The sun is shining on my face, I have a glass of fruity Pimm’s in my hand and the smells of foods from around the world are wafting in the air. I’m in HEAVEN. Well, actually, I’m at the Brighton Foodies Festival on Hove Lawns but as a food blogger, this is my equivalent.
With so much to see, taste and take home, one day at the festival isn’t enough to cover even a quarter of the food vendors and demonstrations at the event. Nonetheless, here’s a run down of what I managed on day one. Weather permitting I hope to be back on Monday to cram in a lot more!
With my VIP press pass firmly on my wrist, I head straight to the VIP tent for my first drink. If you like the idea of the VIP treatment, VIP tickets are £38 and include one day’s entry to the festival, a free glass of fizz, use of the VIP area with private bar, as well as priority entry to food and drink masterclasses, exclusive VIP only masterclasses, show guide and a goody bag to take home. Oh and access to the VIP loos too (handy if you don’t want to queue!)
Is it worth the money? Only if you can afford to splash out! The bar is really pretty, decorated with bright blooms and a few sofas but if money is a bit tight I recommend saving the extra pennies for the food vendors. We didn’t have too much trouble finding beanbags and tables in either, so just get down to the fest early to bag a beanie.
Street Style at Mai Taiko
Our first food stop was Mai Taiko, a Japanese street food vendor cooking out of a very snazzy, mirrored, Airstream. On offer, fish or chicken katsu burgers – £9 and one of my favourite Japanese dishes, kara-age chicken – £5 for a small portion or £9 for a large. Despite the portion being small, it was totally worth the £5. The chicken was tangy and moist and the fried potato starch outer shell crisp without a trace of grace. Just as a side note, Bincho Yakitori serves a version of this dish that would be on my ‘last meal’ menu – check it out – it’s mouth-watering!
Photo credit – Mai Takio
Wine Tasting at Home
Amongst the many products and experiences to buy at the festival, one offering stood out – Pieroth Home Wine Tasting. The company is doing a great offer for festival-goers: pay £29 and the company will come to your home and host a wine tasting with 12 different bottles of wine for 6 people. We couldn’t resist this and bought ourselves a tasting – £4.80 per person, that’s a bargain!
Getting My Jerk On
The sun was properly out by this point and I was well into my eating groove and ready for my next meal. Since my Caribbean roots rarely allow me to walk past a jerk chicken/curry goat stall without stopping to try, today was clearly going to be no different. Mama Jacques had all my Caribbean favourites on her menu and after deliberating in the queue the deal was done when a lady next to me recommended the jerk chicken – £7. My chicken came with all the trimmings – rice and peas, slaw and fried plantain and it was seriouslyyyyy good – smokey (like it had been cooked in a barrel street style) tender and flavoursome.
Mateus Rosé + Free Sunnies
Mateus was one of the boozy bargains of the festivals with a bottle of its fizzy rosé just £5 and four pairs of sunnies to brighten up our looks. This Portuguese Rosé was light and fruity and whilst no fine wine – it was a nice easy-to-drink summer number and we easily got 6 cups out of the bottle.
Oysters – keeping up traditions
It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to have oysters at the food festival and when they are just £2 a pop you can’t really say no! So we didn’t. Both Scottish Native and Jersey rock oysters were on sale with all the condiments you could wish for.
The Garlic Farm Field Kitchen
I’d smelt the gorgeous aromatics of garlic all day and then we figured out why; The Garlic Farm Field Kitchen is a whole stand dedicated to dishes smothered in the stuff – now you’re talking. On the menu; gourmet garlic mushrooms, cheesy garlic bread as well as “The Vampire Slayer’s Stake Sandwich’ – full points for the use of puns there guys. The girls had the cheesy garlic bread to share and amongst murmurs of “Mmmm”, I gathered it was pretty tasty.
Right in the middle of the lawns was what looks like a giant tennis ball. As I didn’t have my glasses with me I couldn’t be sure… wandering closer to get a better look I realise it was indeed a tennis ball and it’s serving up the one drink that above any other signifies the arrival of British summer – Pimm’s! £6 will get you a large plastic cup and £23 (ouch!) will get you a jug. The Pimm’s to lemonade is a good enough ratio to actually taste the booze and there were pretty decent chucks of cucumber and fruit in there too. It’s got to be done.
The festival continues from 11am on Sunday April 30th and Monday May 1st. If you haven’t already bought you ticket yet it’s not too late, just head to: foodiesfestival.com to see timetables and book your tickets. General admissions are £14 per person with concessions for students, disabled badge holders and over 60s.
Don’t forget to use the discount code BRIGHTON241 at the checkout for 241 festival tickets.