“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quite A Mouthful

Today was a day I had been waiting for a whole year. Last year I was unable to attend "Taste The Best Of Produced In Kent" which is a real mouthful to try to say. I wrote about last year's event though - my Mum and Sis kindly picked up some samples of crisps and meringues for me to try, and try them I did (http://foodofjeff.blogspot.com/2010/06/produced-in-kent.html). This year, however, unencumbered with work as I find myself to be, I was able to attend this fine event, held at Biddenden Vineyard, in, um, Biddenden. The first great thing about it is that it is a free event, just turn up and explore. The second is that it is held in aid of the Kent Air Ambulance service, which I think we can all agree is a fine and worthy cause.  And so it was that Laura, Sis and I toddled on down to the vineyard on this rainy Sunday afternoon. What? You think a little precipitation is gonna put us off? Not on your life.

Dull, grey, overcast, whatever you want to call it... the vineyards still look gorgeous.
According to its website blurb, Produced In Kent  is 'a membership organisation dedicated to promoting local food, drink, products and services in Kent'. Once a year they gather some of the finest producers of said services and comestibles at the above mentioned venue and believe me, if you like your grub as much as I do, it's worth attending.

So we trooped into the area where all the stands and booths were and I immediately smelled the amazing aroma of fresh coffee, provided by Luigi Bean.

Here is a van where the back doors open to reveal a full sized espresso machine, fridges and such. All the full works of a proper coffee operation squeezed into a four-wheeled vehicle. Excellent stuff. Sadly the guy running it was not Luigi. His name was Sean, but he tells us his son is named Louis, and his nickname happens to be Luigi. This was the inspiration for Luigi Bean. The coffee was great. Thanks, Sean. However, go to the website and you will read a different story...

We continued on

and met a chap we have been running into rather frequently of late.

This is Neil from The Globe & Rainbow pub in Kilndown, which is near Cranbrook. He and his distinctive blond-and-red-tinted hair are now familiar to us since we first bumped into him at Tunbridge Wells' Farmers' Market last week (can't believe how time flies!). We then met him on Bank Holiday Monday at Finchcocks in Goudhurst. Today this busy man was here cooking up a storm and selling his amazing sauces and marinades as well as some beautiful flatbreads which are as long as your arm. We bought one with a nice red onion, tomato and cheese topping, which he had to cut into four to even get into a bag, for a paltry £3.50 which was a steal! We keep telling ourselves we need to make a point of going to The Globe & Rainbow soon, as the menu (on the website) looks insanely good!

We then encountered Kentish Mayde, who make all manner of pies and pastries.

I had my eye on some delicious-looking tarts...

but eventually plumped for an Apple and Blackberry, and a small Spicy Butterbean Pie which I have yet to try but sounds amazing.

Next were two ladies I'd met a few times before at Sissinghurst Castle Farmers' Market. They actually supplied the restaurant there with their jams and chutneys, but they also do some amazing mustards. The name of the company is Sugar & Spice and I could have quite happily stood there sampling for an hour or two...

They don't have a website yet but if you want to catch them in action just go to Sissinghurst, Penshurst, Egerton and Cranbrook Farmers' Markets, or call them on 01622 880653.

Next up was Angelcakes, which is a lady named Andrea, who does some fab cupcakes and decorated cakes...

Find her website at www.angelcakeskent.co.uk
Next was a lady I had encountered before at last year's Wealden Times Midsummer Festival. She does some amazing Indian and Asian dishes at various events around the county, supplies farm shops and delis, caters garden and dinner parties, holds cookery classes, and manages to find time to deliver her food free within the Faversham area. Her name is Corinne and her website is at Corinnescreativekitchen.co.uk. Corinne won the Taste Of Kent Awards 2010 for Best Kent Artisan Food Producer of the Year. I purchased a couple of her Bombay Potato Cakes and a Veggie Samosa to nibble on and boy were they good! Nice intense spice without burning your taste buds off. Very, very good.

Next we went into the Barn, which we were glad of, as the rain seemed to have intensified.

I found my Sis and Laura at the Kentish Cobnuts stand, talking to a nice man named Alexander Hunt. At Potash Farm in St. Mary's Platt near Sevenoaks Mr. Hunt has been busy building up Potash Farm to its former nutty glory and his website, www.kentishcobnuts.com, sells a ton of the wonderful cobnuts in their green, golden and de-husked states, as well as a lot of other wonderful nut based products. I sampled the fabulous cobnut oil and some terrific marmalade which contained cobnuts and whisky...

The next place we stopped was Alchemy Confectionery who have a wondrous range of fabulous and unusual chocolates...

Pea and mint with chocolate, I hear you cry? Indeed. The pea & mint combo has long been a tried and tested favourite, but the sweetness of the pea and the aromatic mint make really good bedfellows with a bit of choccy too. Oh my, they are exquisite.

Cobnuts show up once again. This is fantastic, by the way...
We then moved on to Cheesemakers of Canterbury and sampled some amazing and delightful handmade cheeses.

"Gruff", as in Billy Goats Gruff... geddit? Nice cheese.

I'm always up for anything with chillies in it. 

Then we passed by the Goupie stall. We love Goupie, but we purchased a bunch of it last week at Finchcocks, so we had no need of any. Love it all the same though!

The girls moved on while I lingered a minute or two, gabbing with the nice gentleman from the Nelson Brewery which is situated at the Historic Chatham Dockyard. Nelsons brew such fine ales as Spinnaker, Pieces of Eight and the wonderfully named Powder Monkey!

Mmm... beer...
Next was another local company I had seen last year at the Wealden Times Midsummer Fest, Olives R Good 4 U.

At the top left are the Moroccan Dry Olives which have to be tasted to be believed.

They've recently started making their own tapenade which is great stuff.

No website apparently, but you can contact them at olivesrgood4u@aol.com, or call Steve on 0843 2895587.

The good folks at Rentacherrytree.co.uk also produce their own very tasty Kentish Cherry Brandy...wow!

That's right, you can rent a cherry tree and get all the fruit off it when it's ready. Good deal.

There was a stand selling some lovely Venison eats...

however, being a vegetarian, I declined. Even though it smelled amazing.

Next was a gentleman selling some delicious fudge...

I have just finished the bag of Rum & Raisin... too, too good.

Last people I stopped by were the folks selling some honey products.

They were from Beult House Bees, and I had to buy a jar of their Stem Ginger in Honey. Bee-autiful.

I also ran into my friend Nicci Gurr from Home Gurr'own and purchased a couple of delicious Mushroom Scotch Eggs from her. To die for, Nicci - another winner!

We came, we saw, we ate and drank, and we went home well satisfied with our haul of goodies. Not only that but the Kent Air Ambulance benefited too, despite the rain.

Kooshti Sante!

1 comment:

  1. good article Jeff shame about the rain


Come on and chew the fat!


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