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.

Catch some rays to boost your health

Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Lisa Cuerden on the power of vitamin D

Young people are still fairly out of pocket

Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

"You could blag a total of £6k from the government" writes Gill Oliver

Clarkson bust-up, Monty Python and the meaning of life

Oxford Mail: Rebecca Moore

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Sit in any central Oxford pub on a Saturday night and the stuff you overhear can quickly turn into a Monty Python parody...

The goodies and baddies of television

Oxford Mail: Friday Life feature
Liz Nicholls is pictured with a fake spider after overcoming her fear. 
Contact(s): Liz Nicholls 07711332705
Catchline: Arachnophobia feature
Length: Double page feature
PictureSales Ref: OX68194
Picture By: Leah McLaren

 (16190432)

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Liz Nicholls on Richard III, By Reason of Insanity and Mission Survive

Best bosses... but the days of the Alpha Bitch are over

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Professor reveals why companies benefit from leaders with typically female qualities of support and empathy

Author Sara has real story to tell

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Alison Boulton meets Sara Banerji, who recently had her 10th book published and now runs a creative writing course to help aspiring novelists and poets

Does your family have split football loyalties?

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Jaine Blackman looks at a survey which reveals many parents have completely unrealistic expectations that their child is destined to become a top soccer star

Plant strawbs now ready for Wimbledon!

Oxford Mail: Sheena Patterson

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Sheena Patterson on getting children interested in gardening

Take in some stunning scenes and help charity

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

As the Easter holidays begin, and the clocks go forward tomorrow, take advantage of the extra daylight to visit some stunning gardens, says Jaine Blackman

Get into Oxford University the easy way: historic colleges open doors for B&B with a difference

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Tim Hughes follows in the footsteps of some impressive alumni on an overnight stay at Wadham College, Oxford

Patients come second in the profit pursuit

Oxford Mail: Katherine Rees

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Katherine Rees on the rise of the 24-hour society

A giant success for Miniaturist writer

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th March 2015

Since finishing her dazzling debut novel The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton has been caught up in a publicity whirlwind. Jaine Blackman reports

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