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5 September 2013

jamie oliver's big feastival (thanks electrolux)

about a month ago i got an email that made my heart beat uncontrollably. sender: the electrolux press office. subject line: jamie oliver's the big feastival. body: an invitation to attend. without a second thought, my rsvp was sent; 100% yes. after researching travel options and accommodation, we decided to wing it, and just make a day trip out of it. we'd gotten back from brighton the night before about dinner time; shattered from the wedding antics, and early morning saturday was not what i wanted to be seeing. but, with the romatic vision of meeting my future, foodie husband all  too much to bear, we boarded the first of six trains that day..

just over two hours later, we'd arrived at alex james' farm in the cotswolds. we gathered our tickets from the vip ticket office (i mean, come on!), and then rushed around like loons trying to find the electrolux tent where the michelin starred chefs Jonray and Peter Sanchez- Igleseas of casamia bristol were cooking for us at their chef's table... eep! there, i among some of the best food bloggers the uk has to offer, and i felt completely out of my depth; a fraud!

nothing a few glasses of the best french wine can't fix though! with a complimentary wine for each of the three dishes, i was making friends in no time. while we ate our starter of (very posh) tomato and mozzarella, i chatted with natasha of food i fancy and husband and wife duo maggie and bill of kitchen delights. when our main of duck, fennel and carrot puree was served, the table fell silent; it looked ermazing. we were given the poetic speil about it's simple beginings, where each of the elements were sourced from, and the biography of the hero of the dish (yes, they really talk like that!), but i have no idea what he said. i was salivating; it smelled sensational.

mere minutes had passed before the dishes were devoured, dirty plates cleared and our dessert was served; peaches and cream. not just any old peaches and cream, mind, a proper fancy version. again, i couldn't tell you the ways in which is was fancy, but you'll have to trust me. there was like this sorbet type stuff on the top of the rich vanilla bean cream which then gave way to a peach compote, and then finely diced pieces of peach in the very bottom. it.was.divine. as was the sweet sauvingnon blanc that natasha and i nearly cleaned off a bottle of. i'm not ashamed.

while i was being given the star treatment, boyfriend wandered. when i emerged, slightly tipsy, he took it upon himself to give me the rushed tour of all the freebies he'd been enjoying without me (who am i to talk though, really?). burgers, sweets, jams, crisps - you name it, there was a stall giving it away for free. we did the whistlestop tour and bought a fair bit along the way. all organic or homegrown - the only way jamie would allow it to be sold at his gig (really, the popcorn man said he wasn't allowed to bring sweet popcorn in, it had to be sweet & salty or nothing at all - my future husband is stickler for health!). we sorted out some more drinks and sat in the sun, listening to cheltenham trio Duke perform on the main stage (they were fantastic!). it was already an amazing day.

 we then wandered the festival grounds, to see what else was on offer... and found a baby animal zoo! we were blatantly the oldest kids in there, but we were just as excited to hold the baby chicks, play with the piglets and pat the baby donkeys. we went back to the zoo a number of times throughout the day, and i was even lucky enough to be shat on by a chick! that's good luck, right? boyfriend thought it was the most hilarious thing to have ever happened, especially to me. yes there are photos. no, i won't be posting them here.

after the first of many stops in the zoo, we wandered the vintage and handmade shops (got an awesome vintage blouse for a bargain - you'll see that soon!), found ourselves taking part in some musical bingo (almost won, too) and randomly watching Duke perform again on a makeshift stage (for a crowd that didn't want them to stop), we were called back to the electrolux tent where we were joined once again by the other foodies - this time, for chef's secrets; a cooking challenge with Nigel Haworth of northcote manor.

we were given the ingredients, and talked through, step-by-step how to prepare. with my onion allergy, we hit a bit of a bump in the road (having warned the pr girls that chefs tend to disapprove of food allergies, i knew what was coming) having to take a bit of abuse banter from the head chef after declaring i would not be cooking with his onions. after that, it was mostly smooth sailing, except come tasting time when we were given the back-handed compliment "you know, you can taste the cheese a lot more without the onion in there", with a bit of a smug look on his face. yeah? well i'd rather not die than eat your crummy onion risotto, so there.

after devouring the (delicious, if i do say so myself!) risotto, we headed back out to the mainstage, to sit and chill for a bit. it was close to six thirty, and we were knackered. we'd not planned for the change in weather, and it was getting crisp. after using up the last of boyfriend's phone battery to check the train times (and football scores)(my phone was dead by 3pm!), we mutually decided that to wait another two hours for the rizzle kicks set was tempting, but in reality, probably a dumb decision; leaving there at 10pm meant we would likely miss our train home. we sucked it up, and called it a brilliant day.

it really was. it was the only festival i've been to this year, and it was easily the best i've ever been to. yeah, i know it's not a music festival, but they're not totally my thing. i hate a lot of drunk people being around my person, and since this was very family friendly, there was none of that. it was calm, well run, lots of loos, plenty of food and drink and perfect weather wise. the music was a bonus. for anyone considering heading to feastival next year, i'd highly recommend it, and probably join you too.

thank you so much to the guys over at electrolux who graciously allowed boyfriend and i to go with them, and who looked after us so well once we were in there.

have you been? are you likely to go now? tell me!

Add your comment

  1. That looks like so much fun! I've never been to a festival yet! It's on my bucket list to do this year!


  2. That festival looked like so much fun! I love the baby animal zoo :)

  3. This looks amazing! I've never considered going to a food festival! I only ever attend music ones! The sound of plenty of toilets and free food has me sold though!
    Plus if there's a small zoo with piglets I'm there next year! Haha.
    Kloe xxx

  4. I want to go! I'm so jealous (In the best possible way!) Loving the vintage flair the festival had. It reminds me of something out of Grease. Mmm all that food has me salivating.

    Now I just need to find a way for them to contact me with VIP tickets! I'll be lucky... ♥


    1. if you figure it out, let me know - i'd love to have it more often!

  5. Woweee Erica! What a jam-packed day you guys had! How fun - all that yummy food, freebies and access to amazing wine *sigh i'm slightly jealous*!! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us xx

  6. What a lovely write up! Was fab meeting you. You did a lot - good on ya! I might, just might, have hung around the Grand Marnier tent/area for a bit too long - so didn't really see much else after the cooking class. I stayed till Basement Jaxx though - well, for one tune before guttingly having to catch the last train home.

  7. It looks like you had a brilliant time! I must just ask, where is your name necklace from? I love it! Your whole outfit is lovely to be fair! x

  8. Lovely pics and review - nice meeting you too. Didn't we have some of the best food ever?


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