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    Foodies Festival Birmingham 2016


    Planning an outdoor festival in Birmingham is pretty brave these days, particularly given the almost biblical floods we’ve been having.  But whoever organises the Foodies Festival managed to pick what might be the only sunny weekend we get this year to hold their second event in Cannon Hill Park, earlier in the month.

    This time round there felt like there were a lot more stalls, or maybe that’s just because I spent more time at them trying to hide from the sunshine like a vampire.  Like the previous festival, there were some local stalls dotted amongst the national offerings, plus a raft of Birmingham-based chefs doing demos at various stages dotted about.  I’d like to tell you I went to see some of them but they were pretty busy, although I did stop my the Appleton rum tasting, which was giving people the opportunity to try their signature blend as well as the 12 and 21 year old rums.


    Having drunk quite a lot of rum, and Appleton at that, it was nice to be reminded of the story of this Jamaican rum.  Appleton had a change up of their naming structure of their rums last year, which was a pretty sensible move as trying to explain Appleton Estate VX to people can’t have been fun; it’s now been more logically been renamed as Appleton Estate Signature Blend.  Me personally, I really like Appleton rum and in particular the Appleton 12 year old as it’s got a deeper flavour and I pick up notes of vanilla with a sort of oaky finish, which makes for a cracking rum Old Fashioned.


    I always like to see a local flavour at food festivals and there were some scattered throughout the Foodies Festival.  I stopped by Chaophraya, who have a restaurant in the Bullring, and tried some of their panang beef curry which really hit the spot in the summer sunshine.  I’ve been to a cooking class at Chaophraya and at some point I really do need to go back and check the place out properly.


    I know it’s really cliched but I had a total soft spot for macarons, and when I spotted Mademoiselle Macaron from Edinburgh I went over to check out the delicate little beauties.  They had a whole raft of flavours and I love a bit of a gimmick, so when I spotted several alcoholic macarons using drinks synonymous with Scotland I knew I had to pick up a few for later, namely Hendricks gin, Innis & Gun and Irn Bru flavours, along with a lavender one.  These were delightful, the flavour was delicate, something that’d ordinarily disappoint me, but with something like macarons they sort of have to.  I only wish they were a bit closed to Brum so I could go back for more!


    No idea what stall I spotted the above photo from, but it had a long queue, so clearly everyone was much more forgiving of their geographical illiteracy that I am.

    And to round off the day I headed over to the Appleton rum bus for a cocktail in the sunshine – or you know, desperately clinging to the shade which was more realistic in my case.  I went for the Tiki classic Mai Tai because it’s a tiki classic and the original creation was said to be developed by Trader Vic using Jamaican rum, so it would be rude not to.

    appleton_rum_bus Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary ticket to the Foodies Festival and some complimentary samples by some of the stalls, but some I bought my own. Also, was that weekend our only sun for the season, or should I buy some sunscreen?

    Events, News

    Local chefs at Foodies Festival Birmingham


    L-R – William Noblett (Ju Ju’s), Nathan Eades (Epi Restaurant), Glynn Purnell (Purnells), Matt Cheal (Simpsons), Ryan Swift (The Edgbaston) and Robert Grzesik (The Warehouse Cafe)

    I’ve blogged about it a few times, but wanted to remind people the Foodies Festival Birmingham is taking place this weekend at Cannon Hill Park. There’s a whole raft of top chefs who will be showcasing their wares, including lots of local ones…

    Glynn Purnell – Purnell’s
    Matt Cheal – Simpsons
    Aktar Islam – Lasan Group
    Nathan Eades – Epi Restaurant and St Andrews Hotel
    Ryan Swift – The Edgbaston
    Robert Grzesik – The Warehouse Cafe
    William Noblett – Ju Ju’s Cafe
    James Wong – Chung Ying
    Nick Turner – Hotel Du Vin
    Ping Coombes – 2014 MasterChef Winner
    Dhruv Baker – 2010 MasterChef Winner
    Jackie Kearney – The Hungry Gecko
    Katy B – ‘Little Miss Meat Free’ Great Vegan Bake Off Winner 2014
    Rachel Green – Top TV Chef

    Michelin-star chef Glynn Purnell, Matt Cheal of Simpons, Nathan Eades of Epi Restaurant & St Andrews Hotel, and Aktar Islam of Lasan Group will cook their favourite summer recipes at the Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre and share top tips for impressing family and friends with at home.

    Foodies Festival, the UK’s biggest celebration of food and drink, will be transforming Cannon Hill Park into a foodie heaven this with top chefs, new tasting theatres, pop-up restaurants, artisan producers and more street food than you can shake a satay stick at.

    For those who’d rather shake a cocktail stick, there’s also plenty of drink-related stuff planned too.  The Foodies’ 10th anniversary will be celebrated in the New Wine, Champagne and Craft Beer Theatre, where experts Laura Clay and Charles Metcalfe will guide visitors through this season’s best British bubblies from the UK and around the world, while beer expert Melissa Cole hosts masterclasses in the New Craft Beer Theatre, matching foods with locally produced alcoholic and non-alcoholic craft beers.

    There’s also ‘How to Sniff Chocolate like a Rockstar’ and Chocolate Safari masterclass with Coeur de Xocolat; local experts guide visitors through Urban Bee Keeping and Cheese Tasting; plus 3D cake modelling, Chocolate Making and Sugar-Craft masterclasses; and a few food competitions too.

    With a Street Food Avenue feasting hub offering a huge selection of dishes from around the world (including Japanese, Thai, Brazilian, Argentinean, Indian, Mexican, French and African), plus Artisan Producers Market and bars selling Giant Pimm’s Teapot or Captain Morgan Mojito Galleon there should be plenty to do!

    Tickets (ranging from £8 – £38) are on sale now at or by calling 0844 995 1111

    Competition, News

    Competition: Foodies Festival Birmingham, 15 – 17 May

    Chocolate TheatreRemember when I blogged about a three day food festival coming to Cannon Hill and I said I’d be running a competition soon? Well admittedly my use of the word soon has been a bit later than expected but I’m hoping to make it up to you with THREE pairs of day tickets up for grabs to the Foodies Festival Birmingham.

    For those that can’t be bothered to click the link to the previous post about it, the Foodies Festival Birmingham is a three day extravaganza taking place in Cannon Hill park from 15 – 17 May. There promises to be a whole load of food related fun, including live demos from some of Brum’s finest as well as some Masterchef types, street food, artisan markets, chilli eating challenge and a load of cake stuff.  It sounds pretty ace and I’m planning treating it like an actual festival minus the camping.

    Anyway, Lanyard Media are giving me the chance to give away some free tickets. There’s three pairs of day tickets up for grabs and you can enter in a bunch of ways, all described in this rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure: I’m running the competition because Lanyard Media agreed to let me give away three pairs of tickets. I accept no responsibility for anything because I just about cope looking after myself. More T&Cs on the rafflecopter.

    Events, News

    Foodies Festival rolls into Birmingham in May

    Chocolate TheatreMichelin starred chefs, tasting theatres, street food and artisan producers are all set to land in Cannon Hill Park in May for what promises to be a big slice of food heaven.

    The Foodies Festival, which was launched in 2005 in Scotland, is making its way to Birmingham on 15 – 17 May in Cannon Hill Park.  Birmingham chefs, including Glynn Purnell, Matt Cheal of Simpons, and Atkar Islam of Lasan Group will be at the Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre to cook up their favourite summer recipes and share top tips.  The Chefs Theatre will also play host to 2014 Masterchef winner Ping Coombes who will be cooking up her signature dishes.  Ping will be joined by MasterChef 2010 winner Dhruv Baker and finalist Jackie Kearney too.

    Local experts will also be on hand to guide visitors through raw food, Japanese soul, oyster shucking and bee keeping.  Vegan blogger Little Miss Meat Free will also be on hand to share her vegan recipes and help inspire visitors interested in animal-free food.

    E-Foodies-080613-0168Brummies can toast to the Foodies Festival’s tenth anniversary (and first in Birmingham) at the New Wine and Champagne Theatre with experts Neil Phillips and Charles Metcalfe, who will be guiding visitors through the best of British.  SommALEier / beer connoisseur Melissa Cole will also be on hand to give a food and beer pairing masterclass too.  There will be pop up bars and a cider farm to quench drinkers’ thirsts further.

    There’ll also be plenty of food on sale, including Japanese, Thai, Brazilian, Argentinean, Indian, Mexican, French and African all available on Street Food Avenue – and seating available in the Feasting Tent.  Those wanting to keep the foodie feast alive after the three day festival will be well catered for by the 200 exhibitors, including Biscuit Butter, Snowdonia Cheese, Tipsy Tarts, Fudge Heaven and Riverford Organics, in the Artisan Producers Market.

    Bakers will also be well served with a Cake and Bake Theatre with top local cake makers and bakeries sharing their tips, as well as masterclasses on 3D cake modelling, chocolate making and sugar-craft.  There will also be a Chocolate, Cake and Bake Village selling a range of baking essentials, including jams and gadgets.

    Young foodies will be catered for with Children’s Cookery Theatre where they can explore their taste buds and learn basic cooking skills.  And daredevils can take part in the chilli eating competition, to try and break the record of 14 different varieties of chillies eaten to win the Chilli Eating Crown.

    Tickets are available for the Foodies Festival in Birmingham from the their website, as one day or three day tickets, with some VIP packages available too.  There’s an early-bird two-for-one offer available, just quote FOODIES241.

    Look out for my competition to win tickets, coming soon!