The Thame Food Festival returns for yet another full day of food on 26th September, with another stellar line-up including food legends Raymond Blanc and Sophie Grigson, alongside Breton baker Richard Bertinet and an array of local and artisan food and drink stalls.
Last month I went along to a Seasonal Spring Supper Club at Sandy Lane Farm, an exclusive event aiming to promote and raise funding for the upcoming Festival. A glorious celebration of excellent locally produced food, along with wines chosen to match, was one hell of a way to kick off the season of events. The finest produce was used from Sandy Lane, run byCharles Bennett and his son George, put together by a team of local chefs, including our vey own Bitten Street regular SmokeYard Kitchen.
There will also be a chance to take in the glorious gardens at Raymond Blanc’s fabulous Oxfordshire country house hotel, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons on Wednesday 1st July when the two-starred Michelin restaurant serves up a special visit and lunch in support of the food festival. Walk through the inspiring two acre plot with the expert gardeners at your side, admiring the tranquil Japanese tea garden, the elegant English water garden and the extensive vegetable and herb gardens before a four course lunch with selected wines in the unforgettable setting of La Belle Époque private dining room, for an exclusive price of £195 a person. Tickets are available from the festival web site at www.thamefoodfestival.co.uk.
As for the main event itself, well it’s bound to be a corker. One of the biggest food events on the Oxfordshire calendar, Thame Food Fest attracts thousands of visitors, and we can see why. Arrive in style on a traditional London Routemaster bus, before wandering around a plethora of stalls laden with local produce including charcuterie, cakes and cheeses; enjoy the hot street food stalls and see the chefs in action on the live demo and interview stages, hosted by festival patron TV chef and writer Lotte Duncan. Raymond Blanc’s right hand men from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Adam Johnson, Mark Peregrine and Benoit Blin, will also be out in force on the day.
New to this year’s event is the Thame Bake Tent, where home bakers of all ages can put their baking skills to the test and battle it out to be named the festival’s best. Other features for this September include a Belazu pop-up restaurant serving authentic Mediterranean food in Christchurch in the Upper High Street, with all proceeds being shared between the Belazu Foundation, which supports schools in Morocco and the Isis School in Oxford, and the Thame Food Festival itself.
Other local food and drink producers putting their weight behind the festival include Rumsey’s Chocolaterie, Cotswold Gold Oils, Shands Cakes, What’s Cooking, The Vale Brewery, Sandy Lane Farm and Peter Osborne Fine Wines – in line with the event’s focus on local and artisan.
With over 150 stalls laden with great local and artisan food and drink, a packed programme of hands-on talks and workshops for foodies of all ages plus a pop-up pub and live music, the Thame Food Festival is a must-see for foodies everywhere. The festival takes place in the heart of Thame from 9am to 5pm on Saturday 26th September – we’ll see you there!