Rolled into town yesterday to find that they were setting up display stands for the start of the Food Festival which was quite a surprise as I thought it was much later in the month. As it was only 10.30am many of the stands had yet to be opened and so after a quick wander around to get the feel of what would be on display I took my leave.
After lunch I made my way back to the festival in the centre of the town (based around the front of Huddersfield magnificent and imposing railway station. By now the place was buzzing and hundreds of people were sat out in the sun enjoying the tremendous variety of foods that were on sale.
A quick count up and I saw food stalls offering delicacies from Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, Greece, Mongolia, Spain, China and of course our own indigenous English cuisine. In the latter category I cannot move on without mentioning the Bolster Moor Farm Shop (where I buy all my meat from) and whose pork pies and mushy peas with ham hock are to die for. If I had one last meal left on earth I think that that would be it, followed by a large egg custard from the same shop!
The displaying stands were a mixture of old and new and into this latter category was a small company from Bedale in North Yorkshire named Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin. They have only been in existence for two years but have built an extensive clientele nationwide. After some considerable persuasion (by the very kind lady who runs the company) I tried a small gin and tonic and although I am not really a spirit drinker I have to confess the gin was superb. So much so that I invested in a small bottle to enjoy at home.
Next on my travels was a couple of old friends from previous festivals who were staffing the Yorkshire Drizzle stall. Purveyors of fine rapeseed oil, they have now branched out into balsamic vinegar, so out came the wallet again to purchase a small bottle. Based in Holmfirth it is good to be able to support a “local company” which is trying to grow their business.
Of course there was children’s entertainment in the shape of “balloon shapers” “face painters” and a “children’s food tent” plus giants on stilts! The face paining always seems to be popular each year and this year was no exception as I saw a variety of kids, of different age groups, wandering about with very exotic faces.
I think the most bizarre food idea I came across was by a small company called Bedazzled Cupcakes whose novel idea is to put a cream egg in the middle of the cupcake…………..I was assured that these were very popular although personally they are not something that appeals to me. Still it is good to see a small company (from Rotherham) making progress and developing market share.
Another display I stopped at was Demijohn who I first came across in Glasgow a few years ago. Since then they have branched out and have a shop in York (which I have yet to visit). They stock a wide range of spirits including “fruit infused” ones as well as vinegars and various other spirit drinks (do pay them a visit as they are very accommodating and will let you try the various products on offer).
A new producer that I found was Cossack Cuisine run by an Englishman and a lady from St Petersburg in Russia who claims to be “the 1st chef in the UK to offer fresh handmade food from all around the former Soviet Union, like the hearty dishes from the west, to spicy dishes from the south – all for enjoying anywhere!” I wish them well in their venture.
The most amusing g thing I saw at the festival was two young boys serving behind the counter selling olives and various other delicacies. They could just about see over the counter but were handling the customers with aplomb and giving the run down on the different varieties of olives on offer. I went back about an hour later to look at the stall and the two lads were still there, no adult in site………..quick send for the “child protection officer”…………….
For the first two days of the festival this year the weather has been kind with bright sunshine and blue skies………..let us hope the next two days are as equally good.
Please note I have no professional or financial interest in any of the companies I have mentioned, my aim is to highlight and promote local and regional businesses in as honest a way as I can.