Reviewer : Steve Turner
Bank Holiday weekend, by the seaside, an outdoor event, what could possibly go wrong? Well, as usual the weather lived down to its usual standards and delivered bitingly cold wind together with horizontal rain. This being a British event there were still plenty in attendance, including some brave souls wearing t-shirts and shorts, although they did seem to be mostly congregated around the stalls selling alcoholic refreshments.
Full marks to the organisers who have laid on a great variety of masterclasses, demonstrations and the like, all held within generously sized marquees, some featuring TV screens to give you a closer view of the fare on offer. With seating at these events limited, admission is by ticket so make sure you pick yours up from the helpful, friendly staff at the ticket stand. There is no extra charge for these but it’s worth getting yourself a decent seat in plenty of time. The event runs into the evening so there you can relax knowing that it’s possible to get round all of the stalls and take in some of the shows.
The show featuring Gennaro Contaldo of Two Greedy Italians fame, and also Jamie Oliver’s mentor and partner in the ‘Jamie’s Italian’ chain, was held in a packed marquee with many people standing at the back. The efficiency of the PA system and the TV screens above the stage certainly helped here, enabling everyone to see what was going on, and with Contaldo on fine form, pulling together three dishes in about 20 minutes, all served with his customary humour and engagement with the audience. Barely a minute later he was to be found signing books, chatting, and posing for photos with some very happy customers at the Jamie’s Italian pop up restaurant.
Other classes available included a chocolate truffle making class, sourdough bread making, sherry tasting, rum masterclass and many, many others. There will be something for every taste, with the more adventurous able to take part in some of the classes – if you’ve ever fancied piping your own chocolate truffles for example, then head to Fiona Sciolti’s chocolate class.
As you would expect there are many stalls offering samples of their delicious products including wine, cheese, pies, olives, beer, chocolate and of course the ubiquitous cup cakes. With all the stall holders doing their best to keep everyone’s spirits up despite the poor weather, there was still plenty of enjoyment to be had, and with plenty of beer, wine and champagne available, together with a constant stream of live music and some space under canvas to eat while perched on a hay bale, it was still possible to forget the weather and have a great time.
Runs until Monday 6th May 2013