essex food fair

cressing temple barn

I’ve recently found a pocket of Essex-based foodies into which I have aggressively thrust myself, and being a persistent little oik has paid dividends. The wonderful EssexGourmet (@essexgourmet on Twitter) tweeted on Thursday that there was a food fair happening on Saturday in Braintree. After a moment’s thought LittleSpud and I decided to take a trip out into the heart of green Essex. And what a wonderful afternoon it was!

hog in a rollSituated in the Cressing Temple site, you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque and homely setting for a local event. There were plenty of stalls with a wide variety of craft and produce available. There were characterful jams and chutneys sold in attractive jute bags; pies of all distinction; cheeses of all provenance; meat and fish alive alive-o. The highlights for me were thankfully quite numerous. First to catch my eye was the hog-in-a-roll; the whole pig barbecued in the background while a genial chap shovels shredded pork into a floury bun and slides a wedge of stuffing in the side. Really meaty and the chew of crackling really makes a joyful crisp in the mouth. I also grinned at the scallops cooked to order with a pile of homemade pesto on the side. The smell was utterly intoxicating. Another fine memory was seeing a flourishing and nourishing Indian snack stall; after passing through rows of bangers and pies this feels incongruous, but how many of us don’t now consider Indian cuisine very much part of our own? Sharing a spicy samosa, my son and I certainly weren’t fussed about any feelings of whether it fitted or not.

double chocolate cupcake - with a strawberryI also sampled some turkey sausages which were absolutely out of this world, unfortunately I was very nearly broke by this point to investigate further! I was also happy to see a game stall; only that morning I’d seen a pigeon recipe and was tickled by the sight of pigeon burgers. I splurged on some venison steaks, a treat for some helpful in-laws. I am also a complete sucker for a gorgeous cupcake, moist of crumb and swirly of gritty buttercream. See this glorious example picture, which I had to sit down to savour.

My only slight criticisms were being a lack of a real direction so it was easy to miss some stands; also that there was not enough room to move around the main barn. Also quite puzzling was a distinct lack of beef – I found one beef farmer who was very knowledgeable and sold good stock, but his selection was small. Where are all the bovinophiles?

All quibbles aside, I will definitely be back next year – I will look for it in the calendar. It’s so nice to rub shoulders with the people who rear the produce, and hand-make everything. You can feel – and taste – the love.

(From this adventure, my purchases made pork belly confit and braised beef brisket. Ta!)

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6 thoughts on “essex food fair

  1. Essex Eating

    I was thinking of going to this, but sadly had other commitments on Saturday. Sounds fantastic though, and like yourself – it’ll be going in the calendar for next year.

    Reply
  2. EssexGourmet

    Tis the best food show in Essex, although sadly not publicised quite enough. The Summer show is tops. of course, I will keep you all posted of dates on Essex Gourmet ;)

    Reply
  3. Dan

    Another festival missed and in Essex too, shame for me but hoorah for you, sounds like you had good time. Can understand the issue of the old wallet taking a bashing though, I always get cleaned out at farmer’s markets. God knows how much money I’d spend at a festival!

    Reply
    1. roastpotato Post author

      I took £40, drove home with 80p :-( Worst part is, all the food has disappeared already. Am left with cracking memories of it all though.

      Reply
  4. Pingback: braised beef brisket « grubblog

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