Food festivals are serious business for Matt and I. It’s sensory overload at its best and unless you have endless pockets and stomachs, you need to go in with a plan.
With tables piled high and so many stalls to look at, my top tip for food festivals is to do a lap before you buy anything. That way you can check out all that’s on offer and you can plan your feast with expert knowledge of what lies around the next corner. No regrets.
So we began. Strolling the streets, checking out the produce, trying the samples, making a mental wish list.
During our reconnaissance I bumped in to a few Cumbrian specials that I couldn’t resist taking home with me. The first was a gin distilled in the Lakes called BedRock with Cumbrian oak bark and local spring water. I’ve got to say, I was surprised by how smooth it was but after discussing my beloved Martin Millers with the stall holder, it was clear he certainly knew his stuff. Then we wandered by the Haverigg Prison’s smokery selling their famous mackerel, so of course we got some of that too.
The stall that really caught my eye though was selling curries and spiced meat in naans that were being made right there and then. The aroma was incredible, and the long queue proved its attraction.
We both ordered a curry and had the option of hot or mild. “How hot is hot?!”, I asked. The naan maker shot me a knowing wink so I played it safe, but Matt missed the signal and chose a curry that would send him running off to find the nearest water source. Even so, they were delicious, but we were both already thinking about dessert.
Matt spotted his without much hunting. I really don’t think this photo does it justice. We’re talking two inch thick, slabs of millionaires shortbread:
We weren’t done yet.I wanted to visit the old fashioned sweet shop and see what they had in store little did I know it would leave me in tears!
Jars of colour coating every wall. A charity sour sweet challenge. Two sour sweet lovers (Matt and I). The shop assistant tells us that they’re the sourest sweets in Britain and if we make a donation and can keep it in our mouth for 45seconds, we’re entered in to a prize draw.
Matt went first. I saw his face contort like never before. His eyes watered, he broke in to a sweat, he couldn’t stand still, it actually looked painful. Having seen what lay before me, I decided to make my donation and take the sweets home with us. I didn’t fancy standing in a shop crammed with people and putting myself through that. But still, how bad can it be? It’s only a sweet…
Yes, those are the face of the girl that popped one in to her mouth casually whilst Matt was driving us home. I balked for the first ten seconds, it was impossibly, cheek implodingly sour. My left eye twitched like it has a life of it’s own. My mouth watered uncontrollably and then, I cried. Big ‘this sweet is too sour’ tears. I was still trying to break though the outer sour layer and they were just rolling down my cheeks. I’m not sure how Matt managed to drive because we were laughing so much.
When we got back to my Parent’s we were celebrating my Nanna’s 87th Birthday and that afternoon, the three remaining sweets provided great entertainment. It took about an hour for my tongue to feel normal again.
Would you be brave enough to try one?