Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Ludlow Food Festival 2008

This is one long post on a wonderful food-filled day two Sundays ago at the Ludlow Food Festival. I've always liked that market town where amidst the fascinating old timbered buildings and its castle it regularly has a farmer's market every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday in the square opposite the entrance to the castle. This time in addition to the market lots of stalls and demonstration tents were assembled inside the castle grounds by the organisers to highlight and celebrate all the wonderful produce around the Marches (the England-Wales border area).

[Click on the pictures for a bigger view]

Feathers Hotel in Ludlow
Just look at the beautiful timber-framed old buildings in Ludlow's streets. This is the old Feathers Hotel which used to be the residence of Rees Jones a lawyer for the Council of the Marches area sometime in the early 1600s.

Ludlow parade of shops
Old buildings in Ludlow are not only preserved but used quite well. These parade of shops are very interesting to behold indeed with the ancient buildings they are housed.

Ludlow shops
The main festival was within the castle grounds but the festivities and exhibitions were not confined there. Numerous other shops, pubs, and restaurants in Ludlow laid out tables outside to sell their wares and of course the regular market was in full swing as well.

Paella stand
Before we went inside we had lunch among the food stalls that came out especially for this 3-day event. I got my lovely paella from this stall. £3.00 for a small plate that had 2 slices of chorizo in it, chicken, some veg and lots of flavourful Spanish rice. Yum!

Jacket Potato stand
My daughters had their usual jacket potato with cheese (no baked beans this time). They raved on the deliciousness of the potato and cheese from this stall so much so that my youngest insisted on getting another one on our way home. So we'll keep them in mind if we come across them next time.

roast pork
Lechon! Look at that steaming hot roast pork being pulled into shreds. Over here roast pork is eaten one way by putting the shredded meat in a bun with gravy. It's nice but I prefer mine in chunks with liver sauce. Better yet any leftovers stewed in liver sauce as Lechon Paksiw. Okay we're digressing a bit ... let's get back to Ludlow. See all those shops and food above - that's just outside of the festival grounds. And now we come to view the festival itself.

Ludlow castle
As I said before, the festival was in the grounds of Ludlow castle now a ruin. The castle had a very rich history which was very much entwined with the history of English throne. It was here that Prince Arthur (Henry VIII's elder brother) died while on honeymoon with his bride Catherine of Aragon who after his death became Henry VIII's first of six wives.

Entrance to Ludlow Food Festival 2008

wrist tag
Entrance fees are a reasonable £6.00 for adults and £2.00 for kids. Then they give you this red wrist band to separate you from the racing pigeons. ;)

Ludlow Fest map
Here was a map of the place in case you need to find yourself.

stalls in Ludlow Food Fest
There were loads of stalls of small scale producers. Come to think of it I didn't see any big-named companies there except probably for Tyrell's who was the main sponsor. But then they're not really that big - yet.

seafood & champagne
Oh yes there's one for Veuve Clicquot champagne where you can dine with some hot seafood dishes with your champagne.

apple press
I've always wondered how apples juices are extracted and this traditional press was on hand to show us how.

fresh pizza
He must be feeling really hot in front of that pizza oven. We saw him sitting there all day.

Bacheldre Flours
I nabbed 3 bags of different flours plus a nice hessian bag from this stand. Bacheldre Watermill produces stoneground flours of very good quality. Later I will definitely blog about the results of my baking using their flours.

We love this bottled spring water. For me it tastes like very clean rain water. Really soothing to drink especially when chilled. We definitely recommend Wenlock spring water if you ever have a chance to come across it.

exhibition tent
They have several huge tents where most of the smaller producers exhibited or sold their products. There were a large variety of exhibitors which range from farms showing their meat products (see previous picture collage) to ice cream makers, vegetable retailers, etc. The following were also in the tent:

ale producer
Quite a number there were small breweries making distinctive ales and spirits. As expected these were very popular with the male guests.

chocolate stand
Chocolate makers, other sweet producers and bakers were also on hand. Though there were not too many of them.

The Dairy House Organics
Lots of dairy producers were in attendance. We like the organic yoghurt of The Dairy House. They were very creamy and had lots of different interesting flavours.

cheese stand 
Cheese galore!

Some non-edible things were also there in the form of cookbooks (still food-related).

These are well crafted hand-made ceramic products in fun and colourful designs.

smoking car
Fancy smoking your salmon while driving? It can be done!

Army soup
The army came in culinary force as well, treating people to some inexpensive but tasty soup and bread.

festival musicians
The music on offer were top-notch as well. Good enough to make a whole gaggle of people crowding in front of them while scoffing their tasty nibbles and drinks.

festival musicians
This trio on the other hand entertained people who patronized the cafe in the dry moat of the castle. They were very good, too.

They even have the resident fairy to sprinkle twinkly dust on everyone. ;) Well actually these are visitors as well, why they dressed like that I've got no clue. Must be a hen party? But he's a bloke ...

The little ones were not neglected. A circus tent was provided where they can try out different circus skills under the guidance of some circus masters.

milking wooden cows

artificial milking
They even make the kids do some artificial milking. :) How cute.

I've been very complimentary of this festival and its exhibitors. I just want to make it clear that I am in no way affiliated with any of them nor was I paid to do any kind of advertisement. I am just happy, despite previously moaning about the dearth of foodie places in the West Midlands, to discover all these artisanal producers almost at my doorstep. It's so heartening to know that they're out there in the countryside. I just have to drive about 25 miles west and I'm in foodie country!

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