Review: Bristol's 'best kept secret' as festival entices thousands of foodies

PUBLISHED: 14:07 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:08 14 May 2019

The stage at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor Young

The stage at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor Young

Eleanor Young

Delicious food and brilliant entertainment was in abundance at the Bristol Foodies Festival over the weekend.

Halloumi fries at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor YoungHalloumi fries at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor Young

Every cuisine you could possibly imagine was on offer at the festival and it seemed to be a family affair for the gathering crowds.

From Friday to Sunday, people from all over the city and North Somerset flocked to Durdham Downs to feast.

The weekend saw live entertainment from Scouting For Girls and Queen tribute act Flash who had people hanging on every note.

But the star of the show was the food, and with so many options it was easy to see why sun-worshippers spent the whole day there.

Triple cooked chips at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor YoungTriple cooked chips at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor Young

My friend who willingly tagged along described the event as 'Bristol's best kept secret'.

She said: "It is bordering on a revolutionary idea and it has a great feel about it. It is not the size and scale of Glastonbury but it is an experience in its own right."

The Glastonbury feel was not lost on me though, with passers-by expressing their excitement for the landmark festival after enjoying the Foodies' event.

The family and dog-friendly atmosphere and easy access, helped by the good weather, made the event suitable for everyone - from cookery failures to aspiring Michelin-star chefs.

Churros and chocolate at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor YoungChurros and chocolate at the Bristol Foodies Festival. Picture: Eleanor Young

There was a fantastic range of food, with vegan, gluten and vegetarian options never being treated as an afterthought.

The event is not the UK's biggest celebration of food, drink and wellbeing without good reason - it is immense, with more than 200 exhibitors including a street food village and artisan producers, as well as trade stands promoting wellness products and services, plus funfair rides and games.

I personally feasted on some tantalising halloumi fries with mint yogurt and sweet chilli which was delicious.

Meanwhile my friends were tempted by some award-winning triple cooked chips with truffle mayonnaise - talk about scrummy!

Big vats of paella brought a European flavour to the festival. Picture: KAREN RICHARDSBig vats of paella brought a European flavour to the festival. Picture: KAREN RICHARDS

Wash that down with a refillable slushie and a few churros and I was on to a winner.

Michelin-star chefs George Livesey, of Bristol's Bulrush restaurant, and Rob Potter, from the Manor House in Wiltshire, along with Jan Ostle of Wilson's and Louise McCrimmon of the city's Harvey Nichols restaurant were just four of the many chefs who performed in the food theatres.

Ping Coombes also showed off the culinary skills which saw her win Masterchef in 2014 on the chef's demonstration stage.

More than 25,000 foodies flocked to the spectacle over the three days and it was not difficult to see why, being a fun-packed and informative day out, helped along by fabulous weather.

Famished festival-goes at the Foodies Festival.Famished festival-goes at the Foodies Festival.

Festival director Sue Hitchen said: "Music and food are our two favourite things and over the years we have become known as the country's gastro Glastonbury as we stage festivals up and down the country.

"Bristolians really know their food and love to try something new.

"We can't wait to return."

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