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Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

On a much less serious note than yesterday, It occurred to me that I had not yet blogged on the wonders of Bompas and Parr improving festival goers health – who on their word did indeed turn up at The Big Chill (Festival) a few weeks back in the form of a stripy black and white pyramid situated at the top of a very big hill…. and when I say very, I am not exaggerating. One needed to be determined that they were going to get one of their five a day by getting there in the first place, I can tell you.

The venture proved hugely popular with us festy people, as having not seen a carrot stick or broccoli floret for days (I speak only for myself, although I am pretty sure the problem was widespread) were more than willing to enter a world of breathable fruit. However the genius Jelly mongers were also was there to spread the word on the variety and benefits of Fairtrade fruit now available to buy in supermarkets.

On entrance of the pyramid, Bompas (or maybe it was Parr? I am not sure which is which to be quite truthful…) asked our group to name fruits which were now available under the Fairtrade mark –  I managed about eight which I thought pretty impressive considering the amount of apples in the form of cider consumed the previous night. For the record there are now actually nineteen Fairtrade fruits readily available on shelves near you, an inspiring result of Fairtrade promotion and consumer uptake regarding the mark. See, some British folk are good people with ethics too.

(Yep, that is me up there, I felt like a little kid sitting at the top of that slide)

We also got given a scratch and sniff card* when stepping off from the slide – possibly a reminder of what fruit is and which came in handy to wave in front of sufferers nostrils in any emergency scurvy scares for the remainder of the festival camping period…

Sadly, the fruit power is with us no more, but with us in spirit.

*A scratch and sniff talk was also provided by the pair as part of the festival line-up, but unluckily as I was working in another field at the time, I could not sneak off and attend. For more information on all things fruity breath, and for a video of the inside of breathing chamber (maybe I should not call it this, it sounds a little morbid), here you go instead.

Afternote: I read this after publishing this post about the event –

“The Ziggurat of Flavour draws inspiration from 18th Century Cuccagna monuments. These formed the centerpieces for the most spectacular public celebrations in history.  They were vast architectural structures made of food based on the peasant tale of the Land of Cockaigne; a mythical place with mountains of cheese, rainstorms of cake and where all wildlife was pre-cooked and waiting to be eaten.  ”

Wow, this place sounds like the stuff my dreams are made of. I can wish…

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I have noticed that a lot of the popular food blogs write predominantly about the same restaurants that are opening, the same food events that they have been invited to. And as much as I like to read about these, it was seems slightly cliquey sometimes, and besides, I do not live in London.  So instead, being a student, and pretty averse to dining out anywhere for over a tenner unless it is a very important event (i.e. birthdays…yes that pretty much covers the term ‘important’), I’m going to blog on the wonders of festival eating instead.

Festivals. The illusion of rolling out of a mouldy smelling tent, onto damp grass (or due to the proximity of pitch – into someone else’s tent…) and dragging yourself from the previous nights excesses into an absolute air of hunger. It isn’t sophisticated, I am not trying to pretend there is glamour in this type of eating, but nonetheless, we minions must eat. And believe it or not, good food is available for those of us (and there are a few) who are willing (and/or able) to find it.

I went to Glastonbury this year for the first time in quite a few, and having been there a number of times with my parents when I was little, had vivid memories only of the food being on a standard slightly above school dinners. I must explain that my parents used to work for Oxfam on the fields, which meant free dinner tickets in the workers tent; which also meant a lot of soya milk and baked beans – both of which to this day I still cannot stand

However this year I really was impressed by general quality and variety of food stalls, and even more so by the prices – which, at around £6 a main meal really was not bad at all. Festival food in general has a reputation for pretty average burger vans and not much else, when in fact there are a number of popular eateries dotted around the country that now go on festival tours each summer. Maybe to promote their brand and gain recognition, maybe just to make money (they deserve credit – working flat out noon til night over a grill in dying heat as they did this year ) ; whatever the reason I am so glad they do.

Take for example my favourite of them at Glasto – Thali Café. A stall which I discovered on the first day of hunger pangs as it happened to be near my (badly pitched) tent. Serving up good portions of curry and popodoms, it must have made a killing, but it kept me happily supplied for a few days. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the fact it had won “best takeaway” at the BBC radio 4 Food and Farming awards on my entrance back into the real world the week after. Actually surprise is not quite the right word, my taste buds knew it was good, its just you don’t imagine festival stalls to actually be places people eat at in the real world.

Granted, Glasto has an ethical backbone, and therefore the stalls tend to reflect this in their food, however other festivals are increasingly followed suit.

The festival food stereotype has well and truly left this country, so get your wellies* out and go see some music with a lovely bit of grub.

I recommend the following if you are at a festival and happen to see them:

Thali Cafe – YUM!

The Soulful Food Company – Couldn’t find a website but I think this is what it was called? Serving ethically conscience main meals – I had free range turkey meatballs and rice

Tea & Toast- in a beautiful little camper van decorated with flowers serving as the name suggests…

Square Pie – Obviously because Pie is God.

And if you get thirsty (inbetween the cider!): The Orchard Pig – lovely apple juice based drinks but may only do Glasto

And of course, only at Glasto – The Milk Lorry. 80p a pint of COLD white stuff and an absolute morning lifesaver. Definately well appreciated by many, including myself.

 

(*Stereotype no.2 – festival essentials = wellies AND sun cream (no really, follow my words of wisdom and make sure you cover both these bases on packing)

Photo credits: John Cleur and Clare Waddington – Glasto Website. Better pictures than I managed that weekend – Kudos.

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