Exeter Food Festival 2016

For the last two years my wife and I have made our way into Exeter for the annual food festival that has been hosted within the courtyard of Exeter Castle and the surrounding Northernhay Gardens. The last few years has seen the event grow in size with more and more suppliers and companies attending, and more of the general public being attracted as a result.

Over the three days of the 22nd to the 24th of April the Food and Drink festival occupied Northernhay Gardens once again, with the promise of further expansion and even more free tasters and great offers.

To make the most of the day Laura and I jumped on a train and made our way in for a day of food, drink and adventure. As we had been before we had already checked the events website and purchased tickets for a slightly reduced price than buying at the gate, though there were no shortage of tickets to buy on the gate if you wanted to. The tickets for the event always seem to be a little expensive at £8 each (advance purchase) for adult tickets, though if you take into account the amount of stalls and things to do, the price is actually not so bad.

As mentioned already, the event grows each year, but I was not expecting the number of new features and tents that were present this year. Among the notable mentions there this year were the large Darts Farm tent, which had exhibitions, shows and fun for the kids. The main demonstration space, which had Michael Caine in sharing his talent to a good size crowd. There was also a pub tent hosted by Exeter brewery (who make some really rather good beers).

One of the cooking demonstrations at the festival

There has always been a great range of suppliers at the food festival, but this year the quality of the food and drinks on offer was amazing. I liked the way that most of the alcohol vendors were within their own little section at the front of the suppliers tents, allowing a more flowing experience once in the main tents.

The main food tents were not too busy when we get there at around 11am, though by midday it was quite busy, with getting the best free tasters becoming more of a scrummage then a day out. That being said people were very friendly and everyone seemed to be there for a good time.

I will not run through what I bought at the festival in this post, as I have some special posts lined up around those particular items. I do however want to shout-out the guys and girls from Coombe Farm, who’s stand was full of the most amazing tasting beef and pork related products I think I have ever tasted. The lady on the stand was very helpful and informative. The meat in question is organic and grass fed to help make the meat as tasty as possible. I cannot recommend trying meat from these guys enough, and I will be ordering some online myself sometime soon!

There is so much more I could talk about, including the street food in the castle, the kids entertainment area with story telling and games, and the endless tasters of great food (maybe I did mention the tasters already).

Overall the festival was great and well worth the entrance fee. Now, only 12 months until the next one…

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