Cambridge’s local food and drink scene was celebrated with another successful Eat Cambridge festival, organised by Heidi White with the help of her team of volunteers. The Main Event kicked off at the Corn Exchange on 7 May 2016, leading the way to a series of fantastic fringe events over a two-week period. Eat Cambridge is a foodie’s dream and I tried to attend as many events as I could.
I started off by volunteering at The Main Event. Heidi put a lot of work into organising Eat Cambridge and I thought the best way I could show my support was to volunteer and help out that day. There were about 40 stallholders, all local independents, showcasing their fabulous food and drink products.
On 14 May 2016, Cambridge Eat Up! (exclamation mark intended) held its first ever Pot Luck Lunch, a fringe event for Eat Cambridge. The lovely and talented Karen Harvey had the foresight to create the Cambridge Eat Up! group on Facebook (you can read about its origins in her blog post here) and it has grown organically since then. It’s become a great virtual “meeting point” for food enthusiasts of all types (not just bloggers) to share good foodie news and plan get-togethers.
Photo by Karen Harvey
Photo by Lisa Durbin
So when Eat Cambridge organiser Heidi White thought the group would be ideal for a fringe event, Karen and I jumped at the chance to create something. In the spirit of Cambridge Eat Up!, we wanted to hold an event that reflected foodies coming together, sharing and supporting each other. The result was a Pot Luck Lunch where everyone would bring a dish and we would gather around a table in an informal setting to enjoy each other’s company and good food/drink. We planned this back in December and the next thing we knew, the application was submitted, the entry fee paid (courtesy of Paulo at P A Safety Management Limited) and my home was confirmed as the location. Everyone jumped at the chance to be included and the places filled up very quickly, as soon as the Eat Cambridge programme was released. I even increased the numbers from 15 to 20 but there was still a long waiting list. However, this indicated that the pot luck format appealed to a great number of people, so the group is discussing hosting more of them.
On 19 November 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a momentous occasion: the official launch of online gift box and hamper company Cambridge Artisan, held at the Bridge Street branch of Cambridge Wine Merchants. Cambridge Artisan is the brainchild of enterprising 15-year-old Amélise Burr who has been wanting to start her own business for years. Her goal is to not only earn money to fund her university education (she aims to be a naval architect), it’s also to showcase independent local produce right here at our doorstep in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia in general.
Photo courtesy of Cambridge Artisan
With the full support of her father Robert Burr, who runs the popular mobile street food trailer Churros Bar with his wife Charlotte, they set off to source the variety of excellent products from local artisan producers. The result? Some of the very best food and drink the region has to offer… all of it available in a one-stop online shop and delivered right to your door. There are 30 local producers gathered under Cambridge Artisan’s virtual roof and best of all, their products can be accessed even when the markets are closed. There is a choice of several themed gift hampers or boxes and you can also purchase particular products separately, thus ensuring you are stocking your cupboards and “keeping it local”.
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.
Grub Club Cambridge is run by Vhari Russell (The Food Marketing Expert, providing marketing and retailing support for food and drink businesses) and Kelly Molson (Rubber Cheese, a design agency working with the food, drink and hospitality sectors). It is a networking club based in Cambridge for food and drink professionals and their aim is to put producers, retailers, buyers and businesses together in order to build relationships. And they do it at some mighty fine places. As the Producers’ Dinner was part of Eat Cambridge, it was open to anyone with an interest in good food and drink who wanted to feast on Fitzbillies’ tantalising menu.
Photo courtesy of Vhari Russell
The event was very well attended. Fitzbillies had a full house with three very long tables all occupied by fellow food and drink enthusiasts.