Tasty outing to try something different

Ava Hughes, eight, is handed a smoothie by Edward Clifford, from Squeeze Juice Bars at the festival

Ava Hughes, eight, is handed a smoothie by Edward Clifford, from Squeeze Juice Bars at the festival

First published in Columns Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

The Foodies Festival in South Parks celebrated hearty appetites in the sun.

Saturday’s downpours had long dried when I strolled among the eye-catching stalls, the marquees and the vibrant bars, following my nose, and the crowds enjoying the late summer sunshine.

There was something for everyone. If you fancied a burger, how about zebra?

Not your first choice? Then try wildebeest or springbok.

Nearby, bruschetta beckoned: crammed with ripe red tomatoes, garlic, leafy basil and freshly grated parmesan.

Posh pork pies vied with great British cheeses: whisky mac or Lancashire bomber? Tempura prawns? The field was all mine.

Enthusiasm attracted punters – honey opened to sample, quickly attracted a swarm of wasps.

Yet this was the stall to visit if you not only loved the product (the heather honey I tasted was superb), but also the means of production.

A colony would set you back £250, nuclei £150, and a single Queen, £32.

“The more you’re with bees, the more soothing they are,” the stall holder assured me, as wasps buzzed excitedly around us.

He sold us a small jar of pollen grains in a wing beat. “Superfood,” he commented. We’ll see.

Striking marketing could also draw you in.

Sinful smoothies – the “naughty lovechild of fruit and alcohol” packed a mean punch.

The combination of red berry and coconut, with a Malibu-like liqueur tasted good, but looked like rust.

The orange variant appeared more attractive but didn’t taste as distinctive. Still, it was a winner, and at a discounted Foodies Festival rate, fronted by attractive, personable staff, it’s mere six weeks commercial lifespan so far has surely many more months to run.

Savoury and sweet crepes looked even more appetising, served by snappily dressed Frenchman wearing red berets and black and white striped shirts. Ice cream flavours were enhanced by names such as Strawberry Seduction and Honeycombe Hash.

Nine hours of slow cooking over a charcoal grill produced succulent lamb at the Gaucho Grill. A large rib of beef was enjoyed by four- year-old Lottie, a visiting Bernese Mountain Dog who struck lucky.

The Giggly Pig’s sausages were relished by many – perhaps not so giggly for the pigs. “Try that,” the stall holder urged, as a new batch of samples arrived from the grill. Someone asked what was on the dish? “Just eat it,” the man said. Delicious! “You wouldn’t have said that if I’d told you it was faggots,” he said, triumphantly. No, but it tasted great.

Trying new things, enjoying the party atmosphere: a voluptuous singer in a long red dress sang Motown hits – at one time coming apart from her backing track – if not her zip.

“You can’t hurry love,” she sang.

No, and you can’t rush a food festival. It’s too good to bolt. Just linger, savour and taste.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Travel: Finding the hidden charms of Brittany with Siblu

Oxford Mail:

8:20pm Monday 26th January 2015

Jason Collie finds an unexpected idyllic spot in Brittany

Would-be Valentines to get help finding lurve

Oxford Mail: Happy Couple Enjoying the Party (16530860)

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Jaine Blackman gets some top tips on attraction as an Oxford bar prepares to call in an expert on Flirtology to give singleton customers a lesson in chat-up lines

Triumphant Oxford return for student turned author Samantha Shannon

Oxford Mail: Samantha Shannon

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Jaine Blackman meets best-selling author Samantha Shannon who is heading back to Oxford where she wrote and set her first novel about a dystopian future

Why worms are a friend of the gardener

Oxford Mail: Sheena Patterson

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

My new best friend in the garden is a cheerful little robin who has continued throughout this gloomy month to make me feel loved.

Poppy Royal proves laptops give hope for a better future

Oxford Mail: Long Hanborough 13.01.2015 11:00 Poppy Royal (07783768403), who is raising money to send laptops to young women in Sri Lanka, poses at her house.PictureSales Ref: OX72126Catchline: Laptops For Ladies Poppy RoyalLength: spread Weekend LifePhotographer: Jul

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

After tracking down her birth family in Sri Lanka, Poppy Royal aims to help women fight poverty. Jaine Blackman reports

Caring about the sharing of cars and sofas

Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

How about lending your car to a complete stranger, or allowing someone you’ve never met before crash on your sofa while you sleep a few feet away?

Ellie Bedford has a fresh look at the family's diet

Oxford Mail: PictureSales Ref: OX72192 Ellie Bedford who has written a raw vegan recipe book for children.Catchline: Ellie BedfordLength: Spread Weekend LifeContact: Ellie 01869 233134 or 07855458550Requested by: Jaine Blackman Picture by Richard Cave 16.01.15 (163567

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Jaine Blackman talks to archaeologist turned nutritionist and author Ellie Bedford who wants to spread the message of the benefits of fresh food

I'm full of awe for height of achievement

Oxford Mail: Katherine Rees

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

As an eternal optimist and positive thinker, I never fail to be impressed by feats of human endeavour.

A head for heights on the roof of Europe

Oxford Mail: Freeride: In action above Europe's highest ski resort

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Tim Hughes enjoys some skiing, along with a luxurious visit to Val Thorens in the French Alps

Get yourself ready for the revolution

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Let's face it: the topic of economics is something that’s as mysterious as the moon to most of us.

Be healthier and slim for the long term

Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

At this time of year lots of people are going on a new diet and trying a new fitness regime. There are so many to choose from, how do you know which one works and which are short term fixes?

I'd rather keep my eyes on life's road than look inwards

Oxford Mail: Rebecca Moore

11:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Rebecca Moore on why she's not keen to discover herself any time soon

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree