Hampshire Food Festival 2016

It’s always a privilege to be invited to a Hampshire Fare event so we were chuffed to be guests at the launch of the 16th annual Hampshire Food Festival in what is a landmark year for the organisation. 2016 marks the 25th year of what is an exclusive group of producers and hospitality businesses across the county. There are, quite rightly, strict rules of membership but once criteria are met, local producers gain access to a remarkable promotional force that is helping to push word of Hampshire food and farming across the country. It’s not all about marketing though, as the organisation also facilitates networking and appears to provide a catalyst for collaboration amongst its members that ultimately benefits people like you and us in fantastic things to eat and drink as well as great “foodie” events!

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The launch of the Food Festival was no exception. The event was sponsored by Hattingley Valley Wines, which you will know as a key ingredient in the Kamm & Sons Brit Spritz cocktail we served up at Winchester Cocktail Week, so as we sipped one of our favourite English sparkling wines, we listened to speeches before circulating among the stalls, sampling produce representing the best the county has to offer. Alongside established favourites such as Parsonage Farm and Tunworth Cheese, there were other exciting producers newly inducted into the Hampshire Fare fold: Gorilla Spirits Co, Tipsy Wight, Bakehouse 24 and Veggie Patch, who had a fascinating array of cordials on display, including a beetroot number which we’re eager to try out asap.

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You’ll have myriad opportunities to try the best Hampshire fare for yourselves during the Hampshire Food Festival, which boasts over 70 events happening across the county throughout the whole of July. Here are our top picks:

  1. Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival, Sunday 17 July – Tickets cost £8 and include a rather sexy Vineyards of Hampshire wine glass. It’s a great opportunity to meet your local winemakers. We couldn’t go last year because, somewhat ironically, one of us was on duty in a wine shop. This is right up there on the to-do list this year. Book tickets on the Hambledon Vineyard website or by calling 02392 632358.
  2. Lyburn Farm Cheese and Vegetable Tours, various dates – Tickets cost £10. We’re struggling with an obsession with the farm’s Stoney Cross cheese at the moment but this hopefully won’t stop us from visiting the farm. You get to ride on a tractor and trailer and there’s a cheese supper included! Book in advance by by calling 01794 399982.
  3. Cocktails and Dreams with Naked Jam, Friday 15 July, Lymington – Tickets cost £20. We can’t make this event unfortunately but we’re big fans of Jen’s jams and we’d love to know what she’s doing with her syrups in cocktails! Who can report back? Book by calling 01590 682398.
  4. Guided Walking Tour of Winchester Restaurants & Cafes in Historic Buildings, 16th & 30th July – Tickets cost £6.50. We love the sound of this… Winchester’s version of a pub crawl; we’ll be drinking up the city’s heritage rather than downing pints! Book by calling 01962 840500.
  5. FarmFest at Parsonage Farm, 16-17th July. Tickets cost £7.50. People rave about this chilled camp-out every year but we’ve never been able to go. We’ve heard that the cooked breakfast alone is worth it! Get outdoorsy and raise a bit of money for charity too. Book your camping pitch by calling 01264 736208.

For more information about what’s going on in July visit the Hampshire Fare website. Let us know your recommendations by leaving a comment below!

Bon appetit!

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