Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Taste it! Glorious Food at the Malvern Autumn Show

Local produce to tempt you

Fresh and local is the key for FOOD at the Malvern Autumn Show – and why not when it is held in an area so renowned for some of the finest produce this country has to offer. From fruit to vegetables, meat to pastries, preserves to sweetmeats and bread to chutneys, the three counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire benefit from an equable climate and a tradition of excellence in food production.

Doing the Continental -
tasty morsels from far afield, as well as local to Malvern
But being a cosmopolitan nation, the Autumn Show attracts exhibitors from far and wide, and beyond our island shores as well. Whether it's chillies or olives, continental meats or curries, or something even more exotic, your taste buds will tempt you to go sampling in the various areas of the Showground devoted to TASTE.

Let them eat cake! (It was delicious, too)
Head for the Avon Hall where the WI (Women’s Institute) are staging a ‘Bake Off and Crafts-Village Show’. It’s also home to the celebrated ‘Festival of Food and Drink’ and all related exhibitors; dozens of them. Come early if you can, these stalls will be packed, though the vendors never seem to run out of produce. Moving from stall to stall, your shopping bag will soon be bulging! And there are plenty of stalls to whet your appetite in other locations, notably a Local Arts, Crafts and Food Market sited on the hard-standing  area off Row 2 between the Wye and Avon Halls. 

Wot's Cooking with Katie Johnson and baker Rob Swift
Centre stage in the Avon Hall will be Cookery Theatre where Wot’s Cooking (with lovely Katie Johnson) will be hosting a series of cookery demonstrations throughout the Show. The theatre itself is a work of art, and Wot’s Cooking use different stages for the various events they attend around the country. The Autumn Show schedule is currently building, but following his appearance at 'The Malvern Royal', baker Rob Swift will be returning on Saturday with his entertaining bread making demo;  the Swifts family Bakery  celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.  Also on the Saturday, Katie has a super chap demonstrating all about fish including identification and sourcing (Tom Court from The Granary Restaurant, Shenstone, Worcs). On the Sunday Liz Knight, a fascinating foraging expert from Herefordshire, will feature ingredients she has foraged for in the lanes and at her home, and no doubt at the Showground too. We’ll provide an update on other demos as news arrives.

Refreshments courtesy the WI at reasonable prices
Watching food demos is hungry work, or at least one craves food afterwards, or at any time of the day. There are plenty of refreshments on offer around the Showground, clearly marked on the map that accompanies your Showguide. As these are all conveniently located, there’s no excuse for not stopping for a bite and a cuppa – indeed, your visit may well benefit from so doing when you arrive, allowing you time to glance through the Show Guide and formulate a plan of what you want to do. Familiarization can save time and possible frustration, allowing you to pack more into your day out.

Joe Swift (left) learning how to cook in the Good Life Pavilion (2009)
Hosting both days in the Good Life Pavilion (alongside the edible show gardens) will be the inimitable Joe Swift conducting an audience with Mary Berry – Saturday only. Mark Diacono, from his Otter Farm smallholding in Devon, will also be appearing: head gardener at River Cottage and author of the amazing ‘Taste of the Unexpected’, he is both knowledgeable and amusing.

Have a coffee when you arrive, or before heading home
(or at any time during your visit)
Shop till you drop! But if you’re seriously stocking your pantry and even freezer, do remember to bring along a cool bag, or even an icebox. More previews will follow in the weeks leading up to the Show. But please note that the images used were taken in previous years, and as every year is different, with different themes, there is no guarantee that a specific exhibitor will be at Malvern in 2013. Oh, and don’t forget to book your tickets now and save money – which of course you could spend on food !!

More good eating from other Malvern Shows
Don't miss this year's Autumn Show - 28th & 29th September, 2013

All images are copyright Ray Quinton and Ann Somerset Miles.

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