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Weald & Downland Food Festival

by Clare Mansell
Weald & Downland Food Festival

Last weekend we had a brilliant day at the Weald & Downland Food Festival. For those of you not from the Chichester area, the Weald & Downland is an outdoor museum set in 40 acres of Sussex parkland and they hold several events every year. Over the Easter holidays we renewed our lapsed annual family membership and we’ve been visiting regularly since, but this was our first time at the food fair.

I am generally not one for big events, I dislike the traffic and parking problems and I don’t like feeling I’m paying a premium for things because I’m a captive audience, but persuaded by rave reviews from other local friends and because our annual membership got us in for free, we decided to give it a go.

wealdanddownland foodfestival-7First of all I should say that both parking and traffic turned out to be a non-issue. The museum and their team of volunteers have it brilliantly organised and we drove straight in to the overflow car park and then walked straight in to the museum where stalls were set out along a buggy friendly route through the historic buildings.

One of our first stops was to visit (or perhaps for my children to terrorise) a new friend of mine, Linzi from the Nut Butter Company. Last weekend Linzi and I were sharing the same Air BnB at Alexandra Palace for the Country Living Show and for the bank holiday she was in my neck of the woods. Linzi (and husband Jay)’s nut butter has recently been featured on Tom Kerridge’s Top Of The Shops, I bought a jar of the chocolate and peanut at Country Living and we bought the crunchy peanut at the Weald & Downland. I love the fact that before I took this photo Theo insisted on turning all the jars round so the branding faced the right way… he’s well trained!

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Next we stopped at Jacob’s Ladder to buy a pack of organic beef steaks and then we were tempted into the craft room by offers of a free children’s cheese scone making class which was run by the Fun Food Academy

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Theo & Alice were expertly guided through the preparation process by Lydi and then their scones were cooked in a mobile oven. In the same room there was free face painting, so Theo seized the opportunity to be transformed into a butterfly. Just as they finished, the call was put out for twelve children to do a pizza making class, so we hopped straight from scone making to pizzas and Sarah talked to the children about waking up yeast and the different flavours of the toppings.

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Back out in the main site and with the kids pizzas cooking, we were spoilt for choice with the number of foodie stalls to visit from the Podgy Pieman to waffles on a stick and Riverford’s organic veg.

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For lunch Jim tried an organic burger, I had bubble and squeak and brilliantly the children were kept satisfied with the (free!) pizza they had made. I’d had in mind a rough budget we’d be happy to spend on food and activities during the day and still left with change in our pocket, I was very impressed.

Slightly late in the day (after the cookery classes) I decided to make a short video of the food fair which you can watch below. It’s only just over a minute long and gives you a taster of the atmosphere.

I shot and edited it all on my iPhone which is so easy and has made me resolve to try and do at least one video like this a month… and by the way if you aren’t already subscribed to my youtube channel I’d really appreciate a subscription. I’m only 10 subs away from being able to rejoin the partner program which will allow me to earn a small amount of revenue for my videos and help justify the time I spend doing them.

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