Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stuffing down the seafood

It was one of those perfect summer days – the sun was shining, I was sated, sated I tell you, with all things piscine and delicious. It could only have been the Whistable Oyster Festival.

Earlier in the week, I’d been agreeing with the Food Urchin about the sad dearth of really fun food festivals in the UK. Well, less than 3 days later I had eaten my words, along with a score of oysters, pots of crayfish, whelks and cockles. I don’t think there were many days where I have had so much fun and it definitely wasn’t the stuffy, restrained affair that you can sometimes encounter with events of the type.

One of my main gripes about British food festivals is that they are often so ridiculously expensive – anyone who has been to Taste of London or Taste of Christmas can attest to the fact that on top of spending the money on the entrance, which is no small fry, you can easily much your way through ten pound note after ten pound note. And that’s before you start getting goodies to bring home.

I had no such complaints at Whistable. You will frequently pay three quid a pop for your oystery goodness in restaurants around the country, but there we were slurping these saline goodies for sixty pence a pop. Their freshness needed no accompaniment – perhaps a dash of lemon juice or Tabasco for those that fancied it.

There were brass bands, local ditties and a rather random three women dressed up as what I can only assume was Big Bird from Sesame Street as part of the entertainment but most of the fun came from wandering from stall to stall and talking to the owners.

It wasn’t just fishy fun – for those that were that way inclined (ME) there were a range of local wine and cider producers, all of which have been added to the increasingly lengthy to visit list. The tipples from Biddenborough Cider, Meopham Valley Winery and Sedlescombe Winery caught my eye in particular – I imagine there will be blog pieces on them in the future. In the meantime... picture time.