The Great British Food Festival, Hardwick Hall

It's time for a confessional. It's been a long time coming but I think I'm ready to give the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: I LOVE food.

Okay, so that may not have been the most ground breaking of confessionals but it's true, I really do love food. (More than I love Exploring......... No, wait.......... I didn't mean that.)

Anyone who has read my blog before will know that I am an Italian food kind of girl, I love a bit of Greek, Indian, and some American foods (how can I not love American food when you American guys put cheese in or on everything?!) However, nothing, and I mean nothing, can beat good ol' traditional British food.

I am insanely proud of the food Britain has to offer the world. Britain is the reason the world has Fish and Chips, Pasties, Savoury pies, ScONe/SCOnes. We have some pretty outstanding cheeses, some of the world's best meat, and, let's face it, no other country's strawberries are a patch on our little beauties. Supporting your local produce and suppliers is an absolute must.

*The Great British Food Festival does just that. With suppliers and producers from around the country joining forces with local ones it epitomises everything British, add to that every festival is held in the grounds of some of Britain's most beautiful Stately Homes, it really couldn't be more British if it tried. Hurrah!

I had the fantastic opportunity to go along to the very first Great British Food Festival of the year yesterday, and it was the best day I have had in a long time.

The Festival started 4 or 5 years ago, touring from Yorkshire across to Lancashire and down to Warwickshire hitting a number of the counties in between. This year is the first year it has ventured into Derbyshire, stopping at Hardwick Hall, and judging by the size of the crowd yesterday it's set to be a roaring success!

The festival has a great mix of regular vendors that follow it around the country and local vendors who attend the events in their home counties. Every single person I spoke to knew their produce inside out, from the process of creating it right down to the exact location that the ingredients came from.

The Festival itself is organised incredibly well. There is something for everyone. I always worry about kids at events like these, let's face it; after hours of trawling round stuffy marquees, being jostled around in enormous crowds and the grown ups getting all excited over cheese, it can get a bit boring for them, and if by chance the organisers have thrown a thought in their direction and put up a bouncy castle in normally costs a couple of quid that the grown ups have already spent on cheese. But I was more than impressed to see that the was an entire corner of the festival dedicated to the little squidling's entertainment.....all of which was free! Obviously there's the obstacle course of sweets and candy floss stands but, come on grown ups, they're worth it, right?

There were classes that could be taken by both adult and squidlings for less than a fiver. There were Artisan Talks happening throughout the day, Men Vs Food challenges (Men v. Meat, Men v. Heat, Men v. Wheat annnndddd.....(wo)men v. Chocolate!), Every day there is a bake off (entrants of which get free entry to the festival), and there were chef demonstrations.

We caught the 1.30pm demo with Danny Edwards, the head chef at the new Seven Restaurant in Derby (on Pride Park). Seven has only been open for 6 months and I have been wanting to give it a visit. After watching Danny knock together two dishes in less than 45 minutes, I think it's safe to say that I want to go even more! I was incredibly impressed with Danny's demo, which was apparently his first so kudos Danny!

Here's a picture of Danny Edwards looking serious:

 In the demo Danny whipped up Rump of Lamb with 'Textures' of Ratatouille (Peeled Courgettes, Grilled Aubergine, and Roasted Pepper Coulis), Fondant Potato, and Salsa Verde, all topped with Pea Shoots. The Lamb was coated in a cumin, chili, turmeric mix. Yum!

He also created (my favourite of the theory; there was no tasting!) Grilled Asparagus topped with a Chorizo poached Egg, Grilled Chorizo, Garlic Foam, and Celery shoots. How nice does that sound?!

Of the two dishes the Lamb dish is on Danny's current menu at Seven, and he mentioned that the Egg dish may find it's way on there too. So if you fancy tasting the real thing, made by the real thing get yourself down there!

The best part of the whole festival for me was what I have dubbed "Street Food Corner". Here in Derbyshire we don't have a whole lot of Street Food, it's a growing fashion in food and up until yesterday I was missing out. Not any more!

It was a tough decision but Pulled Pork from We Are Castro was the only way to go for lunch.....and it was sooo good! It should be called the Oh My Days sandwich.

Mr M opted for Indian Delights and reliably informs me that it was, quote...(and slightly muffled) "mmms'good".

The atmosphere was amazing, helped along by the sunshine, the crowds, and the live music.

If you do one thing foodie thing this year, please make visiting one of these festivals it! I honestly cannot recommend it enough. The Hardwick Hall festival is only here until tomorrow so get on it! For all other dates have a nosey here.

Prices of entry are all £6.50 for Adults and £2.50 for kids (unless they are under 5 in which case they are free), aside from Harewood House in Yorkshire which is £8.50 for adults and £4.50 for squidlings.

I had so much fun that I'm going to have to split it into 2 posts so there's more to come. But for now here's a delightful picture of me having some alone time with the Oh My Days sandwich. (Insert Barry White song here.)

* In Collaboration with The Great British Food Festival. Whilst I was given free entry to the event all food and drink was purchased by myself or Mr M. All opinions and content are my own. I was not paid to write this post or any future posts about this event. 


  1. Look's like you had a great day Becki! That sandwich look's Amazing! xxx


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