same was true of Oliver’s Cider & Perry from Ocle Pychard and Wright’s Culinary Delights (see my earlier blog).  I’m sure the same would have been true of well-established favourites Just Rachel Quality Desserts, Gregg’s Pit Cider & Perry and Whyle House Lamb who were at the Festival on Sunday.  If anyone went to Ludlow on the Friday or Sunday, I would love to hear their thoughts, impressions and, best of all, discoveries!

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