Every single year I miss it – one of, if not THE biggest events in the local food & drink calendar – Thame Food Festival.
This year, once again, I’ll be elsewhere for matters of strict importance – donning my cheerleader outfit for the husband’s hometown triathlon. But while I’m shouting “Give me an A, give me an N…” you lucky lot could be tucking into all manor of tasty treats in Thame. Taking place this Saturday 26th September from 9am – 5pm in the heart of Thame town centre, here’s the shortcut for what you need to know.
- From the Beer, Lager & Cider category: Bitten buddies XT Brewing, who will be serving up their gorgeous locally brewed beers at the upcoming Bitten Street events.
- From the Biscuits & Brownies category: Made By Mums and Just Biscuits – both of which we’ve tried and tested having met them at other events
- From the Bread category: Cornfield Bakery, regular traders at local markets
- From Cakes & Pattisserie: Shands Cakes and Hannah Bakes – Shands Cakes is a regular at East Oxford Farmers’ market (her lemon drizzle is perfection) and Hannah Bakes’ twitter feed has me drooling regularly
- In Cheese: how could we not big up our very own Oxford Cheese from The Covered Market
- From the Chilli Products Category; SaucyDDs, who Becca and I both met at North Parade Market, serving up their gorgeous smokey chipotle chillies
- Chocolate & Fudge: well we couldn’t not mention Thame’s longstanding chocolatier, Rumsey’s Chocolates, definitely worth a stop off (or three)
- In Coffee: Suppliers to MANY of Oxford’s coffee shops (and further afield), Ue Coffee will be pitched up ready to serve coffee, which is roasted just up the road in Witney. You can also pick up a cup Jeeves & Jericho loose leaf tea from them
- Deli Products: The fabulous CiCi-CoCo kitchen who’s Italian cookery is to die for
- Hot Takeaway Food: Bitten Street regulars OMG! Hotdog, Ross & Ross Food, Savoie Fayre (Le Rac Shack), Shredded Meat Co, Smoke Yard Kitchen and Toro Poco of course!
This year there’s a stonking lineup of local and celebrity chefs across two stages – the AGA Demonstration stage hosted by Simon Brown, AGA Demonstrator and Cookery TV Presenter; and the Interview stage sponsored by Barr Kitchens and hosted by Thame Food Fest Patron Lotte Duncan.
Chefs include: Natalie Coleman – Masterchef winner 2013; Lucie Greenwood – Chef and Owner of The Milk Shed in Weston-on-the-Green; local Michelin star Chef Raymond Blanc; and Sophie Grigson – TV Chef, Food Writer and Owner of Sophie’s Cookery School. Check out the full lineup here.
The Pop Up Restaurant
Plan a pit-stop at the Belazu pop-up restaurant, where authentic Mediterranean food will be served up from morning til night. The festival’s first ever pop-up restaurant will fill the spacious surroundings of Christchurch on Upper High Street. Here, chef Chris Wheeler from Stoke Park will be rustling up a mouth-watering Mediterranean feast using top-notch Belazu ingredients, and the really good news is that all profits from the day go to good causes.
Start your day with a brilliant breakfast of poached eggs with yoghurt and rose harissa and spicy merguez sausages with crusty bread, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice and a warming cup of tea or coffee. Served from 9am until 12 noon.
If a lazy lunch is your thing, from 12 noon until 5pm you can tuck into sensational mezze sharers with home made breads and Belazu’s famous early harvest extra virgin olive oil and balsamico de Modena for dipping. Move onto mains of luscious pomegranate molasses roasted loin of pork or aubergine, freekeh spiked with zahter (wild oregano) and saffron courgettes with yoghurt and tangy pomegranate molasses. End on a bitter sweet note with bitter chocolate and raspberry fondant infused with balsamic and a scoop of yogurt and raspberry ripple sorbet on the side. Two courses cost £25 and three cost £30.
As the sun slips down, sip on a glass of prosecco or a chilled beer while you decide what to have from the dinner menu. There’s a wonderful selection of mezze to start and then a sensational verbena harissa salmon tartare with fresh coriander on an olive oil crostini or pomegranate molasses roasted loin of pork. After zingy oranges with rose water, open a magnificent Stoke Park bitter chocolate box filled with rich chocolate and caramel mousse, frangelico gel and a sublime salted caramel ice cream with Oporto vinegar. Four courses, plus coffee and petit fours, cost £35 and can be enjoyed from 6pm until late.
Belazu will be donating all profits from the pop-up to the Belazu Foundation, which was set up to support three good causes close to its heart: helping Belazu to organise and fund an annual school fun day at Oxford’s ISIS academy for children with complex special education needs; educate 120 children in Morocco; and support its City Harvest initiative and feed the homeless for eight months. What’s more, every diner will get to take home a goody bag worth £20 packed with Belazu treats.
Bag a table by going to www.thamefoodfestival.co.uk/belazu-2/
If you’re travelling by car, Thame’s a short drive from the M40. Leave the motorway at junction 6 signposted Thame/Watlington/Princes Risborough. If coming from the London direction turn right onto the B4009 or if coming from the Oxford direction turn left, then take the first left onto the A40. Continue on the A40 and turn right onto the B4012 signposted Thame and continue until you see signs for the Thame Food Festival Park and Ride. You can park for just £5 for the day and take the free park & ride to and from town. Please use the Chinnor Rugby Club entrance to enter the showground.
Thanks to sponsors Rectory Homes, there will be up to four buses running at busy times to help get everyone into the town centre as swiftly as possible. Click here for full details
Enjoy, I’ll be watching from afar!
For full details of the event, please visit www.thamefoodfestival.co.uk