Eat Cambridge was held at the Corn Exchange on 23 May, 2015. This one-day food and drink fair was the Main Event, with two weeks of fringe events leading up to the big day. I wrote about some of the fringe events: foodPark NIGHT MARKET, Over The Tracks and Grub Club Cambridge Producers’ Dinner.
Only in its third year, this food and drink festival has already become one of Cambridge’s best foodie events.
The aim of Eat Cambridge is to showcase independents that can produce, source or make their products easily available in Cambridgeshire. It’s a great way to discover our local producers, restaurants, cafes and farms.
Strictly not-for-profit, Eat Cambridge is organised by Heidi White and Sian Townsend, with the invaluable help of their team of volunteers. Heidi and the volunteers all worked really hard to make the day run smoothly. (Sian is expecting a baby any minute now so she wasn’t able to attend). As last year, the Corn Exchange was a fabulous venue to hold all the stalls and there were lots of rooms available for the various talks and pop-ups.
I ate, drank and nibbled my way through Eat Cambridge (well, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?). I had one of Romano’s panzerotti, which is similar to a pasty, and it was delicious! There were sausages rolls, pork pies etc… all of Romano’s delectable homemade products are available exclusively at The Larder at Burwash Manor.
Burwash Manor, one of the festival’s sponsors, had a beautiful stall prominently displaying their fresh, organic asparagus grown right on their own farm. Of course, I picked up a pack to take home.
Another of Eat Cambridge’s sponsors, Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop, had a presence with what they are most famous for… their butchers and their cheese selection. The Gog Magog cheesemongers were joined by the team of Neal’s Yard Dairy. Their display was impressive, especially the giant wheels of cheese. I wanted to roll them home!
Miles Nicholas, one of the butchers at Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop, gave me a sneak peek at the room for their pop up “The Butchers’ Secrets”. Complete with white coats to wear, participants were privy to a demonstration by artisan butchers showing the skills of their trade. This pop up proved so popular, they held two on the day.
Eat Cambridge sponsor The Snug also had a nice presence with their mojito bike and friendly cocktail bar.
Apart from Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop, Burwash Manor and The Snug, other festival sponsors included Chocolat Chocolat and Cambridge Cookery School. Festival friends were Cambridge Food Tour, Don Pasquale, 12a and the Cambridge Buskers Festival, with Cambridge 105 and Cambridge Edition as media partners.
Pop ups included Norfolk Street Deli on the mezzanine, Chocolat Chocolat in The Chocolate Room and Korean fusion canteen GoGo Gogi Gui in the St John’s Bar.
I loved the idea of the pop ups and their air of mystery about finding them… like we were all in on uncovering some delicious secrets!
Jack’s Gelato made a return appearance at Eat Cambridge, delighting the crowd with his hand churned gelato featuring original flavours with the freshest of ingredients. The lemon verbena was delightful.
I really wish I could have visited each and every one of the independent traders. Some of the stalls I visited were:
Kandula Tea: An independent tea company, importing teas and infusions from the ethical plantations of Sri Lanka. I bought six boxes, such as Moroccan Mint, Lemon Ginger, Earl Grey, Chamomile Rose, Mint and Mango Green Tea. That’s my stock replenished for a little while. If you’re a fan of Earl Grey, I guarantee that you will be impressed!
Gourmandises: Super talented baker Corinne Payet gave me a sample of her lime tart in the morning. That zingy flavour was a better pick me up than caffeine! If you haven’t tried her passion fruit tarts, please do! They won a very rare three stars at the Great Taste Awards. Stella Pereira picked up some of Gourmandises’ tarts for her food styling talk, which prove they are not only tasty but look amazing too.
Canesmith & Co: Eat Cambridge was the launch of Laura Brown’s gourmet candy business. I sampled the caramels and I could tell they were made from proper ingredients. I especially loved the soy & sesame caramels.
Dolci Macarons: I sampled some beautiful and tasty macarons!
Momo Deli: I gobbled up a deliciously spicy lamb samosa.
Breckland Orchard: My thirst from Momo Deli’s spicy samosa was quenched with Breckland Orchard’s posh pop. It was a great idea to have some bottles on ice. I bought extra ones to take home. I especially loved the Pear & Elderflower flavour.
Sedgwick’s Charcuterie: Andrew and Annabel’s artisan cured meats from their Cambridgeshire smallholding are causing a taste sensation, and rightly so. I purchased three different types of salami: black pepper & red wine, venison, juniper & long pepper and smoked garlic. Keep an eye out for their beer sticks!
Capsicana Chilli Company: Ben Jackson’s new range of Latin American cook sauces is coming soon!
Fiona Pâtissière: Fiona McDuff is famous for her innovative and exciting use of pâtisserie to create a range of sweet treats. Her passion fruit tartlet topped with a passion fruit and Amadei milk chocolate macaron was a real work of art!
Hot Numbers Coffee: They not only served their amazing coffee but I also spotted a few bottles of their own Coffee Stout!
Pata Negra Spanish Food: Local importer and supplier of fine Spanish food. I noticed they were selling La Superlativa chocolate. Dios mío, it’s heavenly!
Pinkster Gin: One of the most eye-catching stalls with its vintage apothecary style gin dispenser. Founder Stephen Marsh was there with Alice Archer of Cambridge Wine Merchants. I fell in love with this gin when I had it at the Cherry Hinton branch, which has a lovely Pinkster Gin window display, by the way. Stephen’s company is relatively new and he’s doing exciting things with gin! Deliciously dry, the gin has a slight pink colour due to being flavoured with raspberry.
FoodCycle Cambridge, a national charity making meals for local communities, were on hand to raise awareness on food waste and food poverty. There were samples of delicious things that can be made with surplus food, such as banana cake with peanut butter icing.
A variety of talks kept the day humming. I went to Stella Pereira’s Food Styling talk which was very well attended. Stella explained her origins, influences and inspiration behind her recipes and the photos in her gorgeous Instagram feed. Everyone was charmed by her props and how she creates the stories behind her images. I love the fact that she brought in a very prized possession… a generations-old Portuguese cookbook, which she circulated around the room. She even addressed some photography issues, such as natural lighting and the rule of thirds. The talk went by really quickly… I could have easily listened to her for several more hours and taken hundreds of photos of the gorgeous tables she laid out.
The closing talk was by writer, broadcaster, food expert and Fitzbillies owner Tim Hayward, who is a strong proponent of Eat Cambridge and its ethos of promoting local producers and showcasing our independent food and drink scene.
If you missed Eat Cambridge this year, you can experience it through Flavour, Cambridge 105’s live broadcast of the day. The podcast is available here.
I can’t wait to see what Eat Cambridge has in store for us next year!
I had permission to enter Eat Cambridge 15 minutes early to take photos. Once the doors opened, I paid the admission fee. I did not receive any complimentary products other than samples that were made available to the public. My review is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.
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