The Real Food Festival

The Real Food Festival was a 4-day food heaven extravaganza. It was better than I hoped it would be. Imagine Borough Market but a whole lot bigger! In fact, a selection of Borough Market producers were there, along with hundreds of others from around the UK. The best thing about our visit was the opportunity to talk to like minded people – people who love good food to the same degree and are willing to talk about it for ages. I found a place where you don’t have to hold back on the food-talk for fear of people getting bored.

The variety and quality of the produce was outstanding and as someone has written on the graffiti board (top photo), ‘I left with my own body weight in food.’ Well, not quite, but we did buy a lot, it was hard to resist. A highlight was definitely the donkey salami, yes – donkey! The seller was so excited when we tried it and liked it that he said, ‘yes! proper human beings!’ Proper human beings eat donkey – now you know. The flavour is strong and it tastes like donkey (bear with me), it’s like you always knew what it would taste like – it tastes a bit like the smell of a donkey but in a nice way.

We also picked up some Atlantic sea lettuce (great for my new adventure with sea vegetables) and some exciting spices. The long peppers (they are catkins) in the left of the photo are apparently like black pepper, you crush them up and they are stronger and more aromatic. We also nabbed some dried limes (add to soups or curries) and a Japanese seasoning called Schichimi Togarashi which contains among other things, chilli, sansho, nori, orange and sesame (here’s where you can get it).

We ate well as we browsed too, samples galore. To settle our rather sensitive stomachs (too much wine), an olive, tomato, vegetable-stuffed bread – like a calzone but shaped like a pizza slice (From DeGustibus). I also could not resist a scotch egg – the best I have ever tasted. The seller (I wish I had the name) said that his wife made them. She is a very talented lady and he is a very lucky man. We also treated ourselves to some oysters, duchy specials. They were gigantic! The lady selling them was lovely too, recommending them as a first class hangover cure. We can reveal that she is correct. In her words, ‘it has the opposite effect than you expect, they completely refresh your mouth.’ I also nabbed a ‘liver cure’ juice – beetroot, apple and lime, just to make sure. The earthy flavour of beetroot was just right.

The garlic relishes and mayo are from The Garlic Farm on The Isle of Wight. We chose a ‘Vampire Relish’, a gift for a friend, a rhubarb-garlic chutney which is totally inspired and some ever-reliable garlic mayo. So, now for the cheeses. We chose a raw goat’s milk cheese which was soft but dense – creamy and really goaty with a peppery finish. As it warmed up on arrival back home, it started to ooze slightly at the bottom which pleased me immensely. The unpasteurised ewe’s milk cheese was strong, nutty and creamy and had a sharpness, a bit like that of a blue cheese. It was fantastic with the rhubarb chutney.

We ate a bit of everything for dinner last night, tonight and most likely tomorrow too. I think some of the best meals are made in this way, lots of bits and bobs all with a story and some good memories behind them.

Category: Food Events, Markets 16 comments »

16 Responses to “The Real Food Festival”

  1. Nicisme

    I do love going to food festivals, there is always so many new things to try, but I’ll pass on the donkey salami thanks!!
    Nice photos.

  2. Peter G

    What a wonderful food festival…so many things to see and sample. I’m not so sure about the donkey salami though!

  3. Stephanie

    I’m just loving the sound of that festival …. the donkey salami… my God!

  4. farida

    Sounds like an interesting and fun place to be! Hmm, donkey salami. At first, I thought you were joking. Then I believed. Wow. For some reason it just sounds odd to me, I don’t know. I like donkeys:) Anyway, I am glad you enjoyed the festival!

  5. Kevin

    It looks like they had a lot of interesting things at the festival!

  6. rowena

    How I wish I could taste that salami and the cheese… Mmmmm… looks good and i like the picture too.

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  7. myfrenchkitchen

    The food festival sounds wonderful and looks it too…I’m not sure about that salami, I alos have a soft spot for donkeys..but at least there are many other choices! Great pics!

  8. Fearless Kitchen

    I’m so jealous – the festival sounds great. I remember when I told my husband that traditionally salami was made from donkey… he still won’t eat it, even though I don’t think you can sell that here!

  9. Cheeky Spouse

    I had a great time at the festival too. It was such a pity I was travelling by train, otherwise I would have probably bought more. I was also a bit worried how some of the cheeses would fair on a combination of hot tube and train carriages on the way home. I expect the smell could clear the place pretty quickly!
    Love your blog, by the way.

  10. Mary-Rose Agius

    I totally missed out on this! Stupid renovation preparations!

  11. We Are Never Full

    LOVE this post. looks like a great time. i would love to try some donkey salami. i’m not scared of anything!

  12. Ruth

    I do envy you. I guess I’ll just read and reread your lovely post and pretend I was there.

  13. NickyB

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog with pleasure for a long time now, and know you are an afficionado of Borough Market. I’m coming down to London for a 5 day training course next week which is over the other side of London Bridge and I wondered whether you had any ideas for a solo woman to eat out in the evenings thereabouts? Hope you don’t mind me picking your brains :o)

  14. Helen

    Nicky, I’ll e-mail you now.

  15. NJ Guy

    Those food pictures all look so delicious nad inviting. I wish that I could have been a part of the festival!

    NJ Guys last blog post..Sea Isle City in the Fall

  16. Clipper

    Donkey salami??? Are you kidding me. That’s extraordinary. Though I’m slightly intrigued.

    Clippers last blog post..Food And Wine Coupons Are Essential For A Happier Thanksgiving

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