Behind the Scenes at Port Eliot Festival
Working at this year's Port Eliot, there's much to report about the exciting things the festival has been doing for the world of food and drink.
Here's the low-down!
It rained, and it kept on raining at Port Eliot this year. Yet that wasn't enough to spoil the care-free spirit of the festival or the great food that kept on giving! Port Eliot has always been an advocate of the highest quality food and drink - from the very first year when freshly-caught seafood was served up by the local pub. And it shows! This year, it was great to get a sneak peak behind the foodie scene whilst working for much-loved London-based Good and Proper Tea in their good and proper Citroen H van.
Parked up next to the luscious Bowling Green, Good & Proper Tea was in prime location to offer its warming goods to the rain-soaked festivalees. Now staples on the festival circuit, it all started for them back in 2012 when the idea was Kickstarted, the backers affectionately named the mobile tea van 'Watson', and Good & Proper Tea was born. A fixed home in London was later founded, with the same mission to bring much-needed, good quality tea onto the scene. In a modern UK where luxury coffee experiences dominate, Good & Proper Tea aims to change that, shining the spotlight on the nation's favourite hot drink.
The giant crumpets almost stole the show. The marmite melt won over every punter who tried one, the cheese lovingly blow-torched to perfection. The real favourite was the avocado and chilli crumpet, the avocado smashed with lemon and sea salt and dusted with chilli flakes. Did I eat too many? Probably!
Meeting fellow traders, some fantastic discoveries were made. The sheer range of food and drink on offer was awe-inspiring, as was the creativity with which each trader presented itself. The main trend was no doubt the celebration of the rich food culture of Cornwall and the South West. Locally-sourced and sustainable seafood was a plenty, from the likes of Fal Oyster's famous pop-up Ostraca, and street food traders like CLAW and Thyme & Tide.
Vegetarian and vegan food was in abundance, with gourmet goodies like the totally meat-free Dosa Deli and The Bhangra Bus, both specialising in Indian cuisines. Deli Pops flew the flag for natural ingredients with their 100% fruit ice lollies, which saved the day when the sun finally came out!
The Flower and Fodder stage once again welcomed some of the UK's most influential foodies to bring forth their latest finds and knowledge. Award-winning journalist Alice Lascelles imparted her drinks wisdom, in the company of many other interesting figure over the weekend such as the brainst behind the Bristol Lido restaurant, Freddie Bird and many, many more.
Speaking of drinks, the bars were doing fantastic things over the weekend. Cowboy-style Black Cow Saloon was a huge hit, as was the Cornwall-based Dead Man's Fingers bar, and we had a good old chuckle at the genius of the Bloody Mary Ambulance.
The Weird and the Wonderful
The rest of the festival was a wonderful combination of the unexpected and the typical festival sights - we spotted a few celebrities enjoying the vibrant international street food stands, and winced at the human mudheaps emerging from the estuary after a swim. We caught sight of Humphrey the camel and a travelling pianist. We caught some fantastic live music in the form of the uplifting Zimbabwean-meets-Northen-English duo Chris Blanden and Chartwell Duitro. We didn't get a chance to practice our alfresco cookery skills at the Survival Wisdom Masterclasses, but we wish we had!
Port Eliot managed to be both civilised and wild, rain-soaked and energetic. We only wished we had more time to work our way through every activity and food trader!