“If more of us valued food and cheer and song as much as hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world” J.R.R. Tolkein
What a lovely weekend. Aided by the fact that I had Friday off so it was longer than normal but largely due to all the lovely people who me and @TheHungryMrs bumped into on our travels – most of them food related, which was, as always, a bit of a bonus.
Foodies Festival – Tatton Park
The weather was appalling on Friday but with the day booked off work and tickets bought in advance we were not to be deterred. Turning up at Tatton it was a little annoying to be charged extra to park but I suspect this was more the Park coining in rather than anything else but added to that was the fact that the over eager money collectors stopped everyone just inside the gate causing a queue out on to the road – perhaps collecting the parking charge at the car park well inside the gates might lead to less congestion?
Anyhow – since the weather was not going to put us off we were definitely not going to be stopped by this.
Now in all honesty we didn’t try a huge amount of food on offer – largely because there weren’t really samples to be had (in our experience). That isn’t to say that all we were looking for were freebies, more that I’d have preferred to have been able to sample little bits of what was there instead of having to take full portions. So instead we took in a couple of Masterclasses. One from Laurence Tottingham of Aumbry and then a Bordeaux Wine session from Charles Metcalfe.
Having eaten at Aumbry recently I was chuffed to hear from Laurence. His obvious love of what he does came across superbly and the dish of smoked mackerel fillet with poached rhubarb, rye toast and mustard cream was a picture in itself. “It’s as easy as that” he declared after creating the plate, and, while not easy I’m sure it is now less daunting to perhaps try something similar at home.
As for Charles and his wine, again the knowledge on show was very impressive and while not all the wines were to my liking (there was a red loaded with tannins and a very sweet white) the overall presentation was great
A food stall we did stop at was Churros Susannas. I was heading for pancakes (I always struggle to resist) when I saw the stall. I’m honest enough to say that I’d never tried these bread based, doughnutty offerings and when someone asks “May I take your Churros virginity?” even in a Brummie accent, I thought it’d be rude to say no. Sprinkled in sugar and dipped in chocolate they were a lovely little afternoon treat. And a darn site easier to accommodate whilst battling with an umbrella.
Saturday – Heatons & Huntleys
Peering around the curtain we were greeted with a bright light in the sky. Rumoured to have buggered off for the year, the sun had decided to grace us with its presence. So off we went for our first trip to Heaton Moor Market. A much more intimate affair than Tatton – and for me, all the better for it. Everyone seemed to know each other and were making recommendations for other stall holders and as a result within an hour we were laden with a selection of goodies from old favourites Levanter Fine Foods, an untried chutney from FatJax, bread and delicious scotch eggs from The Handmade Feast plus cakes and puddings from Pixie Bakery and Glamourpuds respectively. My no carb weekdays quickly disappearing into the mists of ancient history.
Then Northwards, to Huntleys Foods to gather ingredients for Sunday dinner and also to meet Jane at Barrica Wines. Well even though I’m not the biggest tennis fan in the world if certain players exploits sent Jane temporarily insane enough to sell a gorgeous prosecco for just £7 a bottle I wasn’t about to miss out. She also made a great recommendation for the wine for Sunday. Cheers Jane.
Long slow mutton
Sunday was a comparatively lazy day. A quick dash to Booths to pick up a late night Saturday recommended Womersley Blackcurrant & Rosemary vinegar. Then back to prepare a shoulder of mutton from Cockerham Salt Marsh Lamb to eat that evening. If you want to know more, see here.
So all in all a fantastic weekend chatting to people who know and love their produce and their craft. Topped off by trying a meat I’ve not had before. However, having bought a piece of meat which was clearly too big for the two of us (ooops, silly me) I am already looking forward to a mutton curry.
Thanks to you all and please keep it up