The Speech House Hotel, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, was the venue for the 15th Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival.
This annual event is a celebration of food, music and art embracing over 100 local and artisan producers, accompanied by a host of other activities.
On the food side it brings together traditional and new producers of cheese, cider, wine, honey, bread, ice cream and pork products as well as the more exotic floral jellies and biltong.
Cookery lessons, hot and cold food, real ale and wine, children’s activities and live music filled the air after the event was opened by TV presenter, Greg Wallace.
One of the main areas of interest at the Forest Showcase was the chef demo area featuring great local chefs. Breakfast began with Lawrence Jeffries from Gloucestershire College curing salmon ready for cooking and hot smoking salmon, using a Kamodo Joe Japanese charcoal oven with Forest of Dean charcoal.
And for nut fanatics, Harts Barn Cookery School explored the indigenous Forest of Dean nuts, from cobnuts, to walnuts and chestnuts and used them for recipes that included delicious cobnut flatbreads, forest mushroom tart with walnut pastry and apricot/chestnut/aduki bean balls with a blackberry dressing.
There was also great excitement at the new feature from the Resilience Centre, the Resilient Futures Marquee. Visitors experienced speaker sessions, demonstrations, discussions and short films that highlighted how people are gearing up en masse to take action now and for the future, while still respecting the environment.
The talks included community renewable energy and woodlands resilience, with a wealth of local knowledge involved in the resilience movements, including the Forest of Dean Beekeepers, Hands Off Our Forest, Frack Off Our Forest, plus others. You can sense the common theme!
The Forest of Dean itself was heavily represented, with local organisations participating in the day’s events. From A Wild Life With Animals, which involved a two-hour expedition deep into the woods to the Forest of Dean Entrepreneurs group helping new and start-up businesses. But there was also a multicultural presence as well in the food area, with Persian, Indian and Mexican aromas enticing the crowds.
The windmill, a home-made mobile wind power generator, created by Robin Larkham, created huge interest. Connected to an apple scratter, (used in cider-making) it proves that you sometimes just need a modicum of imagination and a whole lot of belief to be an inventor!
The event was well attended and visitors were clearly satisfied with their day out in Gloucestershire’s Forest Showcase. And for those who may have previously had trouble interpreting Forest of Dean menus, such as, “Stinking Bishop & Pear Tart with Pinnacle Ale, Pulled Venison with a dark Over the Hill followed by Jolly Jester Beer Ice cream” it suddenly made a lot more sense after the show!
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