Seven year of living in Devon and Cornwall have left me utterly spoilt in food terms, if my experience at the Loseley Park Food Festival are any indication.
Loseley is a tremendous location a Tudor manor house near Guildford in Surrey in hundreds of acres of land.
It’s a pretty ideal location for a food festival to show off the best of the local area.
Unfortunately, it was a big letdown for me.
The main problem was, there was no local food or drink there.
I’m used to large marquees full of stalls brimming with local produce.
What defines “local” does vary – but for example a food festival in Cornwall would feature a majority of produce and retailers from Cornwall, some from Devon, some from Somerset and Dorset, perhaps a few more from a little further afield. The same applies to those in Devon, Somerset etc.
I went to the Loseley event with my sister and parents expecting a similar thing, if I’m honest slightly more pretentious in a Home Counties sort of way.
What I got was a food festival for hire. The only stall from Surrey was a guy from Kingston selling burgers made from African game animals (ostrich, springbok etc).
The other stalls were from all over, including a Cornish pasty seller whose wares were made in Bodmin. The beers in the bar were Carlsberg and Tetley, plus craft ales from Oxfordshire and Stockport.
That isn’t to say the stalls were crap, they weren’t. I brought some excellent sausages from some men from Romford in Essex and the other ones were decent enough. My springbok burger was tasty without being outstanding.
But having got used to festivals with a sense of place, it was a massive disappointment – clearly from what I have read on the company’s website it is a travelling show going around to various location like those awful German Christmas markets.
Knowing for a fact there are several local breweries of note and several other foodie businesses off the top of my head it was sad not to see any here.
I have no doubt there are better shows around the same area, but as my first living back up this way, it was a downer.
And though the rain may have played a big part, the crowd wasn’t huge either.
Then, as we were leaving, this piece de resistance below.