Wearing jeans with a slightly stretchy waistband, I popped out yesterday to get my first experience of the renowned Broadstairs Food Festival.
I do like a food fair, but a food ‘festival’ sounds so much more… celebratory. And the enormous variety of food and drink that is produced right on our doorstep in Kent is definitely worth celebrating. Why buy tomatoes flown in from the other side of the world when the sweetest, juiciest varieties are produced right on the doorstep at Thanet Earth, for example?
I didn’t get a chance to spend any time in the food theatre but I did return home with bags full of everything from Kentish cobb nuts to sticky chocolate brownies. If you’re heading to the festival this weekend, here are some treats I think are worth seeking out:
Brioche doughnuts from One in the Oven – Classic doughnut flavours such as raspberry take their place alongside salted caramel and my personal favourite, maple bacon. Bacon on a doughnut; it’s the future.
Crips from Kent Crisps – I first heard of this company when they released their oyster and vinegar crisps. You could sample all six flavours at the festival, including the new smoked chipotle chilli, but for me their roast beef and Spitfire ale variety was a stand-out. It’s like Sunday dinner in a bag.
Tea at Bessie’s Tea Parlour – Bessie’s of Broadstairs have a vintage-style pop up tearoom at the Festival. Locals will know how good their afternoon teas are, and in fact I heard that someone visits them each year and buys enough scones to last them a year. If that’s true it’s quite the endorsement! Anyhow, Yorkshire Tea served in a bone china cup and saucer; a proper brew.
Brownies from Rochester-based The Chocolate Hut – Brownies were a popular offering and I spotted them on a few stalls but was drawn to The Chocolate Hut’s stand by the range of flavours. I bagged an Oreo brownie, another with Mars Bar running through it and a salted caramel brownie. There is nothing more disappointing than salted caramel that’s not salty enough (well, perhaps a satsuma you only find is dried up and wrinkled once you bite into it). The Chocolate Hut clearly recognise this and finished theirs with a decent sprinkling of sea salt for an extra savoury hit. Heaven!
Tomatoes from Thanet Earth – No, it wasn’t just treats that filled my bag! There were some fantastically colourful veggie stands (keep an eye out for the squashes that look like crowns) but you can’t miss the Thanet Earth stand. The riot of colour (they grow peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers) and the sheer orderliness of it is very appealing. The beautifully bright Piccolo tomatoes came home with me.
And of course you can’t leave a food festival without having lunch/dinner. I walked past the aromas of locally produced lamb kofte, burgers and burritos to the Curiously Kentish stall. Jason Freedman and his Head Chef Kevin Faux have established this deli/café/supper club in Minnis Bay. I ditched my usual healthy option and got stuck into a scotch egg! The panko breadcrumbs gave it a delicious crunch, which gave way to moist and well-seasoned sausage meat. Delicious.
Broadstairs Food Festival looked to be a very well-organised event. Special mention must go to the volunteer on the front entrance who was collecting donations and not only welcomed me but thanked me for supporting a local event. If you’re heading to Broadstairs today or tomorrow and try any of the items I have recommended, let me know what you think. I would also be keen to know if you think I’ve missed any gems.