Friday, 11 April 2008

Real food and real ale

Now here's a date for the diary to whet your appetite: the Real Food Festival in Earl's Court on 24th-27th April.

The aim of the festival is to encourage people to try the very best quality food and ingredients - a sort of huge 'Farmer's Market'. The emphasis is on high quality, fresh and locally produced food, and food products made with wholesome ingredients. Whilst not every exhibitor is necessarily an organic producer, many are and the emphasis is still on natural products and care for the environment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the main sponsors is now the Whole Foods Market, the high-class American food supermarket chain, who now have a store in Kensington.

There will be over 500 producers present and, although most will be from the UK (in line with the 'buy locally' ethos), many will be coming from overseas, for those products (like olive oil) we can't produce here. One of the stalls I will doubtless be heading towards, as a Somerset boy born-and-bred, is that of Cotleigh Brewery. Based in Wiveliscombe, West Somerset, they have been producing fabulous award-winning real ales since 1979, with delicious brews such as Tawny Owl and Golden Seahawk.

Other breweries represented have some wonderful names - Fallen Angel, Leatherbritches and Red Rock, as well as the more familiar Wells and Youngs. There will also be distributors such as Utobeer, who normally operate from London's Borough Market, wine and cider producers, and even the odd liqueur manufacturer (one from Anglesey, no less).

Although the main attraction for many will be sampling good food and drink, with restaurants as well as smaller stalls, there will also be workshops, cookery demonstrations, educational films about food and a debate entitled 'Is cheap food costing the Earth'? If that's too cerebral for you, you could always visit a pen where you can 'pat some pigs' - but perhaps not after trying too much 'Tawny Owl'!


konopka said...

If I wasn't already into Real ales your description would have tempted me to try them!

David J said...

Thanks - Cotleigh do have good names, as well!