Mapledurham food fest – yes, I’d like more chillies with that

:The summer holiday is nearing an end, which also means we’re nearing the end of food festival season.

Last week I attended what I believe will probably be my last food fest of the year and I choose a festival that was aimed at all foodie fans. Mapledurham House is an Elizabethan stately home in a tiny rural village in Oxfordshire. There were a few issues finding the place, which is right in the middle of nowhere and not very well signposted. This resulted in a few U-turns but we got there in the end and it was a beautiful British summer day.

There was a huge variety of stands including beers, biltong, cheese, wines, biscuits, cakes, and of course, sauces. On the way in, we walked past a very smelly goat’s cheese stand which had a large selection of goat’s cheese in jars.  It was here that I heard someone say, “Goat’s cheese, it’s the devil’s work”. That’s a bit of a strong statement.

Moving on, I picked up a packet of barbecue biltong for my partner who’s a huge fan of this dried, cured meat snack. Biltong is the South African equivalent to jerky.

Now it was my turn to treat myself. There were three big food tents, which I went round multiple times so I didn’t miss anything. I needed a nice chilled drink and Pimento answered my prayers. The non-alcoholic chilli ginger beer is very refreshing, with a subtle hint of chilli. Even my mum, who usually steers clear of anything with spice, enjoyed it. I picked up four bottles but wish I’d picked up more. The heatwave this week quickly saw off all four bottles.

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The hottest food I found was on a deli stall selling jars of pickled foods. The chilli pickled gherkins nearly took my head off!

Lunch time! The choice was crispy duck, noodles, pasta, but I went for a chilli dog, with extra chilli.

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Yes, I’d like more chillies with that

My last purchase of the day was Crema Piccante Biologica – a spicy spread – from Italian producer La Vita Bio. A vibrant red-orange sauce with a strong Mediterranean flavour, packing lots of heat. This organic spread is made from 75% hot chillies, olive oil and salt. It can easily make the perfect dip or be added to pasta, which is a weekly staple in my household so I’m not sure how long the jar is going to last.

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