Last weekend, a swathe of celebrity chefs, street food traders and local producers descended on Cannon Hill Park for Foodies Festival Birmingham, so of course I had to go and sample the wares! I went along on the Sunday to see what was happening.
I arrived with my other half just before 11am when the festival opened and there was already a long queue of people waiting to go in, which was a good sign straight away! The gate staff got us in quickly, gave us a free Show Guide come magazine and we were on our way, following our noses to the tastiest stalls.
We skipped breakfast (obviously) so I wanted to grab a quick snack before getting stuck in. I spotted Pig In The Middle with their extensive range of sausage rolls which was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. These were sausage rolls with a twist, as well as delicious pork meat, they came with a range of accompaniments, from traditional apple sauce or Branston Pickle, to to the more adventurous like Stilton and even Marmite! I’m a huge Marmite fan so it had to be that one for me. The additional of the black stuff made this sausage roll deliciously savoury with just a hint of the Marmite flavour in the background.
After that little starter it was onto the serious stuff! Starting with Piggie Smalls Hotdogs.
Steven decided he was going to take on the Hot Juan, a huge pork frank smothered in Jalapenos, hot sauce and onions. The frank was delicious, but this bad boy was spicy! So spicy in fact that although he did manage to finish the whole thing, we had to get Ice Cream from Polly’s Parlour, a VW Ice Cream Van!.
I’m a Vee Dub lover anyway, so seeing this beauty was a pleasure in itself. The ice cream was superb though, I went for old school Mint Choc Chip in a hand made waffle cone, delicious!
We decided to walk off the hot dog and ice cream before eating anything else so we went to have a look at the produce stalls. Favourite Brummie foodies Pips Hot Sauce were there in pride of place which pleased me immensely so I could restock. If you’ve never tried their smoked chilli and garlic hot sauce, I highly recommend it.
On our travels we managed to pick up some locally produced Beef Biltong, Rhubarb and Custard flavour homemade shortbread from Sawley Kitchen, a porridge goody bag from Stoats, Chilean hot and mild salsas, luxury cheeses from the Snowdonia Cheese Company, a 3 month subscription to Riverford Organic Vegetables and some amazing Caribbean spice mixes from Tan Rosie. After all that shopping a quick drink stop was in order.
We moseyed into the Cider House for a pit stop and tried out some Woodchuck Craft Cider. This was really lovely, sweet, refreshing and no nasty aftertaste like cheaper ciders. I also loved the fact that this was a craft cider. If the craft beer revolution is anything to go by, hopefully cider will shortly be following suit with beauties like these!
We couldn’t help but notice the smell wafting over from the West Midlands Jerk Centre as we enjoyed our cider. We followed our noses and found the most delicious looking Jerk Chicken and Pork on offer; After just a mouthful of the Jerk Pork I had to buy a portion. Made with belly pork, the meat was tender and melting, the fat had crisped up like crackling and the spicing was just amazing. This really was the star of the festival for me, absolutely brilliant!
After enjoying the Jerk Pork and stopping off to say Hi to the guys at Deliveroo Birmingham, who were having food shipped in via scooter all day long, we decided to check out what was happening at the chefs masterclasses. Steven is a barbecue fanatic so we settled at the Broil King Stage to watch Burger Bar to Gourmet Star chef Carl Sampson cooking his signature burger. With his tips about good quality meat, top tips on how to cook them and his rules on buns, he was really engaging and entertaining. I only wish I’d been chosen to sample his creation!
Having spent the last few hours eating, walking and shopping, we were pretty tired so we decided to head off with a huge haul of goodies, however as we were leaving we spotted (and smelled) a Hungarian Street Food stall and decided to get one last thing for the road.
Pork featured highly on our trip and a Hungarian sausage wrap with pickled cabbage and sauce was in order for our drive home. The sausage was really good, dense and meaty with a crispy natural skin casing, flavoured with smoky Hungarian paprika. I thought putting that sausage and condiments in a wrap was quite unique too!
So after one final munch, we left Foodies Festival with full tummies and full shopping bags. I thought this was a great event, like a smaller scale, outdoor Good Food Festival, and I’ll be really pleased when it returns!