A Touch of Class – Glynde Food and English Wine Festival

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I was extremely fortunate to be asked to demo at the Glynde Food and English Wine Festival on the 14th and 15th July. Looking on their website (which you can find here) this had the makings of a fantastic event, with the likes of John Torode, Dhruv Baker, Lisa Faulkner, Tim Anderson and Tom Whitaker to name but a few taking to the stage. The event is set in the stunning grounds of Glynde Place. The setting was awesome and the event did not disappoint. I strongly believe that in a few years time this will be the country’s best food and wine festival, bar none. The whole event was oozing with style and grace, and the passion from everyone involved was clear to see.

Glynde Place is home to the VIIth Viscount and Viscountess Hampden and is a beautiful Elizabethan manor house sitting high on the Sussex Downs. The house was originally built in 1569 and it really is a stunning location. It was very interesting to find out that Glynde were one of the founders of the South Down Bread with John Ellman back in 1780 realising their potential and fixing the breed characteristics – see here for more info.

With the lovely weather of late and all the other shows that have had to cancelled it was great to see Glynde Food and English Wine Festival was still on. I arrived early Saturday morning and the first thing that struck me was the sheer beauty of the area – it was totally breath taking, the South Downs are magnificent.

My first demo was at 10:30am so I had a bit of time to walk around and see the trade stands. It was great to see a nice mix of local and national producers. I bumped into my old mates Tim and Gill from The Artisan Smoke House @artisansmoker. As all ways their stand looked amazing and had some of the best smoked products around – a must try before you die!

Back stage at the main Chef Demo Tent it was all go from early on! The team were not only prepping for the day’s demos, but a 100 cover feast hosted by John Torode, Dhruv Baker and Lisa Faulkner as well. I met @chefsbutcher who had brought up some cracking aged beef up from the West Country for the feast which you can see in the picture below.

I was on stage in the ‘How To’ Tent and the team running it were fantastic! Hosting the weekends events in the ‘How To’ tent was the gorgeous Kate Jenkins of @gowercottage brownie fame and Donna Albusaidi from Magimix. Now at this point I must say that Kate makes THE best Brownies in the world. They are so addictive they should carry a warning on the box! Seriously guys you must try these and she’s one of the nicest people you will ever meet, check her out here.

With the show opening at 10am I was not expecting much of a crowd, but the tent slowly started to fill up and I had a nice little audience. I had a cracking lamb from the estate and the plan was to butcher it for the traders BBQ that night which I would be hosting. The crowd was awesome with lots of questions and a nice bit of banter. I like to interact and engage with the crowd as it makes for a much better demo and it went very well. I got some great feedback which is always nice.

So with the first demo over, it was time to sample some of the drinks that were on offer, I took a particular liking to the Cider made in old rum barrels very nice from local Lewes pub, The Snowdrop. The lovely girls from Sipsmith (@sipsmithsam) were there with a great looking stand and they even had beanbags to chill out on – how cool is that!

The rest of the day passed with great food and drink, with lunch courtesy of the boys @porklife. The black pudding rolls were amazing!! For those that know me I’m a bit of a black pudding freak! These were lovely and with one of my favourite herbs, fennel included as well, it was a real treat.

My last job of the day was to get the barbie on and cook the lamb for the traders’ BBQ. Whole butterflyed legs and shoulders, basically a whole lamb boned out and slapped on the barbie – that’s how we roll! It went down a storm and every one was suitably filled with meaty goodness – the drinks flowed and the night was a good one! It was great to speak with the traders and better surroundings you could not find.

We had a bit of rain during the day but not enough dampen sprits and Sunday was forecast a better day.

My Sunday demo was at 13.15pm, so I had time to recover and have a mooch about which was nice after a late night! Pancakes with banana and maple syrup, as well as a black pudding sausage roll set me up for the day. The food at the show was of a fantastic quality with a lot of good local products.

Being on a bit later in the day meant that I had what seemed like a huge crowd for the second demo. Everything was fine until I looked up and saw John Torode watching at the back. I don’t know why because I’m usually ok with nerves but knowing the one and only JT is watching you was a bit daunting!! After I got over that, everything was fine and I didn’t cut myself which is always a bonus! The crowd got bigger after I started and it was standing room only which was lovely. It was great to see so many people interested and I received some kind words from John Torode and Viscount Hampden as well.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend, good people, good food, good wine – what more could you want from a festival? I had an awesome time and I hope I’ll be back next year! Thanks to @EMAEvents and @nikmorgan @Holly_Arnold and @Glyndefoodfest

If you’re looking for a beautiful part of the world to visit, check out www.glynde.co.uk.

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