Fantastic food, weather and foraging at the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival

It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over a year since we launched Eat Anglia. It’s been quite a year! Looking back, it was last year’s Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival (@AldeburghFood) that really gave us the final push to get the site launched (see what I wrote about last year’s visit). So it goes without saying that it’s the first festival to get a second blog. Not that I’ll struggle to find things to say about it as we had a wonderful time again. It was great to see so many people out celebrating such amazing local produce and the atmosphere was really buzzing. With loads of demonstrations by top chefs (this year included Valentine Warner, Thomasina Miers and Galton Blackiston), a full programme of hands-on workshops, and fringe events that carry on until 13th October, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

The weather on Saturday was fantastic, and having arrived nice and early, we had an initial wander around to take it all in. Despite being sidetracked by The Bhaji Man‘s (@bhajiman) stand for onion bhaji and jalfrezi kits, the Deepmills Coffee (@DeepmillsUK) stand for some of their Monsoon Malabar and High House Fruit Farm‘s (@HighHouseFruit) stand for Cox and Bramley apple juice and some of their Victoria plums for healthy snackage, we managed to take some photos before it got too crowded inside.

Beautiful weather

Beautiful weather

Inside the marquee before it got too crowded

Inside the marquee before it got too crowded

Marybelle brought along their award winning Greek yoghurt

Marybelle with their award winning Greek yoghurt

It soon got very busy

It soon got very busy

We were very jealous of some of the lovely vintage vehicles, which seem to be increasingly popular with many of the producers. Here are a few that caught our eye…

AlderTree icecream van

AlderTree icecream van

Cragg sisters' vintage van

Cragg sisters’ vintage van

Hadley's Farmer Bill's icecream 'Dub'

Hadley’s Farmer Bill’s icecream ‘Dub’

Cédric the Citroen

Cédric the Citroen

This year we took part in a couple of the workshops. The first – sausage making – was great fun – you can read about it in Pete’s blog post. Following that (and a cheeky Suffolk beef burger from The Froize‘s street food van ‘Gloria!’), we went off to join Vivia Bamford (@farctum) for a Wild Food Foray.

Vivia gave us a great introduction to foraging – something I’ve always wanted to know more about – and opened my eyes to just how many edible plants and berries we’d normally just walk straight past. We did an hour long walk around Snape Maltings, and even within such a small distance, there was a lot to see and learn about; from sea buckthorn to mushrooms, dandelions to rosehips and hawthorn (plus a lot of others). I’m definitely keen to learn more, but think I’ll steer away from picking mushrooms for the time being!

Mid-foray with Vivia

Wild Food Foray with Vivia

Our harvest: Sloes and rosehips

Our harvest: sloes and rosehips

We were so inspired that we stopped off on the way home and picked sloes and rosehips, which we’re hoping to combine with some crabapples and blackberries to turn them into hedgerow jelly. Naturally saving some of the sloes to make sloe gin!

There were so many other wonderful stalls that we didn’t get to visit, but other produce that we picked up included ketchup and Piccalilli from Stokes Sauces (@StokesSauces), Ruby Red Ale from St Peter’s Brewery, (@StPetersBrewery) and some venison from the Wild Meat Company (@WildMeatCompany), which we braised the following evening – delicious – and good for you according to an article on the Guardian’s website from September!

Braised venison with beer, bacon and chestnuts

Braised venison with beer, bacon and chestnuts

We’ll definitely be back next year, hopefully to celebrate a second year of Eat Anglia! I’d definitely recommend booking up some of the workshops in advance – they really helped to make it an inspirational and memorable day.

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