Woking Food Festival was held over 3 days at the beginning of September and in it’s third year is certainly putting itself on the map as being a must for food lovers. This year as part of the celebrations I was invited along with some journalists to the Tante Marie’ Culinary Academy’s new state of the art cookery school and restaurant in the heart of Woking. I took part in a 40 minute taster of a macaron masterclass as well as having a tour of the new premises. We had fun filling and decorating the macarons that were provided for us (you can’t make macarons in 40 minutes) under the guidance of the Tante Marie tutors. Then it was on to a tour of the rest of the academy which is decked out in all the latest kitchenalia. We even had a nosey in the impressive crockery store room where students pick out what they are going to display their dishes on.
Kush Cuisine – I very much enjoyed sampling various handmade award winning preserves which are made made with a Caribbean twist!
Silent Pool Distillers – I tried their Strawberry Gin Cordial (pretending to be a grown up) which seemed to set my tongue on fire but I expect all gin does this, could definitely taste the strawberry too, so if you’re a gin lover then this is definitely one to try!
Goute de France – amazing cheeses and cured sausage!
Knut Knowle Farm – now I’ve never liked goats cheese but I tried a lovely creamy garlic and chive one which didn’t taste overly goaty at all. No wonder they’ve been voted Britain’s best goats cheese!
Ollo Foods – sampled some delicious curry sauces, BBQ sauce and pickle on this stall – their food awards are well deserved! The owner told me that Ollo was binary for the number 6 and that there would only ever be 6 products in their range in order to maintain the quality!
Yumberries – not sure of the name but the fudge was delicious!
Limpopo Biltong Butchers – quite the best biltong I’ve ever tasted. Wasn’t tough but quite velvety compared with biltong I’d had before. Also tried some delicious sausage!
Lelos Kitutes – specialise in Brazilian catering. I tried some traditional Coxinha which are made with shredded chicken meat, covered in dough and shaped into bite sized chicken legs. I also sampled some delicious chocolate as well as hazelnut Brigadeiro, traditional Brazilian truffles.
Lallapolosa Baking Company – oh my goodness, I overheard people talking about this stall even before I’d seen it and no wonder! The first sample I was offered was Crazy Good Almond Crunch (hand roasted almonds in a bed of crisp caramel topped with rich Belgian couveture milk chocolate) just divine and one of their most popular treats. Then I went on to try Truffle Brownie, heavenly plus Salted Caramel Brownie, equally heavenly. The good news is they do mail order!
In love with – well you certainly will be with all the delicious handmade macarons, chocolates and marshmallows on offer. I was kindly given a box of the Salted Caramel Marshmallows and have to say they are the best marshmallows I have ever had! Forget those pink and white things you buy from the supermarket, these handmade ones are in an orbit of their own. Also available via mail order!
Nip from the Hip – makers of a range of fruity spirit drinks are based in Kent. I sampled their Gooseberry Gin which was exquisite and even though I’m not a gin drinker I could quite happily drink this! Thoroughly deserving of it’s Great Taste Award.!
Med Fine Food – I first encountered these guys at the Elmbridge Food Festival last year and as well as sampling their divine Turkish Delight in various flavours I also tried thier delicious coated pecans this time.
The Truckle Cheese Co – I’m sure I sampled their Cheddar many years ago at Food Festival at Wisley Gardens and I must say their cheese is just outstanding for it’s creamy texture and rich taste. I also sampled a few of their pickles and chutneys which were equally fabulous especially the Onion Marmalade!
Finest Fizz – import the finest champagne direct from small French producers. The G Tribaut Cuvee de Reserve I sampled was utterly fabulous a light and fruity champagne – pure pleasure in a glass!
So I managed to pack this all into the Friday morning but I simply had to see John Whaite (of Great British Bake Off fame) so went back to Woking Food Festival on the Sunday especially to see his cookery demo! With minutes to spare I managed to find a front row seat and see some lush desserts from a Tante Marie demo. Then the excitement grew as we waited in the tent for John to arrive, I was both charmed by his wit and impressed with his technical knowledge and skill. John made East meets West fried chicken and cornbread the latter of which we got to sample (unofficially)which was delicious! I managed to grab a few words with him after the show and agreed with him on his disdain for food snobbery! My attempts at a selfie with him were pitiful but thankfully John had far longer arms than I and took this fabulous shot of the two of us! I am now a huge John Whaite fan!
So those were my Woking Food Festival Highlights 2015, sorry to all the stalls I didn’t include this time but there’s always next year as I will definitely be there. I wonder who I’ll be having a selfie with next time?