This is the second year of the Foodies Festival. It runs over several weekends in various different locations around the country. Conveniently for us the organisers were smart enough to have one of the events at Blackheath. It’s a great 3 day festival and this was our second time going; having been able to secure free tickets 2 years on the trot! Thanks to Joanne Mortlock from Love Pop Ups – London and Ava Maitland from Foodies Festival for this years tickets.
We arrived and picked our tickets up around 12:30 and it was already buzzing.
The first thing we went to was a stand for Alvalle, free tasters of gazpacho which I’d never had before. I found it very nice – cold, refreshing and savoury. Lucy was heard to comment “Excuse me, this soup is cold”
We moved on having a little look here and there and got to the Evan Williams trailer. I’ve had Evan Williams bourbon before and it’s great. I got a little taster mixed with some orange and ginger beer. Not a combination I’d had before but one I’ll give another go.
Next up was Mateus Rosé. Mateus, as a lot of us know, had a bad reputation for years but only because rosé wine wasn’t all that popular through the 90s. They’ve been chugging along over the years and are thoroughly taking advantage of the resurgence in the popularity of easy to drink wines. I love the stuff. Perfect for a hot afternoon with a barbecue and some friends. Lucy thought that it had a little too much of an alcohol taste for her but she generally prefers drinks where you can’t taste the booze.
We carried on walking around the site trying to decide what to have next and walked past on of the demo tents. This one just happened to have this years Masterchef champion, Saleha Mahmood-Ahmed and Masterchef 2015 finalist, Tony Rodd. We didn’t hang around because we were looking for something specific.
If you like chilli sauce then you need to experience Carringtons. Chillichup is a work of genius. A combination of tomato ketchup and chilli sauce; perfectly balanced and good with almost anything. They also do some stronger sauces for those more adventurous. If you can get your hands on some Chillichup or ShutupChup you’ll come away a much happier person. Lucy purchased a bottle of Chillichup and Chillichup rub. They also provide recipe cards for each of their products, if you need inspiration. As you can see, Henry loves the stuff!
After the delights of Carringtons we carried on our stroll and stumbled upon Clonakilty Black Pudding. Black pudding is one of my all time favourite foods. I got a cheeky sample of their black pudding which was delicious. They were also offering samples of white pudding (which I had never tried before) and also their 2 types of sausages; ispini (chipolatas) and ispini mora (traditional thick sausages). It was all so tasty that we bought one of everything and even got a very nice cooler bag in the same deal!
Across the aisle from Clonakilty was Himachal Indian Cider. I had a little sip but Lucy got the lions share of the taster and she enjoyed it so much she bought a bottle.
Next along was TukTuk Chai. I love a bit of chai but I found this too sweet. The spicing was really nice though.
It’d got to beer o’clock for me so I had a look around for something refreshingly alcoholic. I saw the stall for ABK, Aktienbraurei Kaufbeuren, and immediately knew that’s where my first drink would come from. I had the Edel, 5.8 abv export style lager. Just what I needed.
Lucy was getting peckish but I hadn’t decided what I wanted yet. Lucy chose Bombay Street Food, which offered 5 different options and a couple of different snacks.
Lucy went for “Meal 3: The Amitabh”. Chunks of tandoori spiced chicken tikka with rice and dahl. Not a fan of dahl, Lucy got this in a separate container, so I had it. It was nice and soupy, the way I like my dahl. Henry seemed to enjoy it too even though it was rather spicy.
Continuing our journey we walked past a stand selling rum. Pirate’s Grog rum import their rum from Roatan, an island just off the coast of Honduras. The VERY entertaining gentleman selling it said that they were the only company importing rum from Honduras. They’ve won several awards so I’m inclined to believe him. He gave me a try of the 3 rums on offer; Five Year, No.13 and Black Ei8ht. Five Year is aged in ex-bourbon barrels giving it a lovely sweet, vanilla and raisin flavour. No.13 is award winning. “Rich and full bodied with notes of apricot, peach, white chocolate and vanilla.” It was delicious but a little intense for my tastes. Black Ei8ht was amazing. I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it but I ended up having a miniature bought for me by Lucy. The nice man said it was “breakfast rum”. It’s a rum and coffee infusion combining Brazilian coffee with Five Year. It’s stunning and needs to be tasted to be believed. Lucy was kind enough to buy me a miniature of the Five Year too. I’m a lucky boy.
After all the excitement of the rum I needed a drink. Boston Shakers were on hand to provide.
I had my favourite cocktail, Long Island Iced Tea, and Lucy had a pink lemonade. On a day of great ideas, this was up there with the best. The Iced Tea was well balanced, sweet, sour and refreshing and Lucy’s pink lemonade was amazing.
Given the opportunity Henry would’ve drunk the lot!
I was starting to get hungry but I didn’t want anything that came in a big portion. Just along the row from the cocktails was iCalamari, a “Calamari Bar”. I went for a cone of fried calamari. It was just enough to fill the gap and luckily not overcooked.
Henry wanted to go for a walk so Lucy took him off so I found myself stood next to the There’s A Beer For That tent just in time for a free beer and food matching session. Lager and chorizo go really well together, I just wish they’d given us warm chorizo instead of cold. I also treated myself to a Blue Moon and chicken satay combo which was great. I also discovered that there is such a thing as a beer sommelier and I want that job!
Back over at one the demo tents we saw Masterchef 2017 finalist, Steve Kielty preparing himself for a session.
Henry was starting to get tired so we started ambling towards the exit.
On the way I fancied a beer so we stopped off at the Fuller’s Frontier trailer and I had a classic pint of London Pride. Seriously one of the most consistently good beers you can find.
Walking on, near the exit Bonne Maman were giving away free pots of cold desserts. Chocolate and strawberry mousses, creme caramel and salted creme caramel. Lucy had the strawberry mousse and I had salted creme caramel.
At the exit I noticed that Monkey Shoulder whisky had a little cart giving samples of cocktails. I had a very small Lazy Old Fashioned and that nicely finished off the afternoon.
Foodies Festival truly is a great event. It’s generally cheap to get in, there is SO much food and drink on offer, there are demonstrations and tasting sessions with big names in the food and drink industry and even live music through the day.
I literally have just two suggestions. Firstly, I think vendors should offer smaller/taster portions. I went there wanting to try lots of different types of food and only had a couple because so many of the vendors were selling full size portions. I would happily pay £2 or £3 for a smaller or taster portion. My second suggestion would be more options for small children. There were so many parents and children there but the foods were definitely aimed more for the parents.
We’ll be back next year for more tasty food and drink without a doubt. Perhaps without Henry though.
Here’s what we picked up throughout the day!