“What the hell is “artisan” .. why do you keep saying it??”

Avoiding the rutting stags, the team headed for the autumnal beauty of Tatton Park for the first day of the North West Food lovers festival ( “powered by Taste Cheshire”).  We were excited to see a van in the Dee106.3 livery in the car park… but it wasn’t Ruth and the team, it was their cousins from Cheshire East, Silk FM. It soon drove off so we proceeded to  enter via the outdoor food court, which offers Afghanistan delight, grilled haloumi wraps, crispy duck wraps , rustic pizza (cooked in 90 seconds) and more.

Inside the marquee

This was the opening day of the festival , before the busy weekend. Inside we explored the large marquee, which housed over 100 food and drink exhibitors. The surroundings were relaxed with most vendors offering samples and happy to talk about the stories behind their products. Here are a few:

Diabetic fudge maker Shaun  explained how he makes the fudge with 1/3rd less sugar than regular fudge. Handing over a @ShitChester flyer received the now usual confused laugh, but we really enjoyed the fudge and the range of flavours.

Lighthouse Gin was next, a tiny distillery in New Zealand.  “Just two guys who built their own copper Still, so it’s about as genuinely boutique as you can get. We supply The Architect  and a couple of other places in Chester”  said vendor David Paddle. Lighthouse is also served at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant.  Mason’s Yorkshire gin was sited  nearby and the Yorkshire tea flavoured gin was an unusual taste sensation.

The team from The Chilli Alchemist were happy to chat and showed us The Carolina Reaper, “the world’s hottest chilli”

The Reaper

Other highlights on the food themed journey included: @SASauces range of pour over sources for meat, fish and desserts. Flavours ranged from Peppercorn and jack daniels , and maple syrup and whiskey. Granny Mary’s pate style potted meats were being generously tasted (http://grannymarys.co.uk/) and we stocked up here (“you can freeze them”)  and were served by Granny Mary’s great-grandson.

Next up we watched a couple of the chef demonstrations. James Horn,  head chef at the Mere Golf Resort and Spa was first and produced a squid based dish.

Tess Ward author of “The Naked Diet” who has over 40k followers on instagram spoke about how she had never planned to become a chef and her passion for simple healthy eating.

A wave from Tess. Pic by Jennie Povey


Back in the main marquee we chatted to self-confessed “mad New Zealander” Tim about his range of flavoured seasoning/rock salts. (http://flavourmagic.com/about.php” Tim also has spiced themed aprons for sale.

Award winning cheese maker and ex Coronation st Sean Wilson and regular of the food festival circuit was on hand for a chat. He will be doing a demonstration on Saturday.

Sean Wilson “alright ShitChester!”

The highlight for me was trying a piece of charcoal cheese, cheddar blended with charcoal to give a totally black appearance but a surprisingly creamy taste. Well worth seeking out.

Bongo’s R&R pickles

The food festival runs all weekend. On Saturday Simon Rimmer and Nishi Katona will be doing food demonstrations. Sunday will see David Mooney and TV chef Andrew Nutter in attendance. We enjoyed our  time at the festival very much, there’s lots to choose from, from confectionery to meat, to non food items like engraved chopping boards and wicker animals. More details at http://nwfoodloversfestival.co.uk/

With thanks to Kym of NWF lovers festival .


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