With it being a bank holiday weekend and having caught up on a lot at home, it only seemed fair to enjoy a day out before returning to work tomorrow. Having already arranged tickets for the Foodie Festival at Hampton Court in London, we took a drive over to check it out.
As we arrived closer to Hampton, it was clear that this was going to be a busy day… it seemed that many others had the same idea to visit today and make the most of the dry weather – albeit a little chilly.
We had a good browse of the event which featured stalls from the likes of Jamie Oliver, Han Bar & Restaurant, Backyard Company and Joe & Seph. Not only does the festival offer the chance to try and buy food, there are also demonstrations of cooking equipment and gadgets for use in the kitchen.
Having taken in the range and absorption of smells and being thoroughly spoilt for choice, we opted to have our first bite to eat at Han. Like most of the other stalls serving hot food, the queue involved some waiting around however we were happy to do so as the food smelt great and we are generally big fans of Asian food. We ordered the BBQ chicken, seafood pancake and lightly battered chicken with cinammon punch to wash it all down.The food was served quickly, proving to be hot and fresh – a great choice!
Using this as our starting point to get thoroughly into the spirit of the festival, we continued our browse by heading for the Chimney Cake stand. Now, having just returned from Budapest it seemed appropriate to be trying out another Hungarian dish which we hadn’t come across previously.
This is typically served as street food and originates from the idea that the original cooking process involved wrapping the dough around the chimney pipes. With a very similar consistency and taste (we opted for cinnammon flavoured) to warm pretzels, it was a great treat to share as we strolled around the rest of the festival.
The other highlights of the festival for us included:
- Joe & Seph’s offered a massive selection of gourmet popcorn from white chocolate and strawberry to macchiato and whisky. From an expansive selection, we bought a packet of caramel and almond to savour the taste at home. From the helpfulness of the staff at the stand to the style and quality of the ‘keep-fresh’ packaging, we felt that it was worth every penny for a taste of gourmet popcorn.
- Backyard Company were supplying Jerk chicken with rice and peas to promote their Jerk sauces. This seemed to be a very popular stand with average queueing time of 30 minutes throughout the day. Despite this, we joined the masses and enjoyed tucking into some hot food. I’m a little unsure of which marinade was on the chicken that we had but it wasn’t too spicy yet flavoursome if not a little sweet – which was nice 🙂 Staff were friendly and sociable, enjoying the day despite the weather which was nice to see given that they must have been exhausted from being constantly in demand!
- PopChips were also available to sample, offering a selection of four flavours – BBQ, sea salt and pepper, sour cream and onion, sea salt and vinegar. I tried the BBQ and the sour cream flavours, both of which were delicious and incredibly, offer less than 100 calories per packet.
- The Cider Bar was another stall that we enjoyed, offering a selection of ciders from both still and fizzy. Until today, I wasn’t aware that still cider existed so we promptly tried the ‘Haymaker’ which was fresh and mild in taste without being too sweet.
Overall, the whole event provided a great day out and seemed to attract a mixed crowd of couples, families, groups of friends from all age groups.
The only elements of the festival that could be improved for next time are:
- Provide more working toilets! On the occasion that I needed to use them, they were not working which was a disappointment.
- To use the cashpoint inside of the festival costed £2.75 per usage. It seemed to be a common complaint that it was far too high.
- Car parking was at a cost of £4. When most visitors will have already paid at least £15 for a ticket, I think that then paying for parking was a little costly. It would be much better to offer car parking as an add-on when tickets are being purchased as we had to find a cashpoint for the fee. To our disappointment, when leaving at 4pm there was no charge to enter the festival; had we arrived later in the day we wouldn’t have had to pay at all!
Otherwise, it was an enjoyable day out giving us a chance to sample new foods and try new drinks that we may not have tried before. As ‘foodies’ we really loved the experience of our first food festival in London and look forward to any others that we are able to attend. I would certainly recommend attending the next event but be sure to take an umbrella and wear suitable shoes in case the ground is wet – as it was today. 🙂