Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Alcester & Forest of Arden Food Festival 2013

Occasionally I spend my Saturday mornings meandering around local farmers markets but recently I took my mooching further afield into the Warwickshire countryside and to the Alcester & Forest of Arden Food Festival.

Entrance to Alcester  & Forest of Arden Food Festival

The High Street within Alcester was closed off and pedestrianised to accommodate the festival which boasted a variety of traders selling fresh produce, local ice creams, artisan breads and flavoured oils amongst other gastro goodies.

Stalls by the church on the High Street - Alcester

Some of the highlights I saw included Mrs Shah's Curry Mix packs.  Suitable for vegetarians, packs come in mild, medium or hot varieties to suit all palettes and a little different from the jars you see in supermarket.

Mrs Shah's Curry Mix packets

The M'Hencha Company was represented by Sophie Browne, Artisan Baker.  I was totally enchanted by the range of M'Hencha (aka: m'hanncha) cakes, you can purchase them as small individual cakes (a la cupcake size) or as a larger cake to share.  Its origins lie in North Africa, especially Morocco and within its coiled pistachio studded pastry casing lies the mix of almond frangipane, citrus zests and rosewater.  A delicious combination of crunch and gooey fruity/sweetness.  Not dissimilar to Greek baklava in taste and appearance, traditionally drunk with tea or strong coffee, this will have you returning for slice after slice.  A very nice alternative for afternoon tea if you're looking to wow your friends!

M'Hencha Cakes - Individual & Large!

Cheese bombs are a new way (to me anyway) of selling cheese.  Local Alcester traders Nino Lavinotec (Deli & Wine Merchants), brought along these delightful little 'bombs' that come in a multitude of flavours including whiskey, chilli and red onion.  My favourite has to be strawberry & champagne which was really creamy and a gorgeous way of brightening up a post-dinner cheese board!

Lavinotec's Cheese Bombs

As well as all the grocery food you could buy, there were some street food vendors around the festival to feed the peckish: vegetarian falafel makers KusKus, Churros Susanna (Spanish churros - vegan friendly waffle style sticks covered in sugar, cinnamon served with warm dipping chocolate) and my foodie pals The Jabberwocky - whose goats cheese & red onion jam toasties are beautiful!

Added convenience for attendees was the provision of free off-site parking.  I parked at The Moat House pub just outside of Alcester town centre and the organised courtesy coach regularly took attendees back and forth.  This was a welcomed benefit and saved all us attendees the additional pressure of finding a parking space on such a busy day!

All in all, a lovely way to pass a couple of hours, sampling and snacking in Alcester's historic semi-rural location and all for free!  Here's to the Autumn festival  on Saturday 19th October and luckily we don't have to wait until next May for our next taste of Alcester!

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