5 things you must eat at Leamington Food and Drink Festival

Leamington Food and Drink Festival 2017.jpg

Now in its 10th year, the Leamington Food and Drink Festival will have more than 100 exhibitors taking over the Royal Pump Gardens this weekend.

To help you navigate through all the stalls, here are my top five things to eat while you are there.

The Jabberwocky chorizo mozerella crayfish toastie

Local residents Flic & Barney will be serving street food fans gourmet toasties from their big, green Jabberwocky van. We can’t get enough of the classic Tuna Melt. The chorizo, mozzarella, crayfish, pesto and watercress.is pretty good too though.

Sweet As cake jars

Slightly easier to fit into your pocket or bag than one of the a-mazing cakes, head to the Sweet As stall for a cake jar. All that sweet goodness of salted caramel, rocky road and chocolate orange in miniature. Look out for new flavours this year.

Lobster mac n cheese

If it’s a little nippy, then a comforting bowl of unctuous mac n cheese from the Star & Garter’s Mac Shack should warm you right up. Spoil yourself with a choice of lobster, crab, pulled ham or pesto topping.

mushrooms

Stock up on mushrooms and truffles, where Antonio Carluccio himself will be revealing the best way to cook them at the Carluccio’s mushroom pop-up market stall between 11am – 1pm.

Dulci Bella marshmallows

With flavours including hazelnut and butterscotch, caramel and distinctively Darjeeling, the Dulci Bella award-winning marshmallows are a sweet treat not be missed.

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May’s marvellous food & drink events

May 2017 events

Welcome to my round-up of May’s marvellous food and drink events.

This month you can brush up on your Thai  cookery skills in a class with Suree Coates or learn more about your favourite tipple as Gabe Cook, aka The Ciderologist, hosts Birmingham Wine School’s first ever cider evening. Over in Coventry, the city’s cathedral is the backdrop to a weekend Gin Festival.

Food festival season kicks off in earnest, with four great events being held in the West Midlands. The inaugural  Independent Birmingham Festival, Ludlow Spring Festival (particularly for real ale fans) Alcester and Warwick Food Festivals will have all the locations buzzing with local producers, cafes and restaurants taking part.

Sate your  cultural appetite by joining  Annabel de Vetten of Conjurer’s Kitchen for an evening of deathly facts and food at the Midlands Arts Centre, or taste English wines while watching Four Weddings and A Funeral at The Electric cinema.

A Spanish festival or burger pop-up in Birmingham at Amantia and The Plough will get you into the party spirit, and special events include a one-off Pudding Club with five desserts from Sweet As in Leamington Spa to indulge in, plus the launch of a new monthly Sip + Supper Club in Stratford upon Avon.

Wherever you go and whatever you consume I hope that you have a marvellous May!

 

Whats on this weekend

What are you doing this weekend? Here are some idea that might tempt you to eat and shop local.

Chamberlains pan-fried scallops tapas

Chamberlains Birmingham

This is the fourth year that the award-winning fish and chip shop is offering a weekend of tapas from £4.99. How many chippies in Birmingham could you try Artic char, yellowfin sole and soft shell crab?
Sweet As chocolate cake by Karen Massey

Sweet As Leamington Spa

Two excuses to eat cake this weekend in Leamington, it is the fifth birthday for the lovely Sweet As team on Saturday and their shop has had a makeover.

Spectacular Goat pizza

Fargo Village Coventry

Spectacular Goat, Canoodle and 63 Islands will be serving tasty fresh food at Fargo Village this weekend.

Bourneville Waffle Company

Autumn Market The Bond, Digbeth

Seasonal markets are returning to The Bond for a one day urban festival with local artists, artisan food producers, street food, bar and music. New for this event are a cocktail masterclass by The Shack revolution for £17 and an afternoon tea for £16 per person. From 12 – 6pm.

Sweet As presents third Pudding Society dinner

According to my partner, when the invite from patisserie chef Jenny Hudson arrived for the Sweet As’s Pudding Society, I looked like Charlie winning his ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. In my defense, I was merely pleased that I could indulge my sweet tooth with like-minded dessert fans.

Jenny Hudson Sweet As cakes

With a welcome glass of prosecco, fellow blogger Glamour in the County and I were shown into a buzzy room of 53 people at the Warwick Arms Hotel. Couples work colleagues and groups of friends were all ready to enjoy five Sweet As desserts,plus their signature chocolate cake.

Warwick Arms Hotel

Caroline Beresford, the hotel’s General Manager, began the evening with a charming poem hoping that we would “not be subdued into a pudding coma”, advising us to take it steady so that we would “not hit a pudding wall.”

With that in mind, our starter of mini beer battered fish, with a neat stack of chips, a smudge of pea puree and large pot of tartar sauce, was surprisingly larger than I had expected.

Our first dessert was a fresh strawberry cheesecake with a strawberry coulis and fresh strawberries. I really liked the rich, buttery base of this pudding.

Sweet As strawberry cheesecake

Up next, the slice of pear and chocolate pudding fooled us into thinking that it would taste like a brownie, but it had a much lighter, crispier texture.

In between courses I chatted to the three ladies on the next table. They were there for a girls night out and the good quality food was a bonus. They loved their puds, so on a recommendation were trying the Pudding Society for the first time.

Glamour in the County and I were given a backstage pass to see the chefs in action. The tall Black Forest gateau, with chocolate and black cherries, was a pretty swirl of ingredients in a dessert glass. Each layer took you closer to the most moreish, solid, chocolate base. The chef told us that the decorative pattern on the dark chocolate wafer was a transfer motif, pressed onto the chocolate then cut into pieces. I don’t think he was too impressed though when I compared this culinary technique to my nail wraps!

Sweet As Black Forest gateaux

According to Caroline the next course, of a sticky toffee pudding served with butterscotch sauce, is a big hit with customers. They would be happy to see it on the menu at every Pudding Society dinner. By hosting the evenings every three months rather than monthly, the team has a great opportunity to add new, seasonal and signature puddings to the menu – keeping it varied and tempting.

Sweet As butterscoth sauce

By the end of the evening I had to take up the “if you start to flag, we’ll give you a goody bag” offer and take my chocolate tasting plate home. The classic chocolate indulgence brownie, mini chocolate ganache dipped cake, a chocolate dipped strawberry and handmade chocolate truffles were a perfect way to end an evening of chocolate heaven.

Sweet As chocolate tasting plate

The next Pudding Society event, on Friday 23rd August, will be part of Warwick Rocks Food and Film Festival. Diners can expect a film, movie style food and Sweet As desserts. http://www.sweet-as.co.uk

 

Coming soon…..

Purnell's Bistro

Returning from a long weekend away to a full inbox, two invitations stood out – the launch of the Spring menu at Purnell’s Bistro on Wednesday 15 May and the Sweet As Pudding Society the day after. I’m looking forward to updating the blog with these new features next week.

February Food Events

pancakes

From a pancake race at The Almanack to five desserts at the Sweet As Pudding Society, there are new food events for February posted on the Events page.

Sweet As on ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery

Jenny Hudson Sweet As

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet As featured on ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery programme yesterday. Nominated as one of the best in the West Midlands, the chocoholics competed against an artisan bread maker in Litchfield and family bakery in Ludlow, as one of the top three bakeries in the West Midlands.

Owner Jenny Hudson said: “We were so proud to be able to show off Leamington Spa and the Midlands to the country as a great place for cakes.” www.sweet-as.co.uk

Sweet As launches new Pudding Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

If like me dessert is your favourite part of dinner, then the new Pudding Society, being launched by Sweet As, could be a great Winter pick me up.

Starting at 7.30pm on Thursday 22 November at The Warwick Arms Hotel the evening includes:

  • A glass of Prosseco
  • A delicious main course
  • Five Sweet As desserts, culminating in a chocolate tasting board which will include their signature chocolate cake
  • Tea or coffee
  • Priority booking and a discount off the second Pudding Society event in February

Tickets are £25 and can be booked directly with the hotel on 01926 492759 or by emailing reception@warwickarmshotel.com

Table Talk

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s restaurant offers focus on the Kenilworth Foodie Fortnight, on now until Saturday 13 October. http://www.foodiefortnight.co.uk

 Petit Gourmand has two special offers. A prix fixe evening menu of three courses for £17.95, or dine from the new Autumn menu with a complimentary glass of wine.

 You could enjoy a slice of white chocolate and pinenut  cake or orange and poppyseed cake with a cup of Illy coffee for £2.50 from Sweet As who is offering a coffee and a different piece of cake throughout the food festival.

 A two course dinner for £12.95 or three courses for £15.95 are being offered at Harrington’s on the Hill.

Beef is treating children to a free meal on Sunday 7 October and Time For Tea will tempt you to a Cornish Cream tea with their two for one offer.