Eating Exeter does Powderham Food Festival

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Both of us visited Powderham Food Festival independently, and wandered round in our groups enjoying many facets of the festival. Now in it’s 5th year, it hosts food producers, food stalls, children’s activities, a cookery theatre and it’s USP is the Fire and Smoke Tent; most events with BBQ events are mainly for BBQ enthusiasts, this drops it right in the middle of mainstream. With the extensive landscape, dotted with deer, a background of the castle and the estuary in the distance – the setting is a beautiful one. There is something for everyone, here are our best bits:

Lauren:

Last year we experienced this festival on a misty autumn day and this year, it was a glorious sunny day. I love how the festival is well spread out inside and outside the grounds, on different levels.

You pass though the initial courtyard filled with suppliers – too many to mention. There are also even more placed throughout the castle’s beautiful lower ground floor.

One of the first activities we came across was Fun Kitchen, who were there to keep the children entertained, learning to cook whilst having fun. Joe Mann does an incredible job of commanding every little persons attention and they end with something edible, made by their own little fair hands, to take home at the end of it.

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I loved the Theatre of Fire and Smoke; a huge teepee like tent,  filled with benches surrounding a large fire. Local oracle Marcus Bawdon of Devon Wood Smoke and UK BBQ mag put on a very interesting itinerary with 2015 BBQ champ Simon Dyer and other guest cooks. Plenty of demo’s, q&a and the all important tasters with plenty for everyone.

There was a larger range of food and drink stalls this year, with gin and cocktails an obvious trend.

Quirky vehicles converted into food and drink delights also included Dolly Mixers, Lolas Wings and Gourmet Cheesy Delights

We were hungry fairly early on and, where usually I struggle to choose food (through sheer reason of wanting to eat it all) I easily settled on the cool Grandpa Franks and their reuben dog – a firm hot diggety dawg smothered in beef brisket, monteray jack cheese and some jalapeno’s thrown in for good measure – mouth wateringly good. My son chose a fantastic super-fast-oven-baked pizza from Pizza Buona, and it was delicious.

The Exeter Cookery School cookery theatre included demo’s from Richard of Angelas Restaurant, ex River Cottage chef Tim Maddams, and of course the host, ECS director and chef Jim Fisher. Tim cooked 4 courses, one of which I was delighted to be a selected diner due to the speed I put my hands up like antlers! (A fun and fair selection process). I enjoyed pigeon with mushrooms and blackberries all foraged by Tim himself, it was delicious! He was incredbly entertaining, full of anecdotes and clearly passionate about food and its origins, with uncomplicated dishes.

We purchased some lovely fudge from Devon Fudge, Steve was delighted to find a fantastic Indian naga chili pickle from India In A Jar, and my son loves beetroot and apple juice so he chose to buy some with his pocket money. I couldn’t leave without grabbing a caramel chocolate tart from Te Cake and coffee from Crankhouse – I consumed these two together so swiftly in joyous celebration of a good day out, I didn’t even take a photo!

An affordable and lovely day out full of local suppliers and food producers and all the demo’s included. If you haven’t visited it yet, you best put it in the diary for next year, and hot foot it towards the smoke and fire tent early on – it gets busy. Sit a while until hunger and curiosity lure you out, and enjoy everything this dynamic festival has to offer for yourself.

Chris:

Summer’s final death knell fell on the weekend of The Powderham Food Festival.  A gloriously sunny Sunday made up for a wet Saturday, and with this final surge, we close the doors on Summer with a superb send-off.

The festival is a relative new-comer to the foodie calendar, but it has been booming in popularity each year.  I finally got the chance to visit and experience the clustering bustle of culinary craziness takes over the home of the Earl of Devon.  This year has been particularly successful for the festival, firmly embedding it in the region’s foodie calendar.

Tori has been poorly for quite a few weeks now, so I took my lovely mum.  The car parking was logical and well laid out, a little walk up to the castle with an optional tractor service for the less mobile.  We we gently pottered along some of the Powderham’s magnificent stags casually laid themselves out by the fence, drawing much attention from the snappers and onlookers.

The first section of exhibitors were local producers in the courtyard.  This was the entry point that all punters walked through on their way to the rest of the festival on the other side of the castle.  Here we found Bell & Loxton with their lovely cold-pressed rapeseed oil, which I bought two bottles of including a Garlic oil that I have since used to cover everything edible in.

Also Shaldon Bakery, my favourite bakers I might add, was there in force with some delicious looking breads including the infamous and delicious Uglibun.

We took a trip around to the other side of the castle and there were street-food stalls, more producers, even a mobile gin bar!  The highlight for me was the Theatre of Fire and Smoke which was MC’d by one of my favourite bloggers Marcus Bawdon and his pal Simon, who is also a legend in the BBQ world.

It was great to wander around taking in surroundings, to watch some of the demos at the Fire and Smoke tent and even get to taste some samples from the demo too!

Our last stop was the Exeter Cookery School Demo tent where we watched chef-maestro-and-nice-chap Jim Fisher and friends, including foodie hero Tim Maddams, share their extensive knowledge and skills to eager foodies.

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Before we headed home we were able to walk back through the castle itself which was home to even more local producers.

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Including a Pork Pie cake!!

This has to be one of my favourite food festivals.  The exquisite surroundings of the castle, the reasonable entry fee, the choice and above all else the celebration of some of the fantastic local producers and street food stalls makes you realise just how amazing we are when it comes to producing good things with great ingredients, grown and created on our front door.

www.powderhamfoodfestival.com

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