Thursday, 13 September 2012

Ludlow Food Festival 2012

Ludlow is a beautiful little town, snuggled within the blanket of Shropshire countryside which has in recent years become renown for quality local food and drink offerings, with artisan deli/bakery/food emporiums nestled within the town's historic streets.  In addition, there are 7 Michelin recommended restaurants in and around Ludlow as well as others that are applauded by The AA Restaurant Guide and the Which? Good Food Guide.  Taking all these factors into consideration, Ludlow is the perfect host for a Food Festival on this scale.

Across the Festival weekend, the main hub of the event was centred within the grounds of Ludlow's historic castle with marquee stalls and demo stages (starring The Hairy Bikers and Xanthe Clay amongst others), a great platform to showcase Shropshire's (and surrounding counties) finest foods and products.

Although extremely busy on the Saturday, I was still able to chat with so many lovely traders and find out a bit more about their businesses, here's who I met.....

'Once Upon A Tree' are award winning cider, perry, apple and pear juice makers based near Ledbury in Herefordshire.  Their orchards are open to the public where you can visit, take an orchard walk and bring along a picnic, making it a great idea for an Autumnal day out!  We sampled one of their gorgeous pear ciders which would make the ideal liquid refreshment on a hot day!

The lovely ladies from 'Forage Fine Foods' make special culinary treats inspired by the fruits of the countryside which are foraged and then turned into fabulous accompaniments, all suitable for vegetarians.  As well as Wild Herb Rub and Wild Rose el Hanout condiments, their lovely pickled unripened blackberries (so seasonal!), make an interesting, tasty addition to an after-dinner cheese board, working well with a mature cheese.  (Also featured in my blogpost: )

I first sampled a Shropshire Spice Co product when I had received a lovely Christmas hamper a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the stuffing flavour I had, so it was great to see their stand at the festival showcasing their full range.  I know we all love a good sage & onion stuffing with our Sunday Roasts, but when you have lovely combinations such as Plum & Ginger or Chestnut, Celery & Chive, you can really give your roasts a flavoursome make-over, especially say at Christmas time.  They also have other products to choose from such as gourmet stuffing versions, spice infusions and dips.

Chelmarsh, near Bridgnorth Shropshire, is home to Brock Hall Farm Dairy who, as they quote themselves, create 'The Art of Artisan Cheese'.  Starting with 2 goats, they now own a large herd of free-range Pure Saahen goats from which they make their own brand of hand-made goats cheese.  Gorgeously flavoured and textured, working well with a salad or any dish featuring goats cheese, personally, I think it tastes beautiful all by itself.  Available from selected nationwide deli's or via

Flying the flag for Shropshire as well, is another Bridgnorth enterprise, Shropshire Granola.   The use of different flavours and fruit combinations with the focus on using local ingredients including Shropshire produced honey, makes it a delicious breakfast or snack option.  From the first packet which was made by hand, it is now a thriving popular brand - - check them out!

I came across a new taste sensation from a company called Fuffles - is it a fudge or is it a truffle?  You decide!  These bars combine the texture and taste of both truffle and fudge with tempting flavours accented with alcohol such Chocolate & Baileys and Chocolate & Malibu to old-school flavour favourites such as Strawberry & Cream and Rum n Raisin.  Contact to find out how you can sample their wares!

It was with great pleasure that I bumped into a former work colleague who now runs a pudding business with his wife in Worcestershire.  Don's passion for cooking and baking was evident from the years we worked together when he would regularly bring in rich fruit cakes for us to try and so it’s no surprise that he now runs his own food enterprise.  From Christmas puddings to traditional English puddings such as Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding, there is a pudding for everyone in The Pudding Shop's range.

As well as food and drink consumables, there were other events organised around the town including talks at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms.  Published author and Tea Poet, Liz Darcy Jones, entertained crowds with her penned poetry and in particular an en vogue piece entitled 'Fifty Shades of Earl Grey'.  Commissioned by Ludlow Food Festival, Liz wrote a poem to mark the occasion which was performed to crowds in the market square.  Liz's fabulous poem, which captures the relaxed mood of the event, is at the bottom of this post for all to read and enjoy.

Being a big fan of food festivals, I adore the opportunity of going along, meeting traders, many of whom are independent, and trying wonderful products that you don't see always see in supermarkets or on a wider scale.  Ludlow Food Festival champions this so well, a clever blend of supporting local traders and celebrating the food of the county as well as still acknowledging wider commercial appeal.

As we drove through the Clee Hills homeward bound, our taste-buds still tingling with the goodies sampled, we left Ludlow happy, sun-kissed and with next year's festival dates firmly in our diaries.




Ludlow Food Festival

The park and ride is great but mind the cow pats
As you're heading for the town led by your nose
And like the cock you're crowing know - well that's
Just why you wore loafers and old clothes!

And we're all salivating as we're getting in the mood
The sausage trail is waiting - it must be Ludlow Food!

We're in! What tasty eats will be unfurled?
A smoked loaf begs a nibble just to see
Is it Lapsang of the baking world?
And where's the stall to get some breakfast tea?

While I'm cogitating - you're all getting in the mood
Your tastebuds are pulsating - it must be Ludlow Food!

I'm feeling like a rantipole my flagon
Is filled with Gwatkin cider and with ale
This tent will shove the dieter off the wagon
Just look! There's crusty tractor pies for sale!

Now they're worth celebrating and they'll put you in the mood
And The Pudding Shop is waiting - it must be Ludlow Food!

Each day I choose a word. Today's? Panache
Kevin Korbet serves it with ice cream
While Daniel Jones has a tea infused ganache
To make the chocolate lovers' senses scream!

Oh! My stomach is gyrating and I'm really in the mood
Knife skills? I'm hesitating... It must be Ludlow Food!

Jungle Coffee made for Shropshire dads
Sells well but so does tea (that makes my day)
Beaman's win the Sausage Trail good lads!
Wil's Smokehouse? Yes, it's gluten free - hooray!

         Hairy Bikers, demonstrating it all gets us in the mood
         No time for vegetating - it must be Ludlow Food!

And here at the Assembly Rooms it's books
Joanna Weinberg talks 'Real Food' and lust
'Picnic Crumbs', just published, tempts the cooks
And Wordsworth's ginger biscuits are a must!

        The bells? They need sedating as they're getting in the mood
        And we're all tête à têting 'cos we're part of Ludlow Food

KK Tiffy serves a spicy wrap
Legges of Bromyard slice off cuts of meat
Locals Joan and Mary can't help nap
On a bench while others eat and eat

And it's all so captivating and we're getting in the mood
For slowly contemplating next year's Ludlow Food!

by Elizabeth Darcy Jones for Ludlow Assembly Rooms


  1. Would you mind if I used the image of the Hairy Bikers and I on stage?

    Many thanks


  2. Hi SK

    Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, I'm happy for you to use the image as long as it comes with an acknowledgement to me?

    Thank you! Anna