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Monday, 13 August 2012

Chocolate, Churros, Chilli and Cider at Foodies Festival

That got your attention, didn't it? More about the chocolate and churros later, but this post is about the Edinburgh Foodies Festival which I went to with my blogging friends Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and Claire of A Kiss of Cookies.
The Foodie Festival was held in Inverleith Park near the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.  It was very busy with several rows of tented stalls, live music and the smell of barbequed meat hanging in the air.

This is what it looked like from outside in the park.

We started at one end and worked our way up and down the aisles of tents, tasting samples of cheese, spicy Thai Fish cakes made with angustura bitters, a little chocolate whisky cream and picking up samples of coffee and little Bon Maman madeleines.  Eventually we decided that we had better buy something more substantial.

I was drawn inexorably toward the Arbroath Smokie stall.  I just love the fragrant smoked haddock, it reminds me of my childhood, when we probably had them once a week, just split dotted with butter and warmed under the grill.  Where I live now, they don't sell them and if I've ever got one it has been dry and not worth bothering with.  So I often ask  my Mum to get smokies when I go to visit.

Here are the pairs of haddock on the racks for smoking, you can see the smoky fire too.  I still smelled like a kipper when I got home!

The smokies were split, deboned and wrapped in paper ready for sale.

I was not disappointed, totally delicious and still warm. 

Claire went for a bacon roll and Jacqueline found some noodles and suchi (no pictures, sorry).
Then it was time for some dessert, Claire had had her eye on the churros earlier on and made our way back to the stall.

Jac had to try some too.

As well as sampling some vintage, peasant cider.  We all had a taste and it was really good although it was a strange colour, like orangeade.

 Sorry about the squinting, the sun was in my eyes!

We had a great time and the sun shone which was a bonus, but there were so many ways that the festival would have been better for me: 

Getting there
 There was very little signage so actually finding Inverleith Park was a challenge. There were no directions on the website, no information about buses or parking opportunities, so if you didn't know the area, you had to do a lot of extra research to find your way.  The only sign we saw was on the gate to the park and by that time we were already there.  I know the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe were on, but a few signs round about Stockbridge and perhaps on Ferry Road would have made all the difference.

 Who and Where
There was no programme or plan of who was exhibiting and where they were located in the fenced off festival area.  Okay, I can understand they might not have been able to publish it on the website if there were late entries, but a list with numbers and aisles would have been very welcome, even if I'd had to buy it!  I've visited the Pot Fest in the Park near Penrith which is a pottery fair and they manage to provide this.  I had been tweeting The Elephant Juice Soup Company earlier in the day, but I never did find their stall. Planning who you want to see and looking back afterwards is, for me, part of the pleasure of an event like this.

The Chef's Theatre
I was really looking forward to seeing  a demonstration, but the people who took the tickets did not  give any indication about booking and the booth was placed just inside the entry almost behind the tent where people were buying tickets.  Now maybe if you bought a ticket on the day you would be told to book, but we didn't get that information, so everything was booked up.  Again, it would have been good to pre-book online, but if not then some information at the gate would have been equally useful.

Range of Exhibitors
Maybe I missed some exhibitors because of the lack of a programme (can you tell that I'm a bit narked by that?) but it seemed that there were a lot of  stalls for chocolate, spicy rubs/oils/flavourings/dips and booze!  It was very meat heavy too, not that I minded, but other than the noodle stall 'The Scottish Vegetarian' was rather challenged to find lunch, there may have been more, but we didn't know where they were.

Did I have a good time - YES!  Would I go back - probably not unless the organisation is better.

I was not sponsored by anyone to write this post, these views are my own and cannot be attributed to the friends who visited the festival with me.  

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At 13 August 2012 at 22:08 , Blogger Jacqueline Meldrum said...

It was a great day, even if they were a bit disorganised. It was great to get together xx

At 13 August 2012 at 22:40 , Anonymous Laura loves cakes said...

What a fab day...I love a good food festival! Those churros look amazing too! :-)

At 13 August 2012 at 22:45 , Blogger Cakeyboi said...

The churros looked amazing! I love them whenever I go to Chiquito's - I'm sure these ones would be even better! And as for the smokies, speaking as an Arbroath lad - very good choice!

At 14 August 2012 at 08:38 , Anonymous Petra08 said...

Lucky you :) It sounds like a good day (despite the slight lack of organization) and Arbroath Smokies are fantastic!

Not to mention churros, I love them! :)

At 14 August 2012 at 09:44 , Blogger Unknown said...

oh I do wish I could have been there with you, it looks like you had the most wonderful day... and now I'm STARVING !!!

At 14 August 2012 at 09:50 , Anonymous Jacqueline @Howtobeagourmand said...

Yay! Nice to see the sun shining on an outdoor event in Scotland!
I went to the Foodies Festival last year in Hampton Court Festival and was bitterly disappointed. Not enough space for the crowds that attended - hardly any seating so we were forced to sit on the ground and eat any purchases next to dogs that were permitted on the grounds. Poor information on booking items such as wine tasting and chef demos and a disproportionate number of stalls selling cupcakes :-)I was given the ticket but would have been annoyed if I had paid for it. Based on such a disappointing experience I wouldn't go back. On the plus side it's good that more and more foodie events are appearing north of the Border :-)

At 14 August 2012 at 19:52 , Blogger Chris Half said...

Would have loved to have a look, too. Can't rememver when I visited a foos festival last time ...

At 14 August 2012 at 23:19 , Blogger Baking Addict said...

I love churros!!! The foodie festival looks great too - I love going to markets and food festivals.

At 14 August 2012 at 23:26 , Blogger Karen S Booth said...

LOVELY to see you all having such a GREAT time, a LOVELY day out by the looks of it! Karen

At 15 August 2012 at 21:42 , Blogger Traceyr said...

What a shame it wasn't organised a little better Janice. Love the look of the smokies though. :)

At 17 August 2012 at 09:37 , Blogger Galina Varese said...

Lovely photos of you all! Would have loved to try the churros as well, they look scrummy.

At 17 August 2012 at 20:15 , Blogger Choclette said...

Never mind anything else that was on offer Janice or the various difficulties you encountered, I am gagging for some of those churros and chocolate! I've always wanted to try them, but really don't want to make them as I don't do deep frying.

Sounds like you had a good time really and it was a nice opportunity for you all to meet up.

At 18 August 2012 at 14:32 , Blogger Johanna GGG said...

the churros and chocolate and cider sounds fantastic but I always want some proper savoury veg food to be available too. Having scoured my ena baxter cookbook for suitable veg recipes I can understand there being few traditional veg recipes but surely there are so many modern veg versions such as veg haggis that it shouldn't be that hard these days!


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