Real Food Festival

Imagine your local farmers market then quadruple it in size, make it indoors and add lots of samples and tastings along with some talks and cookery demonstrations. That’s what the Real Food Festival is and it is on today and tomorrow (Saturday – Sunday 9 – 10 May ). I managed to get there on the first day, popping in after work on Friday night.

I saw Raymond Blanc from Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons give a cookery demonstration of a fabulous summery peach and mozzarella salad and I almost bumped into Willie Harcourt Couze who is a bit of a minor celebrity now after his BBC Channel Four show Willie’s Chocolate Revolution. The best part though was wandering around the stalls and sampling and occasionally buying the produce on offer. A highlight was the Jersey Oyster stall where they freshly shucked a briny Jersey oyster for you explaining that the oyster was so fresh that you had to tip out the seawater as the shell would immediately refill with more seawater from inside the oyster. The huge crabs pictured above were also from Jersey sadly there were no crab samples available!

Bestbier cheese’s stall was surrounded by huge wheels of cheese which they generously carved slivers off for testing purposes (pictured above). The pungent but delicious aroma of the cheese was so strong that people wandered up saying that they had just followed the smell to the stand. For something different I sampled from wild boar chorizo and salami. It certainly packs a punch but I was not so enamoured that I wanted to buy it to take away.

Deciding that it was clearly time for dessert in my tasting routine I moved onto the various cake and slice stands. Holly Cupcakes was a standout with their glitzy girly cakes smothered in sugary icing. The find of the festival though was Gower Cottage Brownies. These brownies are to die for. They are just the right balance of fudgy on the inside yet slightly crisp on top. Best of all for £14.95 you can order a tray of brownies to be delivered as a gift with a personal message from you inside. The price includes postage and is surely much cheaper and superior than a bunch of flowers.

If you are in London this weekend the Real Food Festival is worth checking out. My only hesitation would be the steep ticket price at £18 each it is only slightly less than Taste of London where you get an actual meal included. Still, Real Food Festival is all about supporting smaller local producers and if you sample something from every stall your grazing may end up being about the equivalent of a meals worth.
Details: Earls Court 1, London 8 -10 May 2009 (Ph for tickets 084 4412 4642)

If you liked reading this you can read about my visit to the Slow Food Market which appears every month or so on South Bank and is based on similar principles to the Real Food Festival (but a lot smaller).


  1. Beautiful, it almost makes us willing to fly back to London for the occasion! (but then the £18 entry fee would look cheap…)

  2. hiya, Willie’s show was on Channel 4 btw.

    Still up for Eating Eurovision?

  3. Taking delivery of a new kitten has prevented me from going to this. I do hope he’s worth it.

  4. Can’t believe I missed the oysters this year! I ate far too many last year, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.

  5. Man-Woman: I am sure that there is plenty of fabulous “real food” in Italy so no reason to fly back

    Andrew – You are right – I will try and correct. Yes looking forward to Eating Eurovision.

    Neil – I think a new kitten is always worth it!

    Helen – Yes I did have to be physically restrained at the oysters!

  6. How did I miss the Jersey Oyster Company?


    I managed to get discount tickets this year but I distinctly remember last year’s costing only £10 each – and the free samples were bigger so you kinda got your money back 🙂

    I’ll go again next year anyway because I’m a glutton!

  7. I tried some of Holly’s cupcakes at the show, they tasted just as good as they look here. I think she delivers too, so that’s my sugar-rush sorted for the year.

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