A couple of weeks ago I headed off to Longleat Food and Drink Festival in the heart of Wiltshire… I hopped on a train at Paddington early in the morning on Saturday and trundled along the tracks, sipping coffee…I left a grey and cloudy London behind me and arrived in a blaze of sunshine. It was utterly glorious!
The very kind folk at Stoves had invited me to the festival, where they were the sponsors of the celebrity demo kitchens, where chefs would be cooking away on their lovely appliances. I was so looking forward to seeing the demonstrations from the various chefs and picking up some culinary tips and tricks…
Stoves, if you don’t know already, are the gurus of gorgeous kitchen appliances, which are, absolutely brilliantly, ‘Engineered for Food’ – they firmly believe that everyone should be able to cook high quality top notch food at home – brilliant appliances should not be reserved just for professional chefs.
They were founded in 1920 (so they may get a telegram from the Queen next year!) and this year are celebrating Staying In In, rather than going out out! They are spreading the gospel that staying at home with your pals and loved ones and enjoying good food together is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And I couldn’t agree more. I’m the first to suggest staying at home, no matter what the weather… and now that our garden is no longer a big pile of mud, entertaining at home al fresco is my new favourite thing.
A soon as I arrived I was knocked over by all the delicious smells wafting through the air. I very much enjoyed meandering around the fabulous grounds of Longleat Manor and sampling all the tasty wares from the various makers and producers… There was every cuisine you could possibly think of, including crumpets and tea. (Which I strongly believe is a cuisine in its own right).
I had a little chat with the very lovely John Torode – see my hard-hitting (snort) interview below – all about staying in with family and friends and having a dinner party – new research shows that Brits hold 720 dinner parties over their lifetime and we spend a whopping 9.2 hours preparing for and clearing up after every dinner party planned… that is A LOT of time. And rings very true for me…
John was full of ideas as to how I could make life easier for myself, including picking a few dishes up from the local Indian takeaway, making sure all men wore makeup and that I installed a trapdoor for certain politicians… ;)
I loved watching the various chefs at work – John Torode, Emma Weymouth and Tim Maddams all chopped and diced and whizzed about doing clever kitchen things while I and everyone else watched and learnt. It was such a treat to watch.
The festival was full of families with children barely able to contain their excitement at the fairground rides and extraordinary amounts of ice cream… and the grounds were peppered with small groups, sitting on blankets and picnicking under the sun and the shade of the enormous trees dotted my the manor. Such lovely Summer foodie vibes…
The Elizabethan manor itself was really extraordinary and it was very special to wander around the grand rooms and sweeping corridors…it was like stepping back in time. Completed by Sir John Thynne in 1580, his descendants are still lucky enough to call it their home… and what a home it is! I am such a nosy parker and would have loved to peek behind every door…such a fascinating place to live.
Of course my experience wouldn’t have been complete without a glimpse of a few creatures, and although I saw no lions or tigers (which makes perfect sense as no one else would have stood a chance at the burger stall) I did get to see some beautiful wildlife and enjoyed very much watching the children discovering new animals and being utterly enthralled…
A huge thank you to Stoves for hosting me at this super event – I came home laden with cooking secrets, charcuterie and fudge.
Very well done, I thought.
This post is sponsored by Stoves and all thoughts & opinions are my own.