EXCLUSIVE – This a very busy period for British gastronomes. Yesterday, after four days of workshops, a cooking school and demonstrations (starring chefs of the caliber of Jun Tanaka from Pearl and Raymond Blanc from Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons), the doors finally closed on the Real Food Festival at Earls Court in London.
Food lovers converged en masse to enjoy the local and sustainable foods and drinks showcased by 500 UK and international small-scale artisan producers, who offered tastings and information to all.
Speaking exclusively to Slow Food, Matthew Fort, the distinguished British food writer, said ‘The fair was pretty impressive, a really good range of produce and producers, well laid out with a very good atmosphere’. He also praised the organization of the event, highlighting imaginative touches such as the presence of live pigs, sheeps and … sawdust.
The director of the Real Food Festival, Philip Lowery, revealed himself to be a friend of Slow Food in an interview with The Guardian last week, when he mentioned how his ‘absolute favorite table’ is the Osteria Boccondivino in Bra.
As one set of doors close, another opens next week in Gateshead and Newcastle, where Eat!NewcastleGateshead, a project of NewcastleGateshead Initiative under the direction of Simon Preston, will host its own food festival across 16 days from May 8, with a diverse range of over 30 events covering food in the broadest sense: from production to retail, from service to nutrition, from conviviality to seasonality and from environment to careers and beyond.
Special features will be a ‘secret restaurant’, which will operate for only five days,
the Dans le Noir restaurant, in which diners will eat in complete darkness, a ‘10 Things to Eat Before They Die’ gala dinner dedicated to food products in danger of extinction and a special Fairtrade Weekend with street parties.