Hampshire Food Festival 1 July – 2 August 2015
“Food and fun and eating and enjoyment go hand in hand and the Hampshire Food Festival
is an eye-opening opportunity to discover and feast on Hampshire’s finest!” – Angela Hartnett
We were very grateful to be invited to the launch of Hampshire Food Festival recently. It took place on a surprisingly sunny day and when we arrived at the Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst to find some of the county’s top producers set up on the lawn, the scene seemed perfectly set for an evening of celebrating Hampshire food and drink. Indeed, on arrival, we were handed a glass of Hattingley wine – a most welcome refreshment in the late afternoon heat and a clear reminder that we are surrounded by vineyards, which are all playing their part in this current revival of English wines.
The Pig Hotel has long been a favourite location of ours. If you follow us on Twitter may remember our flurry of photos at Christmas from the hotel’s gorgeously boutique bar, which could well pass as Chase Vodka kitchen laboratory. We have had many a good meal at the Pig and so I was delighted to see that the canapés included their succulent homemade chipolatas! Thankfully, the group I was talking to, when the tray was going round, forgave me for running off to take the below photograph to share with you. Of course, chasing the canapés at a party is a dreadful faux pas so I hope you appreciate the extraordinary lengths to which we’ll go for this blog…
Despite our excitement about the sausages, the main purpose of the event was to get a taster of what our local producers have to offer and to learn more about Hampshire Food Festival, now in its fifteenth year. When it started, at the turn of the 21st century, it was just a weekend event. Over the years it’s grown to something much bigger and now there are more than 60 events over the course of a month to celebrate all that’s great about the county.
Bravo, we say! Hampshire hasn’t always received the airtime it deserves in comparison to other regions but there are great things happening here and more and more people are hearing about it now, thanks in part to the efforts of Hampshire Fare, a not-for-profit organisation that is really championing local food and drink.
There was a great range of producers at this event and it was a great pleasure to catch up with the masterminds behind the produce. And what a wide range of produce it was too! From coffee roasters to vineyards, brewers to distillers, lavender farms to bakers, trout farms to cheesemakers, charcuterie producers to ice cream vendors…
This really was a fantastic showcase of what Hampshire has to offer. If you are in visiting distance, then we’d urge you to get out and about in July to see – and sample – for yourself!
There is a huge range of activities happening throughout the month with literally something for everyone. You can find the full programme of events on the Hampshire Fare website. Here, we’ve listed those that particularly tickle our fancy…If you go along to any of them, keep your eyes peeled as you may spot these two bearded food-lovers getting very excited about their local Hampshire fare!
Cabinet Rooms’ Agenda
Saturday 4 July – Sparsholt Food Festival “A Taste of Hampshire”, Sparsholt College
Live demonstrations from Hampshire’s leading chefs including Luke Matthews (Chewton Glen), Olly Rouse (Lainston House) and James Golding (The Pig). Tickets are £4 for adults. Book online.
Sunday 12 July – Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival, Hambledon Vineyard
Join a guided tour of Hambledon vineyard and learn how English wine is made. Sample a selection of the region’s finest wines, including Jenkyn Place, Hattingley Valley and Danebury. Tickets are £5. Book in advance.
Saturday 18th July – Farm Fest at Parsonage Farm, Upton
This is a relaxed, family-friendly music festival on a working farm. We’re fans of Parsonage Farm charcuterie so the thought of a BBQ there is very appealing… not to mention the home cooked Sunday brunch for campers. Sounds like food heaven! Tickets are £7.50 for adults, £5 for children (10-15 years), children under 10 go free. You can pay when you turn up but if you want to camp then you must book in advance by calling 01264 736208.
Saturday 18th July and Sunday 19th July – Southsea Food Festival, Palmerston Road Precinct
There’s some interesting foodie things happening in Southsea and we rather fancy going along to find out more. There’ll be over 100 stalls and we’re expecting a vibrant street food scene. We hear there’ll also be “smoking cocktails” but we’re not sure if this is meant literally or figuratively! There’s no admission fee. Just turn up between 10am and 4pm. Hampshire Farmers’ Market will also be there on the Sunday.
Sunday 19th July – Taittinger Champagne & Hampshire Summer Lunch, Chewton Glen
Does it get much better than sipping champagne in the beautiful grounds of Chewton Glen? We’ll always have a soft spot for this hotel having been to numerous fantastic events there in the past. If you want to push the boat out then you probably can’t go wrong by booking a place at this event. Tickets are £95. Book in advance by calling 01425 282212.
Let us know about your Hampshire Food Festival adventures
by leaving a comment below!