Malton Food Lovers Festival – On our first ever visit to the Malton Food Lovers Festival a few weeks ago we were bowled over by the quality of the food suppliers and their produce. The ancient marketplace was overflowing with tents, rows of food stalls and areas to sit down and enjoy some of the Street Food and our food purchases. And, luckily, the weather was reasonable. Hazy mist first thing when we arrived, about 9.45 am, but by lunchtime the sun had come out and everyone was enjoying the warmth of the day.
So many great producers of oils, foods and drinks almost made it difficult to know where to begin, but to Erik and myself, that was a lovely problem. Thankfully there was a brilliant booklet and leaflet put together by the Festival’s organisers, which told us everything we needed to know.
The vivid imagination and creativity of some of the food producers knew no bounds. For instance, take a look at this. Erik just couldn’t resist taking this picture of this amazing Pink VW Camper Van transformed into ‘LulaBelles’ Tea and Cakes stall.
There were a number of people we had made a special note to visit, and Tina Boden and husband Neal of Priorat Provenance were the first we stumbled across. I had become aware of Tina and her Olive Oil through Twitter, so thought it would be fun to match up the ‘face’ with the Twitter ‘name’. Well, what do you say in these circumstances? “Hi, I’m a fellow twitterer, Astrid,” was my opening announcement. After masses of smiles and handshakes, Tina and Neal told us the fascinating story of how the Mother’s Garden Extra Virgin, First Pressed Cold Pressed Olive Oil came into being. It really is a magical story, involving Tina reading in the Yorkshire Post about an English family packing up for a new life in the beautiful Catalonia region of Spain – a modern day ‘Good Life’ story – and how Tina and Neil visited for a holiday, befriended the family and became involved in importing this amazingly tasty olive oil into the UK. They were also thrilled when the Mother’s Garden Olive Oil was awarded 3 Gold Stars in Great Taste Awards in 2011.
After hearing about the inception of Mother’s Garden Olive Oil, and being given a sample, we knew we just had to buy the glass bottle, and once home we did a tasting. It was fresh, fruity and I was happy to drink it by the teaspoonful. Not too strong or greasy, it just tasted so good, and will be used for dressings and drizzled over prosciutto/Parma ham/salamis etc., anything we can think of. Also, as mother of a Designer son, and wife to Erik who worked in Advertising for years, a love of good design has rubbed off onto me. So to Tina and Neal, just love the logo and graphics on your Mother’s Garden/Priorat Provenance Business Card – brilliant!
To read the full story, see the stunning scenery and learn more about Priorat Provenance, please click here.
Next, what do you call a collection of chefs? A skillet of chefs? A saute of chefs? A gaggle of chefs? I’m not sure, but that is what Erik and I almost bumped into early in the morning at the Malton Food Lovers Festival.
As avid watchers of James Martin on Saturday Kitchen, we were wandering around, browsing, when I turned and nearly fell over this famous Yorkshire chef. I’ts wierd when you watch someone on the TV, then almost bump into them in real life. I was about to say ‘Hi’ then realised that I didn’t really know him. So I kept quiet, but Erik was taking pictures and this one turned up in the camera.
James has recently bought The Talbot Hotel in Malton, and was also promoting “Life, Fork & Spoon”, his stylish new range of restaurant quality food, available to us all, with free, next-day delivery. A boon for the busy hostess/host, or just a treat for a special day. I sampled one or two dishes at the Festival, and loved the Red Pepper Pesto, but there is a huge selection, from Dinner Party Boxes to individual dishes, and desserts. To have a look at James’s creations on the “Life, Fork & Spoon” website, please click here.
Michelin star Chef, James Mackenzie, of the beautiful old pub with stunning restaurant and food, “The Pipe and Glass Inn” in South Dalton, near Beverley, was the next chef to pop up in front of us. He was demonstrating in the big tent to hundreds of his fans, and also doing a question and answer session alongside a book-signing for his superb, stylish and informative first cookbook, “On The Menu” – a very busy chef.
The legendary Antonio Carluccio OBE (mentioned in a previous post), is a new Patron to the Festival) and was very happy to stroll around and talk to the crowds, in between demonstrating and signing his new cookbook, “Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy”.
And Chef Andrew Pern, of “The Star Inn” at Harome, (winner of a Michelin Star nine years in a row, and no doubt going to be awarded another one soon) was at the Malton Food Lovers Festival as Patron, and was also carrying out food demonstrations and book-signings of his award winning cookbooks, “Black Pudding & Foie Gras” and “Loose Birds & Game”, ( superb cookbooks, each winning the Gourmand Silver Medal for The Best Chef Book in the World). We bumped into him enjoying a refreshing, thirst-quenching glass of the Limited Edition Festival Brew that both he and James Mackenzie had helped create.
We sampled salty cheeses, creamy blue cheeses, spicy salamis, Focaccia, Ciabatta, Wholemeal, Rye and oozing Garlic breads from many stallholders, and loved Produtti Mainieri, overflowing with ‘Authentic Italian Ingredients’. And we nibbled at crusty and fabulous Sourdough Breads, so many different varieties, all from Speciality Sourdough Breads.
We chanced upon the Etruscany stall and ascended into Italian foodie heaven, sampling fabulous Prosciutto Crudo and my favourite salami, Finocchioncina, with Fennel Seeds. Also Pecorino cheese in many guises, some with Black Pepper, some with Ash and, for the Gourmets amongst you, Pecorino with Truffle. All this wonderful food from an attractive Italian lady, who also brings in Fresh Truffles every week!! To find out more about this wonderful Italian produce available in Yorkshire (and the rest of the UK), just click here for Etruscany, another wonderful importer of Italian food (but based in North Yorkshire). Couldn’t resist a lot of this produce, so gradually our bags became heavier and heavier.
We ate spoonfuls of honey (runny and hard), nibbled on soft, spongy, creamy cupcakes, topped with vivid icing and edible glitter, ate crumbly, spicy sausage rolls, and got chocolatey fingers from richly decorated chocolates and truffles. We bought a Caynenne Chilli plant from the Yorkshire Chillies gentlemen (the plant is doing brilliantly) and tasted salty, gorgeous Olives, in all their different forms. It was just pure heaven !!!!
But it was a bit early for us for alcoholic beverages. Walking around, just enjoying the atmosphere, we perused the Ampleforth Abbey stall, overflowing with Cider, Cider Brandy (which is on my wish list), Sloe Gin and Damson Gin. Those monks at Ampleforth really know what to do with Apples and Fruit, and a visit to the Abbey is definitely on our ‘To Do’ list.
A surprise find at the Festival was the Wood-Fired Ovens by Jamie Oliver. If you have read my blog, you will know that I am an avid fan and proud owner of a Wood-Fired Oven. So to see this one, and talk to the gentleman in attendance, was quite special. They had a small working oven fitted into a van, making pizzas, would you believe!!
Jamie’s Wood-Fired Ovens come from Valoriani, a family business in Tuscany who have been experts in their field for over a century. My dream is to have a smaller house but with an Outdoor Kitchen with a Wood-Fired Oven built into it. Maybe one day …..
Another Wood-Fired Oven specialist, this time a company that uses the oven to cater for Corporate Groups, Shows and Festivals, or as they put it, ‘Birthdays, Weddings or Just a Family get together’ is The Pizza Farm. Their oven was huge and built into the back of a big Land Rover, and was doing a roaring trade in Pizzas etc. Do click here to have a look at their website, especially if you want a special school outing, a big barbecue or want a different wedding. It is brilliant.
Next picture is me, Astrid, having a look at the great range of Pork and Lamb products from the Three Little Pigs, who we often see at the Humber Bridge Farmers Market. They are doing incredibly well, and their free range and home reared meat is being sold all over the country now. A young husband and wife who live in East Yorkshire, they nurture their rare breed Berkshire pigs, and Black Welsh mountain lamb on the grassy slopes of the Wolds. The sell direct to the public, both from their website and from Food Markets and Fairs. Click here to find out more about Three Little Pigs.
So much to see, so many samples of great food to try. What a brilliant way to spend a few hours, surrounded by food lovers and producers. Erik and I were like little kids when we unpacked our bag of Malton goodies, back home in our kitchen. It was like Christmas, but smelled garlicky, cheesy, spicy and just downright wonderful.
Malton Food Lovers Festival was spectacular, in the amount, variety and quality of producers and their produce, the organisation and the setting in the old market square. To find out about the Food Lovers Festival, click here. (This tells you about the 2012 festival, but you can possibly contact them to find out about next year).
Talking about next year, 2013, Erik and myself hope to go and stay for the night in or around Malton, and take in a lot more of the wonderful food and drink produce. Hopefully we will see you there.