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.
4:11pm Thursday 8th October 2015
Marc Evans enjoys a visit to Kingston
4:13pm Thursday 1st October 2015
Katherine MacAlister and family head to London for a busy weekend organised by the children
4:20pm Thursday 24th September 2015
Marc West joins the beautiful people in the cool, yet cosy, boutiques and bars of wonderful Copenhagen
4:44pm Tuesday 22nd September 2015
There is nothing to make that perfect weekend away just a little more perfect than stumbling on the perfect pub.
4:15pm Thursday 17th September 2015
Tim Hughes gets a taste for ‘Midtown’ on a visit to the ultra-luxury Rosewood, London
4:12pm Thursday 10th September 2015
Jaine Blackmans takes a trip up north
10:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
Peter Truman practises his volleys and smashes with a tennis session under the southern Spanish sun
6:18pm Tuesday 25th August 2015
Jon Murray takes in serene sights as he journeys along the idyllic tributaries of the Spree in Brandenburg
10:00am Thursday 13th August 2015
Ed Mezzetti puts his legs to the test by attempting a marathon in the heart of France’s ‘green Venice’ region
3:41pm Friday 7th August 2015
Tim Hughes gets a head for heights in the icy peaks above the mountaineering centre of Chamonix in the French Alps - before taking the waters in elegant Evian
10:00am Thursday 30th July 2015
Katherine Macalister says Featherdown Farm offers all of the luxuries of home out in the fresh open air
10:00am Thursday 23rd July 2015
Jaine Blackman raves about Tobago