Review: Foodies Festival - A feast for all the senses

PUBLISHED: 15:25 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:25 13 May 2019

People milling about near the Crispy Duck stall. Picture: KAREN RICHARDS

People milling about near the Crispy Duck stall. Picture: KAREN RICHARDS

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Sensational sights, smells and sounds tempted visitors to sample a spectacular array of tasty treats during a celebration of all things food-related at the weekend so it would have been churlish not to check it out for myself, just for research purposes you understand!

Sun-worshippers stayed right up until the end of the festival to grab the last of the day's great weather. Picture: KAREN RICHARDSSun-worshippers stayed right up until the end of the festival to grab the last of the day's great weather. Picture: KAREN RICHARDS

The Bristol Foodies Festival showcases cuisine from around the world, which along with live music and cooking demonstrations, took over The Downs from Friday until yesterday (Sunday).

The event is not the UK's biggest celebration of food, drink and wellbeing without good reason - it is immense, with more than 200 exhibitors including a street food village and artisan producers, as well as trade stands promoting wellness products and services, plus funfair rides and games.

Famished festival-goer Tony King tucks into chicken tikka with rice and onion bhaji. Picture: KAREN RICHARDSFamished festival-goer Tony King tucks into chicken tikka with rice and onion bhaji. Picture: KAREN RICHARDS

After perusing the international cuisine on offer and sampling two types of cheese and some triple-cooked chips, my friend and I then tackled the extremely tricky task of narrowing it down from such a vast selection to find a dish or two to eat and finally opted for a chicken tikka, Thai noodles and a crab burger, which we washed down with a refreshing pint of cider sat at a wooden table, soaking up the gorgeous sunshine. We agreed there is not many better ways to spend a few hours on a glorious Sunday afternoon.

Once those were polished off it was time to take a glimpse into how it is all done by paying a visit to the line of marquees where we could sit and watch celebrity chefs and well-known restaurateurs whipping up a storm during themed cooking demonstrations and drink master classes which went on throughout each day and included a desserts theatre and kids' cookery school.

Big vats of paella brought a European flavour to the festival. Picture: KAREN RICHARDSBig vats of paella brought a European flavour to the festival. Picture: KAREN RICHARDS

Michelin-star chefs George Livesey, of Bristol's Bulrush restaurant, and Rob Potter, from the Manor House in Wiltshire, along with Jan Ostle of Wilson's and Louise McCrimmon of the city's Harvey Nichols restaurant were just four of the many chefs who performed in the food theatres. And Ping Coombes also showed off the culinary skills which saw her win Masterchef in 2014 on the chef's demonstration stage.

And as if that wasn't enough to keep the merry throng entertained there was also an arena where dog-lovers could watch pooches perform tricks and a live music stage to give people something to watch while munching on the scrumptious food.

Queen tribute band Flash wowed the crowds with their excellent set as the headliners on the music stage on Sunday. Picture: TONY KINGQueen tribute band Flash wowed the crowds with their excellent set as the headliners on the music stage on Sunday. Picture: TONY KING

For the second year, the festival supported Musicians Against Homelessness with ticket sales raising thousands of pounds for UK charity Crisis. Chart-topping band Scouting For Girls headlined on Saturday night and leading Queen tribute act Flash last night, backed up by performances from 50 emerging local bands and soloists.

Watching these helped build up an appetite for dessert so we headed back around the stalls to see what would tempt us and plumped for a black forest brownie with warm chocolate sauce and cream and a Portugese tart. All the food was of course delicious, always tasting better in the open air and served by the people who prepared and cooked it.

Rotisserie chicken was just one of many culinary delights to tempt festival-goers. Picture: KAREN RICHARDSRotisserie chicken was just one of many culinary delights to tempt festival-goers. Picture: KAREN RICHARDS

More than 25,000 foodies flocked to the spectacle over the three days and it was not difficult to see why, being a fun-packed and informative day out, helped along by fabulous weather.

Festival director Sue Hitchen said: "Music and food are our two favourite things and over the years we have become known as the country's gastro Glastonbury as we stage festivals up and down the country.

"Bristolians really know their food and love to try something new.

"We can't wait to return."



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