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Foodies Festival

    Pop-up and Event reviews, Reviews

    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?

    Round ups

    May round up

    Whoa, another one of these already? Life has been a bit manic as of late; I’m in the process of moving house so as well as being up to my eyeballs in paperwork, I’ve been dealing with trying to cram all my stuff into boxes.  It does mean the blog might be a bit quiet for the next few weeks, but I’ll be storing up plenty of posts, which I’ll publish when I can.

    Foodies Festival

    After announcing it ages ago, it was finally time for the Foodies Festival.  Just before the event kicked off, I published a post about some of the local chefs who would be gracing the stage over the three days. And then when it was in full swing I headed over to wander around, and blogged about my experience of the festival.


    This month seemed to mainly be about liquid news – with an English Wine Takeover at the Bond, plus a Licor 43 take over at Island Bar.  There was also a new general manager for Bar Opus and a packed post about a raft of new venues coming soon.


    I did manage to scribble up some reviews, in between packing.  As everyone well knows, I’m a big fan of burgers and I posted my thoughts on the third UK Burger Battle between Le Bun and Fat Hippo, plus another burger related post as I tried the Temper burger at the Lord Clifden.  I also wrote up some things about Bistro 1847’s kickstarter to bring its brand of veggie fine dining to Liverpool and a review of a couple of great Catalan wines.

    A look to June

    Usually this is when I waffle about some of the posts in the pipeline, but between packing, moving, unpacking and no internet for a few weeks at the new place I’m going to struggle to get much posted.  So whilst there will be posts they might be a little irregular and I don’t want to promise anything as everything is a bit chaotic at the moment.

    I’m always keen to hear from people about places I should check out, products to try and exciting food and drink related adventures.  So if you fancy emailing me, please do, my email address is hello @ fulltothebrum . co . uk or catch me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Pop-up and Event reviews, Reviews

    Foodies Festival Birmingham 2015 review


    Was there anyone that didn’t go to the Foodies Festival Birmingham over the weekend?  Maybe it says a lot about me, my friends and my social media timelines but it seemed like everyone was there!  It was great to see so many people enjoying it and posting photos of such foodie fun, so I thought I’d do a quick post on my experience.

    I headed down on Saturday, convinced it was going to be full of crowds.  But there was actually a pretty relaxed atmosphere with a mix of people sitting on the grass watching the live music, queuing for lunch or just checking out the stalls.  I felt like the space had been really well used and at no point did I feel crowded, which was nice given that it was glorious weather and the festival took place in Cannon Hill park.spiralizer_cuttings_foodies_festival_birmingham_2015

    After bumping into my friend Jo-ann and her mum, I headed off to the stalls to see what was about.  It was nice to see a mix of things from sauces, cordials, wine and coconut butter to oats, grow your own herbs and spiralizers.  I did spot a few local stallholders, including Pips Hot Sauce and Urban Herbs (who I bought some fantastic tree spinach from), but it seemed that most were from out of town.

    anderson_lock_stock_cheese_bacon_burger_foodies_festival_birmingham_2015Lunch wise, I’d spotted a few stalls which looked promising (including the superbly named Piggie Smalls).  But once I’d seen that the Birmingham-based Hamburgers by Anderson’s had a stall my mind was made up.  I think you’re all aware how seriously I take my burgers now, so I had high hopes and my Lock Stock burger was delicious.  Not the easiest thing to eat given the sudden breeze, but well worth it; the bacon was perfectly crisp, the sauce delightful and my only criticism is I’d have liked the bun to be warmed, but that’s coming from someone who is pretty picky about burgers these days.

    After my burger I went back to have a look at some other stalls, picked up some lovely porridge oat bars from Stoats, some chipotle and cola sauce/marinade and joined everyone else on the grass to listen to some live music.  All in all my experience at the Foodies Festival Birmingham was a pleasant afternoon, packed full of deliciousness…I’m looking forward to seeing if it returns next year.


    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

    Round ups

    April round up

    First things first; May the Fourth Be With You!  I know this isn’t a movie blog, but I hope my fellow cinephile foodie fans are having a fun on this auspicious day.  Anyway, enough about Star Wars, this is a quick round up of April which will be quick because I had a pretty horrid case of insomnia over most of April, which made it a bit difficult to find the focus and time to write.  On a plus side it means that I’ve now got a really nice backlog of posts that, if I can get written up, should provide for a fun May (possibly less references to Star Wars though).

    NJAFB award logoNews

    Well, it felt like there were two big news stories this month.  The first being that the people at Hungry House awarded me one of their Not Just Another Food Blogger Awards, which I’m really quite chuffed about.  As I mentioned, it’s been a bit of a rough month and it always makes me smile when people interact with the blog, whether it’s tweeting for recommendations, sharing news or giving me an award.

    The other news is that I ran a competition for the Foodies Festival which takes place this month.  It’s my first big competition and there were a lot more entries than I expected, which was really lovely to see.  The competition ended today and I’ve just emailed the winners, so congrats Anthony, Denise and Claire!

    Talking of winning tickets, I also blogged about a chance to win tickets to Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen.  And there’s also the news that the Gin Festival is back at the Bond in Digbeth…but you’ll have to buy your own tickets to that!

    Food Glorious Food5 pork belly

    Whilst I spent a lot of the month struggling with sleep, I did get a couple of reviews written up.  The first was from my trip to Big Papas Beautiful South street food who’ve taken over the kitchen at the newly refurbished Sunflower Lounge.  The second was a return to one of my favourite pop-ups, Two Cats Roaming Kitchen…but they won’t be roaming for long, which I’m so very pleased to hear.

    My day job involves lots of events stuff and having used The Studio on Cannon St for a few events I was chuffed to be invited to their Spring/Summer menu tasting…only to return a couple of weeks later to see it in action.

    Give Me the Hard Stuff…or don’t

    Pancakes bacon and poached eggs on rosti copyBut it wasn’t food this month.  I also blogged about some non-alcoholic wine which I took along to a family BBQ…the review was really more my mum’s doing because she drank the bottle (but in all fairness I had a glass and it meant I also got a lift home). 

    Talking of drinks and food, I wandered along to The Victoria’s inaugural Sunday Brunch which for Easter had a whisky-infused element to it.

    What’s coming up in May

    Frankly there’s a massive back log of posts that I need to write and if I start listing them here I’m going to cry.  But some of the ones I need to tell you about involve unleashing my inner tea fiend, drinking whisky in the top of the Rotunda, hip hop and burgers, eating ants and a few afternoon teas too.

    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!