Festival Fever

With a lovely mellowness, September gives us a bumper crop of food festivals.

Ludlow Food Festival 2017

From the original and bar-setting  Ludow  Food Festival (8th – 10th) to newbies like Independent Birmingham (17th) celebrating individual businesses, there is a food festival for everyone’s appetite this month.

Sparkenhoe cheese

Leamington Food & Drink Festival will be celebrating its 10th anniversary ((9th & 10th) with a kids cookery school and plentry of tastings. Set in the castle grounds, Tamworth’s Food Gusto will offer local and regional produce over the same weekend.

Birmingham Chili Festival Brindleyplace

The popular Birmingham Extreme Chili Festival  will be turning up the heat in Brindleyplace (15th & 16th) while beer and cider lovers will be quenching their thirst at the Leamington Beer and Music Festival  (15th – 17th).
Sweet

The week after, Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh will be launching their new book Sweet as a prelude to the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival (23rd -24th).

All the details are on the September events page so enjoy!

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Table Talk – this week’s foodie news

The Baby Bell Aldreminster

It started its life as a dreary huntsman’s cabin somewhere south of the M25, and after just a few weeks at Alscot it’s been lovingly transformed into The Baby Bell mobile bar. Parked in the gardens of The Bell in Alderminster, this is set to be a sure fire hit for the summer.

Tuning Fork Supper Club-38

Just outside Rugby, The Tuning Fork has opened an outside dining area and is now open in the evenings too.

Independent Birmingham Festival September 2017

Independent Birmingham has announced the date for their second festival. On Sunday 17 September (12pm – 7pm) at the iconic Aston Hall, complete with: restaurant pop-ups, street food, cocktails, craft beer, local artists, designers and retailers showcasing the very best of Birmingham’s independent culture throughout the day.Tickets cost just £8 (early bird is £5) and can be purchase here – Children under 12 go free, no ticket required.

1st look Gas Street Social

Gas Street Social montage

WHAT:

Press dinner  Wednesday 18 March

WE ATE:              

Starters of beetroot and goats cheese tart, slow cooked ox cheek, scallops and arancini

Mains of Tidenham duck breast, seabass and mushroom gnocchi

Puds chocolate brownie, popping berry parfait and pistachio crème brulee.

WE DRANK:

Socialite cocktails, chunky tumblers of ‘Negrognie’  – a house speciality based on the smokey Negroni, Old Fashioned dispensed from a dinky table top barrel and mocktails topped with shavings of freeze dried raspberry shavings.

WHO WAS THERE:

Brum’s foodereatti – Ale Mary, Bella and Robot, Dine Birmingham, Dr Roz The Foodie Couple, Emily Etc, Independent Birmingham, Midlands Gourmet Girl, Out in Brum, Taylah Catlow, Vicky and Adam from Gas Street Social plus Natalie and Lisa from Rewired PR.

ETHOS:

European dishes ranging in size from small plates and individual dishes to sharing boards featuring  local suppliers  like Peel & Stone Bakery.

TEAM:

Independently owned by husband and wife team Adam and Theresa Freeth, with UCB graduates in the kitchen brigade.

DESIGN:

An open plan room zoned into sociable groups of tables and booths, all with views of the open kitchen or canal side. References to the city’s rich industrial history from bar hand pulls fashioned from jewellery making tools to vintage posters as well as swanky loos. The exposed steel and wooden materials broken up with shots of cobalt blue and lots of squashy multi-coloured soft furnishings for an urban meets industrial feel.

166 – 168 Wharfside The Mailbox

@GasStSocial

Lets do lunch

Like most office workers, I’ve got into an annoying routine of eating lunch at my desk. It’s a habit I want to break, so once a week I make sure that I go out for a walk and eat al fresco in Birmingham city centre.

Lunchmarket

Last week I went to Duncan Stanley’s #lunchmarket in The Square, where it was a choice of street food from The Mexican Bean, Baileys Caribbean and The Vegan Grindhouse.

Peel & Stone

Yesterday I was in the Jewellery Quarter for a client meeting, so sought out Peel & Stone at arch 33 in Water Street. The tiny space is packed with an enticing range of freshly made bread, cakes, salads and sandwiches. Check their twitter page for details of daily changing specials, from pulled pork baps to salted caramel doughnuts @peelandstone. You can also use your Independent Birmingham card here.

So whether its hot street food, or freshly baked bread there is always an alternative to boring sandwiches eaten at your desk!

Dining loyalty cards on a plate

Ages ago I signed up for a Gourmet Society restaurant card. I only used it a few times before it expired, then last week an email popped into my inbox that I couldn’t refuse.

‘Come back to us for £1!’ it said. The catch being that it only lasts for just three months, but for the sake of only a quid I was re-activated and now have 24 pages of Midlands restaurants to pore through.

Episode-Leamington_Spa-Info-3-397621

Episode in Leamington Spa, Harringtons on the Hill in Kenilworth and Blue Bistro in Coventry are all GS members (and places that I go to anyway) so it will be a nice treat to have my loyalty rewarded.

Independents’ Day

The newest scheme which launches on 28 March is run by Independent Birmingham as a celebration of the unique outlets in the city. This scheme covers shops as well as bars and restaurants, particularly the quirky venues like Le Truc, The Rose Villa Tavern and Brewsmiths café.

Le Truc design my night

Restaurant loyalty schemes aren’t a new concept but there are some that definitely stand out for offering value for money, at places you want to go to.

Foodies love Gastro Card

Gastrocard

With Gastro Card the calibre of members is very high, with a large percentage of independent outlets which are constantly growing. The Balcony Bar in Selfridges, Chung Ying Central in Colmore Row and even the Epi Restaurant pop-up in Bromsgrove have recently joined the family of food lovers.

The extras really help keep you loyal to one scheme over another, which is what I’ve found makes Gastro Card stand apart. News, reviews, competitions and exclusive offers – save £10 per person off a wine tasting event at Hotel du Vin and receive a free glass of Prosecco when charging your wine card at Loki for instance.

Now Gastro Card has launched Tenner£east, an appetizing new scheme  valid for four months that costs (yes you guessed it) only £10!

Competition

Gastro Card Tenner£east

If you’d like to save money when you eat out, enter this easy competition. Midlands Gourmet Girl has three of these bite sized Tenner£east cards to give away.

How long is the Tenner£east card valid for? Answers to midlandsgourmetgirl@gmail.com to enter.