As it happens each year, Christmas comes and goes away quite quickly, leaving us with lots of food in our fridges, chocolates stuffed in every cupboard and with few kilograms more. After several days of being lazy, Mal and Rita are back, working hard, so you can expect several new posts before the first month of 2013 is over. The beginning of January is a great time for summing up the previous year and tying up any loose ends. And since we are talking about food, The Hereford Food Festival is definitely one of the loose ends that need to be tied in an elegant bow :). Rita visited the festival at the end of October but didn’t have the time to finish the review until now. Sponsored by local business, the Allpay Flavours of Hereford Festival took place on the weekend of 27th and 28th of October. The previous edition of the Festival (The flavours of 2011) has been organized at the Racecourse, outside the city centre. Despite the lovely weather and culinary star-loaded cast, it sadly managed to attract only 6 000 visitors. Moving the event to the city proved to be an excellent decision. In 2012, Flavours of Hereford have been visited by 32.000 people – nearly a half of Hereford’s population. Calling it a huge success could not be enough – the food festival has been mentioned by national media like BBC and Radio 1, while most food-related websites and magazines gave it outstanding reviews. We’d personally prefer to call it the “triumph of the local cuisine”.
Organizing a big event in the middle of the town is always a challenge. The key to victory is usually the logistics. Luckily, Hereford has several perfect spots wide enough to accommodate exhibition tents and large number of guests. The festival was divided into three main stages: The Farmers Market in the High Town, Foodie Section in Cathedral Close and the Party Grounds at the Castle Green. The Party Grounds were created especially to entertain the kids and teenagers with live music, exercises and outdoors baking. Being a grown-up (and a huge fan of baking), Rita decided to skip the carousels and pony riding and concentrated on speaking to the local companies and pigging out on free samples : D
Festival’s official page can be seen here: http://flavoursofherefordshire.co.uk/
Detailed report and numbers: http://flavoursofherefordshire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Evaluation-of-The-allpay-Flavours-of-Herefordshire-Festival-211112.pdf
The offcial Facebook profile for the festival: http://www.facebook.com/FlavoursOfHerefordshireFestival2012
This entry will be dedicated to the Farmers Market section of the festival. Please take a look at all the interesting people/companies we have met that day!
KK Ventures – Indian Heaven in the UK
Address: The Old Pound, Whitchurch, Ross-On-Wye,
Website: in preparation
More information: http://www.wales-tourist-information.co.uk/shops/item/3852/KK_Ventures.html
KK Ventures are home based enterprise founded by Tiffy and Salim Kabir. This wonderfully talented duo brings the best Indian dishes, sweets and snacks to the United Kingdom. Their stand during the the Flavours of Hereford offered samosas, bhajis, kebabs, Indian sweets, fruit juices, lassis, pakoras, and several different kinds of chutneys, pickles, preserves, marmalades and jams. Rita wanted to take a picture of Tiffy (she was dressed in a very elegant uniform) but both owners were frantically trying to serve a true mob of customers (at least 50 of them!) and poor photographer could get no clear shot. Some customers travelled to Hereford from Bristol and Birmingham just to buy several jars of their mango chutney!
Country Flavours – food from the land
Address: Lower Bellamore Farm, Preston on Wye,
Country Flavours may be a small, family run business, but they are multi award winning enterprise with fantastic history and reputation to match. The company is run by David and Alice Hancorn, owners of the Lower Bellamore Farm. The Hancorn family has been in the business for more than 100 years and four generations have been raised on the farm. Country Flavours produces free range eggs and organic food: juices, cakes and preserves made from fruits gathered in Herefordshire. For their eggs, they have been given Freedom food award (the farm is a RSPCA Freedom Food registered egg packing station) and British Lion Quality Code of Practice accreditations. Their preserves won Flavours of Hereford main award for the best local product in 2011.
You can learn more about the Lion Code here: http://www.lioneggfarms.co.uk/information/british-lion-quality-code-of-practice/
VQ Country Wines – drinks of the gods
Address: Hill View Farm, Nupend Lane, Longhope Gloucestershire
Small batch, splendid quality – this is the motto of Debbie Attrill, the owner of VQ Country Wines and a true wine magician. If you haven’t met a wine magician yet, you need to meet Debbie in person, or even better, try one of her wines. We are absolutely convinced that if The Olympian Gods existed today, they would order a few hundred bottles of her wines for their famous feasts. Debbie started her career over 25 years ago, when her uncle gave her fermentation bin and an old guide for wine makers. Today, she produces over 20 different kinds of wine for every occasion. We tried her parsnip wine and it was delicious! Debbie is also a great hostess – as you can see on the attached picture, she had a great time posing for us.
May Hill Brewery – traditional ales for a modern customers
Address: Holly Bush Farm, Ross Road (A40), Longhope Gloucestershire
Longhope in Gloucestershire is literally, a land flowing with ales and wine. May Hill Brewery are close neighbours of VQ Country Wines and even had their stall very close to Debbie’s. The Brewery belongs to Tony and Liz Davies and specializes in making traditional dark ales using the newest techniques and equipment. The business started only two years ago, but the makers are already respected and very well known throughout Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Forest of Dean. The local favourite seems to be the “Legless Cow” – amber ale with distinctive fruit finish brewed using Maris Otter and Crystal malt with Fuggles and Challenger hops. Tony and Liz use only their own mineral rich spring well water that comes from 200 feet below the farm. Rita bought a bottle of the Legless Cow with intention of giving it as a present for our dad, but she ended up drinking it herself!
May Hill Brewery is open to the public and offers guided tours for individual customers or organized groups. The tour lasts an hour and a half and each participant receives a bottle of ale and an engraved glass as a souvenir. You can also go for a full day tour with hands-on experience of brewing ales. The owners promise the guests will be hard at work mashing, boiling and pitching their beer before being rewarded with a delicious tasting session. Sounds like a lot of fun!
One Jolly Girl – Girlpower!
Address: Hereford and Leominster
One Jolly Girl is not just a fancy name for a business. The girl really exists and her name is Sarah Taylor. She is the owner, designer, master cook and a great talent behind the OJG brand. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Sarah personally, but we had a great time talking to Angus, Sarah’s friend and a seller at One Jolly Girl’s stand in the High Town. It was very easy to find Sarah’s store at the market. All you had to do, was to follow the delicious smell. When we arrived, Angus was working like a devil, trying to serve all customers gathered around the stand. However, not everyone in the crowd was impressed with the beautifully decorated cakes and pies. One elderly gentleman was sceptical if the delicate flowers and elaborate designs were truly hand made. To learn more, we had done a bit of research online. Despite her young age, Sarah has been baking and designing cakes for many years and previously ran a successful baking business in Manchester. She also has a degree in graphic design and studied cake decoration at Trafford College. We understand that before she enters the kitchen, Sarah designs the cakes in a traditional way – on a piece of paper, where each decorative element is drawn by hand. The moral of this is simple – never doubt the skills of the maker. You might not be able to do it, but for others, it is just a piece of – you know- cake!
Alumhurst’s Pork & Two Veg – ecological meat and vegetables
Address: Alumhurst, New Road, Woolhope, Herefordshire
Alumhurst’s Pork & Two Veg Company has been created in 2010 when Joe Brandt realized that the commercial meat available in supermarkets is not of the best quality and the animals raised for it, are treated unfairly and sometimes plainly cruel. He wanted to create a farm where animals would be fed healthy diet, live in groups in a free range environment, matured longer and the meat would be produced in accordance with the highest European standards and with respect to the animals. Joe and his family breed Berkshire pigs and the excellent quality of pork they produce, proves that the mass meat production is not the way to go. Our vegetarian friends might be surprised that we decided to write about company that produces meat, but we think Joe’s farm should be advertised. Humans will always eat meat, and Joe’s attitude and business should be given as an example. The farm offers not only the meat but also free range hen and duck eggs and fresh seasonal vegetables. Veggies are raised in clay and loamy soil at Woolhope in Herefordshire, without any use of chemical fertilizers or pesticide sprays.
Orchard Grove Preserves – Preserves you deserve!
Address: Orchard House, The Grove Farm, Yarkhill, Ledbury,
Yarkhill based family company called Orchard Grove Preserves is run by Vivien Brandt and her relatives. Vivian is very well known to the citizens of Hereford as she is a permanent member of the Farmers Market that takes place on the first Saturday each month. For us, however, it was a first meeting and we have to say, we are truly impressed by the quality of Vivien’s preserves. They are not only delicious, but also brilliantly packed and can be given as a luxurious gift. Vivien uses only the fruits she collects herself and what’s growing in her own garden. She said she carefully picks the fruits before she uses them – the clients can be sure of the highest quality of her products. It takes several hours and many kilograms of fresh fruits for Vivian to make a single jar, so enjoy each bite! The selection of products is hanging with each season, so you will always find something new in her offer. We highly recommend hot tea, Blackberry and Apple jam and heated scones – it is what we call a Heaven on Earth!
We would love to write about each stall that we have seen, but it is simply impossible. Once again, we are forced to limit this review to our favourite producers, but believe us, it is only the tip of the iceberg. The Farmer market was huge – you could barely make your way through the High Town as it was absolutely packed with people!
We will take a week off from writing the blog (flying t0 Poland on Saturday), but please return as soon as you can. We still have lots of pictures from the Cathedral Close and some funny stories to tell. Have you ever seen a hanging pig? Do you know how to make a Victorian butter? Are girls with violet eyes real? Come back to find out!
See you next week!
Mal and Rita
EDIT – 2013.01.11
Wow! Thank you so much! We don’t really know what to say. Since the first part of our review was posted online, our blog has been visited by so many people; we could hardly believe the numbers. Please take a look at our monthly stats and then at the last two days. The difference is huge! This proves that people like to read about what’s happening in Herefordshire. We will try to attend many events this year and write detailed reports for your entertainment.
We would like to especially thanks the organizers of the festival for their support and compliments. Our review has been posted on their official Facebook page and on their official blog.
You can see it yourself here: http://www.facebook.com/FlavoursOfHerefordshireFestival2012
The official blog can be accessed here: http://flavoursofherefordshire.co.uk/blog/
Mal has also noticed something cool on Twitter – her messages are being shared among other fans. If you’d like to re-tweet our messages, please feel free to do so. The more, the merrier as they say. Great work Clare, much appreciated!
Have a great weekend folks,