Review: Foodies Festival, Brighton
There are some things that really make Brighton amazing, and in my opinion one of those things is food. This volume of eateries can only mean one thing: a lot of foodies!
In comes the amazing annual Foodies Festival. Brighton Girl was invited down this year to participate in the wonder that is Foodies Fest and, let me tell you right now, it didn't disappoint.
As soon as we walked in, samples of drinks and the hum of a loud band greeted us; the perfect start to the May bank holiday weekend. The Festival was set out with larger drinks stalls near to the front (including tennis ball, bus and pirate ship stalls) with a live stage, followed by rows upon rows of stalls set out leading to the kid's area and toilets at the back.
Regardless of the weather, groups of smiling people were all around, huddling with their cocktail glasses (those Silent Pool gin glasses, though!?) and bags of goodies. The atmosphere was almost like Brighton but smushed into a scenic patch of Hove Lawns, with everyone happily chatting to strangers about the best cheese to try, "Oh, you need to try that one" and "Where is that from? I want some!" without the slightest worry of judgement. After all, we all love food here!
For a massive foodie like me, it was, if I'm honest, still a little daunting. There are so many amazing eateries with amazing smells and sounds it’s hard to focus on just one. As with any good food festival goer, we made sure to do a lap before deciding what we would go for.
What I love about the Foodies Festival is the variety: Sussex cheese with tasters galore next door to Quinoa Crack, a new healthy cereal; Betsy's Bakes just down from paella pans stacked with fresh seafood and saffron rice.
We tried a variety of things but my favourite was definitely the Takoyaki octopus balls from Shoryu Ramen. The Curried Goat by Mama Jacques was delicious, and the Katsu Burgers from Mai Taiko were stunning. The Bonne Maman desserts were also a highlight, which we got to try with a free sample of their Salted Caramel Creme - absolutely gorgeous.
It was great to see the occasional Brighton business and, more importantly for me, the consideration paid to those with allergies. Free-from ice cream van Yorica! offered a Pea-NOT Butter ice cream made entirely from soy, which was much appreciated by my nut-free partner in crime Fanny.
There’ s no charge for any of the shows on at Foodies Festival, you just have to get yourself organised and book for your favourite demonstrations. We were lucky enough to see some amazing people.
In the Chef's theatre, hosted by Tony Rodd:
Katy Kescow from Little Miss Meat Free Having just released her book 15 Minute Vegan, Katy made Harissa Aubergine Kebabs. She was really fun to watch, and signed books and took pictures with everyone at the end.
Candice from GBBO Although we couldn't fit into the tent where she was cooking, I actually met her whilst walking around. She was amazingly friendly and chatty, and took the time to take photos with everyone.
Juanita from Masterchef 2016 This we did manage to see. She cooked amazing spicy chicken wings served with coleslaw and an avocado mayonnaise, which we managed to taste a bit of at the end. She even handed out strawberry and basil cocktails to all in the audience, but we weren't quick enough for those unfortunately.
It was great to have a little insight into the world of Masterchef - she was open to talking about it and even encouraged audience members to join themselves.
In the Cakes and Bakes theatre:
Sarah Sibley from Bake with Sarah As someone who is always looking for allergy-friendly recipes, Sarah’s vegan chocolate and jam cake was great for me to witness and try at the end – it was delicious!
Fay Millar from Brighton Cakes It was great to end the festival with a Brighton business woman. Fay owns Brighton Cakes with her business partner Adele, and made the most beautiful rainbow cake. It was actually the same cake that she had made YouTuber Zoella for her most recent birthday, with drippings of icing and meringue on top. A total dream cake!
We had such a great time at Foodies Festival, and left with smiles, lovely foodie goodies, and feeling very full. If you’re near one of their locations, we suggest you grab a ticket and get ready to feast.
Foodies Festival comes to Bristol, London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Blackheath, Tatton Park, Edinburgh, Alexandra Palace and Oxford. Find out dates and further information on their website.
Written by Amara. You can find more from Amara on her blog Brighton Born and Bread.
Photography by Fanny. You can find more of Fanny's photography on her website.