Next weekend folks, you should know the drill by now, but being Friday sessions had to be cancelled and those tickets transformed into Saturday ones, tickets for Saturday’s afternoon and evening sessions are virtually sold out for The Devizes Winter of Festival Ales. You need to sort your tickets out now, if you want to go, or be left sobbing in the Market Place carpark!
So, just a quick post from me, as this event sells itself anyway, but it is a vital fundraising bash for DOCA, and always a great shindig.
Saturday evening sees The Rob Lear Band providing the entertainment, and the afternoon session will be The Lost Trades; say no more, aside the vast selection of ales on offer.
If you’re as lucky as Charlie Bucket, these golden tickets can be found online at the DOCA website, or at Devizes Books, Wadworth Visitors Centre and of course the Vaults, as Stealth Brewery put on this show… but I urge you get a pace on!
Parking in the Market Place today yes I did, parked my butt on a Muck & Dunder Chair and took in a great Devizes Food & Drink Festival Street Food & Artisan Market, thank you!
Yo-ho-ho, an unpredictable drizzle didnâ stop th’ Devizes Food & Drink Festival settin’ thar grand Street Food & Artisan Market sail today, launchin’ into a chockful week o’ various foody events. ‘Twas me first attendance last year, and not for want, I’ve nah other grub festival t’ compare it to. Nevertheless, thought ’twas great, ‘n I’d been lookin’ fore t’ saunterin’ th’ Market Place once more, landlubber, testin’ ‘n tastin’ th’ wide variety o’ grub ‘n drinks, even tried t’ starve meself beforehand!
This isn’t the Sun tabloid, usually don’t fib here, I did say “try;” truth be told, I loaded up on a cooked breakfast earlier; still, I’m a bottomless pit. They say that though, don’t they? Don’t go to a supermarket on an empty stomach or you’ll end up overspending, guess the same applies to a food fest. That’s the excuse I’m sticking with. With all homemade or small business enterprises, the stalls here aren’t Lidl-cheap, but you know your taste buds are in for a treat. The reason for the pirate-translated opening paragraph? Between all these great stands, our beloved Muck & Dunder Rum Bar stole my show……cos, they like, sell rum, see?!
Perhaps to their advantage, they were located by a seating area and the music marquee, this year supplied by Wadworth. All it takes is a little reggae during the band’s breaks to entice me, and many others, over. They really know their rum, better than Uncle Albert, and if this review is slightly jiggered, blame them! Not entirely though, I also sampled Majorcan gin, from Gin Eva, which I liked despite gin not being mi ting, mon. Back to suspiciously loiter the square where Shelly from the abovementioned Muck & Dunder swung around with a trayful of pina colada, and Frome’s eclectic-influenced folk four-piece, The Decades entertained the masticating crowd.
I butted in to introduce myself, as although this was the only band booked, they were more than apt. With a pleasant folk angle and generous banter their style was offbeat, comical and proficient. Covers such as Pulp’s Common People and the finale of The Fun Boy Three’s Lunatics Have Taken over the Asylum particularly adroit and amusing. Vaunted our humble Southgate in hope they’ll pass our way again, and much to my delight Deborah and Dave magically appeared like Mr Ben’s shopkeeper and exchanged contacts.
Spoiled for choice when it came to a street food lunch; The Notorious Pig, Cantina El Burrito, Japanese food with a Filipino fusion from De la cuisine, Bath’s varied White Heat, Dorset’s Fanny Annie grilled cheese butties, Salisbury’s The Tasty Tapas, vegan Firmly Planted, Greek-inspired Cosy Kitchen, and the Gourmet Goat Farmer with everything goat, even soap, which I guess is to wash your goat, or goatie beard, or even, possibly, soap made from goat’s milk; didn’t like to investigate further. No, I went to Take a Bao, it was new to me, and lush, like Asiany stuffed dumpling balls.
Here’s the thing though, the portions are served quite large, I mean, I like large, don’t get me wrong, but with so much to choose from, a little half-size, half-priced dish would enable a little more experimentation from the punters, rather than having to select one for lunch. Opposite is the scale of the event, due to the powers of perspective a passer-by may wrongly perceive the event as quite petite, but once among it, there’s a copious amount to take in. And that copious was excellent, a variety of splendour; can we do it again next week?
If you’re stuffed there’s stuff to take home too, and it was abundant; both Harry’s and Rutt’s Lane Cider, The Incredible Brewing Company, Plenty Pies, The Leafy Tea Company, Glastonbury Cheeses, Olives ‘n’ Stuff, Stainswick Farm Oil, those wicked chutneys from The Cherry Tree and Calne’s own Waitey’s, with their exclusive range of Chilli Jam, ah, I could go on. My arm was twisted into trying Blood Orange Liqueur from The Wiltshire Liqueur Company Ltd, and Harry’s Mango & Lime cider.
I mean, cripes, I haven’t even mentioned pudding; Purbeck Ice Cream, may’ve won a slightly warmer day, the variety of vintage sweeties from The Sherbet Piglet was overwhelming, my arm near twisted by the stupendous brownies of the Welsh Ridiculously Rich by Alana, but I ended up back on the bus with a doggy bag of Malteser brownies from the wonderful Gourmet Brownie Kitchen based over at Poulshot Lodge. Word on our streets are these are the best brownies around, and even as a connoisseur of the brownie, I was not disappointed.
Award for the most novel though, goes to Butternut Box. Without a show of samples, without much of an ascetically pleasing display, this innovative company freshly prepare and deliver homemade dog food. Now, I’m not a dog owner, just thought it different, that here’s some dog food which looks edible for human consumption, and if it wasn’t for all these brilliant and wonderful food stalls, given perhaps a few more rum samples, yeah, I reckoned I’d have tucked in!
A delightful opening to this year’s Food Festival then, and with a new thing, the World Food Lunch at The Corn Exchange tomorrow, (Sunday 29th September from 12.30) where admission is free, and taster portions allowing you to explore the globe on a plate, are just 50p, it just gets better.
Taste of Wiltshire Food Fest is full, you can help empty it! Yes, applications for stalls at the Farm Cookery School at Netherstreet, Bromham is full. Sunday 8th September is the date you need to save, 10am-4pm; start fasting now! This is a FREE foodie gig, with lots going on, examples:
THE WILTSHIRE BEEKEEPER: Fred is a jolly Bee Keeper who spends his days travelling around the Wiltshire countryside looking after his bees, collecting swarms, giving talks and selling honey products.
THE LITTLE BAKEHOUSE: He’ll be bringing some of his fantastic Pork Pies as well as lots of other goodies.
GASTRO NICKS: Nick and Jane, the masterminds behind this fabulous Wiltshire Deli in Collingbourne Ducis. They are purveyors of fine foods, wines, Champagne, sparkling wines, hampers and gifts and it is all utterly delicious.
MUCK & DUNDER RUM BAR: Yes, a Bar dedicated to Rum, how exciting is that?! Shelly & Stu are the masterminds behind this fabulous business. Devizine favourites these guys, arm twisted!
TRAYCAKE: Nicola from Traycake has just told us she is setting up a MONTHLY CAKE CLUB – what an awesome idea!! She also sources ingredients from the surrounding areas wherever possible which is what we love to hear.
BROTHERHOOD BREWERY: Friday Night is Beer ‘O’clock at TW HQ! What better way to start the weekend than with the deliciousness that is the Brotherhood Brewery Beer?
NINJO NOODLES: Ninjō Noodle Bar is a Pan-Asian, plant based mobile street food Bar and their mission is to provide freshly prepared, health conscious meals that satisfy the heart, soul and stomach. Their purpose-built prep kitchen is used to prepare their food where they carefully choose ingredients and complimentary products that are plant based, free from artificial additives and MSG.
COFFEE TO GO: You can’t have a Festival without an awesome Coffee Stall and these guys went down a storm last year.
THE OLD CHEESEHOUSE: Cheese, cheese, cheese!
FLUFFY PUFFIN: Chris Woodridge is Mr Fluffy Puffin. A Cordon Bleu Chef, he has built an impressive resume in the restaurant and catering world, including time with Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett. Luckily for us he developed a passion for Ice Cream and Sorbet and has developed the most AMAZING flavours! The luckiest people though are the ones that Chris creates a Bespoke Flavour for…… imagine that – your own Ice Cream Flavour!!
HOLLYCHOCS: Holly, Chocolatier, Chocolate Engineer and Chocolate Lover is on a journey to make delicious, ethically sourced chocolates and teach through fun science lessons and hands-on chocolate workshops. Holly has recently created her very own Chocolate Workshop in Poulshot and her chocolate concoctions are already legendary – she also just won a Great Taste Award.
I may well have missed some, apologies if so, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!