Powderham Food Festival 6th October at the castle in Devon

The archivist in the music room at Powderham Castle ph. Matt Austin

I’m thrilled to be promoting the very first Powderham Food Festival, on 6th October 2012, (sponsored by Helpful Holidays). The event will celebrate West Country food producers in a spectacular location – Powderham Castle: a 600-year-old stately home, set amidst a beautiful deer park with breathtaking views across the Exe Estuary. The historic setting not only serves as a stunning background but will be at the heart of the festival, linking the food of the past with producers in the present. The festival will take place inside the majestic ground floor rooms and outer courtyard, with stalls, food demonstrations and tastings by artisan makers.

Some Highlights:

The Courtenay Family’s Golden Age – Food Accounts of the 1700’s by Powderham archivist Felicity Harper, the Powderham Castle archivist will discuss the Castle’s culinary stories such as the flamboyant third Viscount’s three day birthday party, supplied by “ten wagons of provision from London and supplemented by delicacies from Exeter and the adjacent towns” that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in 1790.  Investigations into kitchen purchase ledgers and account books (see a video of the book by pressing the blue words) have raised fascinating questions of diet and custom during the period, from why they bought such quantities of lemons to the unexpected popularity of estuary cockles? The records will be on display and Felicity Harper will discuss their contents and share her knowledge.  There will be a Q&A session after the talk and she will be available throughout the afternoon to chat to the public about life in the castle in the eighteenth century.

James Crowden – The Renaissance of Westcountry Cider

James Crowden is poet and renowned cider expect.  He is the author of Ciderland, which charts the development of cider making in the West Country, from the sixteenth century monks to the diverse industry of today. Crowden will discuss the beautiful and fragrant West Country orchards, describing how the best cider makers translate their passion into the process and treat each different batch of cider like winemakers would a vintage.

Shaun and his family took over the management of the Farm Shop at Powderham Castle eighteen months ago.   Ryder’s Homemade Bakery, is part of the shop, and he has campaigned for many years to make loaves without any additives or improvers.  Ryder bakes rustic loaves (the farmhouse cobs have no less than a 32-hour fermentation) which develop a wonderful crust and flavour.

Fishing in the Estuary at Powderham – Talk, demonstration and tastings

Clovelly fisherman, Dan Garnett unapologetically fanatical about fish and fishing, Dan conducts his own one-man crusade for the North Devon fishing industry. He’s committed to sourcing and selling the freshest local fish of the finest quality, straight off our local boats.  Dan will be demonstrating, creating a recipe and talking about Westcountry Seafood (Powderham had huge fish bills – crab, lobsters and cockles).

Wine in the Devon area from the Romans to today.

Pebblebed Vineyards have been proudly producing Devon wines, just south of Exeter, for the last ten years. The first commercial vintage of Pebblebed Rosé 2004 caused a stir when it was a surprise winner of a prestigious Gold Medal in the English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition, one of only a handful of Gold Medals presented.  They now also produce red, white and a particularly fine sparkling rosé.  They have just opened a new winery, run regular vineyard tours and do tastings with local tapas at their wine cellar bar in Topsham. His ‘Partner Vineyards’ scheme was on the BBC Dragons Den, successfully gaining the support of Duncan Bannatyne. Partners invest in the vineyard, join events and get their money back in wine (with their own label) over ten years. Geoff will be talking  about the history of winemaking in Devon

Gabrielle Jackson making Chocolate Teatime Goodies

Gabrielle is a cook, TV producer and winner of “Best Chocolate Cake in Britain”. She produced three series of “Rhodes Around Britain”, and has worked with Heston Blumenthal among many other noted chefs. She champions British food and will be bringing her historical knowledge and culinary expertise to provide a fantastic chocolate demonstation and tasting of teatime treats. She will be demonstrating with Midfield Granola

Shute Fruit talk on fruit vinegar and jams

Shute Fruit and Produce is an established family farm run by Lori Reich and David Lamboll. Lori’s award winning jams, jellies and pickles are based on our own grown produce which she makes in her farmhouse kitchen stirring up over twenty different delicious varieties of preserves using plenty of love, traditional recipes, family secrets and contemporary innovations. They also do pick-your-own at the farm see their website for what is in season http://www.shutefruit.co.uk/ Lori will talk and demonstrate the making of fruit vinegars and discuss their huge popularity in the past.

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