Muddy reviews: The Woking Food and Drink Festival
I’m too much of a control freak to let other writers loose on my lovely little blog, but there are times, dear friends, when I have little choice. For how to tell you about a fab foodie festival if I can’t actually make it there myself? Luckily for me, I have a helping hand from the lovely Zoe Dudgeon. So today when I was otherwise indisposed (don’t ask!!) – Zoe offered to step into the Muddy shoes. Here’s what she had to say about it…
Street food stalls and food festivals have been cropping up everywhere in the UK in the last few years as the demand for independent and locally sourced food has risen. The Woking Food Festival is no exception and has been expanding its offerings since it first begun five years ago.
I begun my culinary test tasting at 10.30am, and Jubilee Square was already beginning to buzz with eager foodies. What better way to kick start a Saturday morning than with a glass of bubbly? I sampled the Royal Riviera champagne, which is ritzy enough to have been endorsed by the Prince Albert of Monaco as his official champagne. I’ll admit Woking doesn’t have quite the same glitz and glamour as the French Riviera but it was delicious none the less. The brand has also turned tradition on its head and inspires buyers to keep the bottle cap (not the cork). Royal Riviera has worked with Australian designer, Working Memories and their bottle caps can be inserted into these fun jewellery pieces including rings and necklaces. It’s a lovely way to capture memories (and a great excuse to get through more bottles.).
Next it was on to the Giggly Pig to try some of the 60 something flavoured sausages. The Giggly Pig business has a less than usual creation story. Owner Tracy Mackness first learnt about pig husbandry whilst serving out a 10-year sentence in jail. She became a whizz on the prison farm and successfully transferred her skills to the food industry. Tracy talked me through the sausage making process and I was seriously impressed that everything is made by hand, and that her sausages are 0% fat. My favourite flavours were Sage and Cumberland, Sweet Chilli and Old English. If you want to find out more about Tracey she has written a book called Jail Bird – The Life and Crimes of an Essex Bad Girl.
Things got serious when I visited the Tante Marie culinary academy to learn about the range of courses they offer. I was shown around the state of the art kitchens by Andrew Maxwell the Managing Director, and got to see some of the students in the process of making the scotch eggs that were being sold at their market stall (so that’s how it’s done!)
After stuffing my face full of other treats such as puff-puffs (an Afro-Caribbean savoury doughnut) from Yummy Cubes and chocolate dipped churros from Churros Garcia I went to watch some real pros in the demonstration tent. Cheeky chappy duo The Baker Brothers, aka Tom and Henry Herbert, took centre stage to teach us how to make a delicious breakfast dish: sourdough bagels with hot smoked salmon. I watched keenly as owing to my childhood in New York bagels have always had a special place in my heart. And salmon… well salmon is probably my favourite food ever! It was a dish made in heaven. However, I couldn’t help but be distracted from the demonstration when I realised that the godfather of Italian gastronomy Antonio Carluccio was sitting just two mere seats away from me. It really was a great way to end a fabulous food filled morning.
The Woking Food and Drink Festival is on until Sunday 4 Septmber. wokingfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk
Written by Zoe Dudgeon