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  • Writer's pictureKatie Smith

Love British Food at the Universal Cookery and Food Festival 2019

Last week I attended the Universal Cookery & Food Festival as an ambassador for Love British Food to speak to the chefs, restaurants and producers attending the festival. Having attended last years event I was really keen to get involved again and when I was asked to run the Love British Food stand again I immediately agreed. Working closely with the Love British Food team this year as well as one of the chefs involved with the campaign – Ruth Hansom – we were able to offer a meal for two at Pomonas in Notting Hill as a prize draw at the event.

The festival was held at Farrington Oils in Northamptonshire which was a great venue for it. There were farm and foraging tours on offer, as well as clay pigeon shooting. The farm tour was really interesting and great to see how a British product gets from farm to table. Being a LEAF assured farm it was interesting to see how the crops are grown with minimum till and meeting guidelines. I also found it really interesting to see the process of pressing the oil and how the whole crop is used to ensure maximum usage of the plants. The clay pigeon shooting was great and the coaches from BASC were superb with everyone – I thought this was a fantastic way to link a practical and fun activity to the game stage that was there where the chefs covered preparing and cooking everything from wood pigeon to deer. The displays and talks on the stages are great, the chefs are very informative and it provides a great chance to ask questions and get involved.

There were lots of exhibitors this year, I particularly enjoyed the local collective stands as it was a way for a few local producers to get together and showcase their products. The Hampshire Food Fayre – who run a British Food Fortnight event had lots of great stuff to share this year. A local collective – Made in Northamptonshire – had some of the best preserves and cheeses I have tried and it was lovely that they brought over samples to us while we were running the stand as well!

Purbeck Ice Cream brought along their ice cream van to showcase their Dorset made ice cream. They had so many flavours to sample and all of the ones I tried were delicious – the cucumber sorbet needs a special mention as a more unusual flavour but really flavourful and fragrant. I have since spotted that they serve Purbeck ice cream at one of our nearby pubs so I know where I can get it in the future!

There were too many exhibitors to list but there were so fantastic companies promoting British grown and made items which was fantastic too see.

I really enjoyed speaking to all of the delegates that came to talk about Love British Food, there are so many people in the food industry passionate about supporting British farmers and producers which was just great. It was also lovely to chat with some people who have recently partnered with Love British Food, including Hill Farm Oils, about what they can get out of the campaign and how they can work together to promote their British-produced products.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Love British Food you can find more information on the website and get involved with a British Food Fortnight event or event put one on!

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