One Week and Counting…

With just under eight days to go until the Stratford Food Festival, it’s time for a roundup of what festivalgoers can expect at Stratford’s biggest and best foodie event.

The countdown has begun! (Image courtesy of

Yesterday saw the last of 1000 goodie bags kindly provided by Stratford Waitrose filled and packed by the Festival team, ready to be given out to the first 500 visitors to arrive at each day of the event. The gates will open at 10am, so make sure you get to the Racecourse venue early!

Over 120 exhibitors are now confirmed to attend, and our policy of limiting the number of similar products guarantees variety across all the outside spaces and indoor exhibition tents. A feature of this year’s Festival is a focus on local produce, so make sure to check out Exhibition Tent B, exclusively for exhibitors from the Stratford and Warwickshire area. Exhibition Tents A and C also contain a wealth of great produce, with many exhibitors from the midlands and more far-flung parts of the UK showcasing their wares for you to taste and buy. We’ll also have over 50 exhibitors setting up their own outside stands, selling everything from hot mains and desserts to strawberries, vodka, oysters, milkshakes and kitchen equipment.

Variety is the spice of life, so we’ve kept it varied! (Image courtesy of

On the food entertainment side there are two demonstration areas and an interactive workshop space. The Cookery Theatre promises demos from top local and national chefs, including Michelin-standard dishes, recipes inspired by Shakespeare, sourdough baking, Indian cookery, and our headline acts Paul Hollywood and Sophie Michell. Our Talk & Taste theatre includes butchery, wine tasting, cheesemaking, baking, healthy eating, cupcake-decorating, and British puddings, with many samples for your to try! For those wanting a more hands-on experience, the Interactive Workshop area can be found next to Exhibition Tent A, and includes Indian cookery, artisan baking, and beer tasting: numbers are strictly limited and some workshops have an additional charge.

To ensure a festival atmosphere throughout the weekend, the live music stage will be running all day with a selection of popular local bands as well as fantastic up-and-coming talent. Like our exhibitors, we’ve kept the music varied, so expect everything from covers of classic folk, pop and blues rock tracks to acoustic originals. You can find the music stage next to the Real Ale Bar and The One Elm hexagonal site: it’s the perfect place to sit down and soak up the atmosphere whilst tucking in to some delicious food and drink!

Burning Guitar Wallpaper

If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the music stage… (Image courtesy of

Our prime site exhibitors this year are The One Elm pub and Havilands Vintage Café, both based in Stratford. The One Elm have a hexagonal tent behind Exhibition Tent C near the music stage, and will be offering a full bar (including Aspalls cyder) and a BBQ with succulent burgers supplied by award-winning butchers Aubrey Allen of Leamington Spa. Havilands will be laying on the full afternoon tea experience at the Festival, with a large permanent structure next to the Cookery Theatre: think vintage cream teas, hot and cold drinks, cakes, scones, teacakes and quiches! New for 2013 is a local Real Ale Bar, showcasing three fantastic producers based in Warwickshire: North Cotswold Brewery, Church Farm Brewery, and The Old Pie Factory Brewery. Find the Real Ale Bar in between the Cookery Theatre and the Music Stage.

Bringing the kids? No problem! We’ve got some great entertainment for them too! PG Leisure are providing a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, land train, bouncy castle and inflatable slide to get rid of that excess energy; Halona Horses are offering pony rides: fitting given the Racecourse location; and Midland Adventure are offering target shooting for older children. Don’t forget, under-16s can get into the Festival for FREE with an accompanying adult!

Being a kid is great, and even greater at the Stratford Food Festival! (Image courtesy of

The Pudding Club and the Eighth Wonder of the World

When The Pudding Club was founded in 1985, its mission was to prevent the demise of the Eighth Wonder of the World: the great British Pudding. The mid-80s was a time when “nouveau” and “haute” cuisine was all the rage, and as a result restaurants seemed to offer only tiny portions of Frozen Cheesecake and tasteless Gateaux. Still based at the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton, near Stratford Upon Avon, the Pudding Club and its supporters can now claim that their efforts have re-established such delights as Jam Roly Poly, Syrup Sponge, Spotted Dick and Bread and Butter pudding as favourites throughout the country – and beyond.


An Endangered Species…

The first meeting in Winter 1985 saw 30 attendees enjoy a light main course (with no starter or bread on the side), followed by a parade of 7 classic British puddings to rapturous applause. Two hours later the pudding of the night was chosen, and a unanimous decision taken to hold meetings once a month in Winter using the same format. By 1988 there were two meetings each month during the colder months, and in 1996 The Summer Pudding Club took hold, with 3 hot and 4 cold puddings.

New York, New York! Taking the best of British to foreign shores. (Image courtesy of

Since then The Pudding Club has held gatherings in places as far flung as Tokyo and New York, launched its own range of puddings through Waitrose, created seven pudding-themed rooms at the Three Ways House Hotel, and been featured on numerous cookery programmes as well as the BBC’s Countryfile and The One Show.

The Three Ways House Hotel: guardians of the British pudding. (Image courtesy of

The Pudding Club now holds weekly meetings, still at The Three Ways House, and are open to anyone (book in advance to avoid disappointment!), with the seven-pudding parade and, of course, lashings of custard! Favourites such as sticky toffee and date feature regularly, as well as the more unusual Sussex Pond and Lord Randall’s Pudding, and you can have as many as you want! During the post-feast tea and coffee, you may also cast your vote for pudding of the night.


Come to the Festival’s Talk & Taste Theatre on Saturday at noon for a talk and tasting session of the famous Pudding Club puddings!

For more information on The Pudding Club, click here.

Ugg Foods: Eating as Nature Intended

Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, no added sugar, reduced glycaemic, reduced carbs, soya free and additive free. This list, applicable to all Ugg Foods products, at first seems like an impossible combination. Why should the average consumer take an interest?

Dr Kim Lloyd, former dental surgeon and founder of Ugg, explains:

‘After attending several medical conferences, I changed my way of eating. My skin and general well-being improved and I was hooked for life. It inspired me to develop Ugg recipes.’

Dr Kim Lloyd: dentist-turned-dietitian 

She continues:

‘The Ugg project was never heavily focussed on profit, Ugg is about sharing knowledge, making healthy eating more accessible and we hope our customers share their ideas and recipes with us. Ugg want to create a portal for information, discussion and the sharing of ideas for a common desire to help us all to a healthier future.’

The mission of Ugg foods is not to starve the human body of vital nutrients like the fad diets we read about in the gossip columns, but rather to cut out harmful ingredients present in everyday foods that the human body is not actually evolved to process. The central philosophy of Ugg Foods centres upon the concept of the “Paleo” diet, namely conformity with the way homo-sapiens adapted to survive in a natural environment with a hunter/gather type diet. This doesn’t mean Ugg Foods advocates seeking out the nearest woolly mammoth for a light snack, or donning your tiger skin loincloth for a night of hunting and gathering, but rather paying attention to what your body actually needs on a nutritional level.

Not practical? How about a tasty Ugg snack instead? (Image courtesy of

Parts of our modern diet that we consider normal – healthy, even – have only been included since our ancestors ceased their nomadic lifestyle, but our bodies still work best when given the fuel we actually evolved to process. As an example, food sources such as grains or cereals give sugar rushes, are micronutrient poor, are not alkalizing, feed overgrowth of dental caries-causing bacteria, and contain antinutrients (plant poisons) which steadily undermine health. Similarly, when it comes to dairy products, the milk of a species is designed for the new-born of that species. In humans, the need for the ingredients in human milk – and the ability to digest and metabolise them – disappears by about four years old. After that, they become allergenic, inflammatory and heart hostile.

Are you a baby? Or a cow? Maybe you don’t need so much dairy… (image courtesy of

But Ugg Foods isn’t just about cutting out the less healthy parts of the modern diet, it also adds back in elements such as omega-3 and fibre that have always been vital to human health but are nowadays notably deficient in most people’s food intake.

Geoff Bond, the Scientific Director of Ugg Foods, will explain the Paleo Diet in greater detail at the Food Festival, and why it’s so important that we don’t ignore the way our bodies are designed. Importantly for Geoff, Ugg Foods mean that eating properly is no longer difficult:

UGG Geoff Bond1Geoff Bond: knows his stuff.

‘…we now have a fast, simple and fun way to access the benefits of returning to our ancestral, naturally adapted feeding patterns. Patterns that I have espoused for decades are now in easy reach of everyone.’

As a bonus, 20% of all Ugg net profits are donated to charities.

Geoff Bond will be giving two talks in the Talk & Taste Theatre: Saturday at 3pm, and Sunday at 10am.

Ugg Foods are also exhibiting at the Festival with a selection of their products, in Exhibition Tent A.

For more information on Ugg Foods and the Paleo Diet in the meantime, visit


Solihull based Indian cookery expert to feature at Stratford Food Festival


Moushumi Moran, a Solihull based Indian cookery expert is to demonstrate her skills in the cookery theatre at the Stratford Food Festival, one of the regions fastest growing food events.

The lively and entrepreneurial ex-accountant has already created a successful business called Cardamom Pod ( , which organises Indian cuisine cooking parties in Solihull homes.

“It is like the popular TV cooking shows except that I do it for groups of five people or more in their own houses and they all get to learn and participate in the cooking first hand. The real bonus is that the people who attend have the opportunity to eat they food they make in a convivial dinner party atmosphere and have a great “night in”, said Moushumi.

She has seen a huge interest in Indian cooking generally and of course Birmingham is famous for its Indian restaurants.

“But there is nothing quite like being shown how to cook and use the spices by someone who has grown up with the cuisine and is prepared to share their personal experience of the food,” she said.

The Cardamom Pod recipes are based on authentic Bengali cooking done in a traditional simple way with no artificial ingredients.

Moushumi brings all the ingredients, spices and recipes with her to the organiser’s home and for the cost of a meal out everyone learns how to cook the dishes for the evening while possibly also enjoying a glass of wine. A typical dinner party could include dahl tempered with garam masala, paneer butter masala, mixed vegetable karahi, tandoori chicken, rice, onion bhajis and raita. It is also a great activity for special celebrations such as birthdays or hen weekends. Typically at these events you can learn how to cook Indian canapés (samosas, chicken momos, tandoori prawns, chilli, coriander and mint chutney and fabulous naan bread.

If you want to see Moushumi she will be demonstrating her skills at the Stratford Food Festival Food theatre on the 14th and 15th of September 2013, between 10am-11am on Saturday 14th October. Also book into her Interactive Workshop where you will get to experience close-up the culinary delights of Indian cookery. The venue for the Festival this year is Stratford racecourse.  Tickets are available for purchase online via the website, Interactive Workshop can also be booked into here. Anyone wanting to keep up with the latest food festival news can follow @foodfest2013 on twitter or like ‘stratfordfoodfestival’ on Facebook.

Coventry based I Love Crêpes to tantalise taste buds at Stratford Food Festival

Coventry based, ‘I Love Crêpes , a family run business created by Martyn and Amanda Ladkin two years ago is another mouth-watering reason to visit one of the region’s fastest growing food events, the Stratford Food Festival on the 14 and 15th of September.

The inspiration behind I Love Crêpes came during the couple’s adventures travelling. Amanda and Martyn fell in love with the sweet crêpes in Malta and Venice and the business idea grew from there. These two chefs then mastered the craft of crêpe making and plan to grow from their midlands base with their range of delicious flavours and transportable crêpe making equipment. Martyn and Amanda’s range of flavours can certainly tantalise a variety of sweet or savoury taste buds. Maltesers or Nutella are chocoholic favourites, while lemon and sugar is a refreshing classic. Some of I Love Crêpes other innovative sweet flavours are apple and cinnamon or mango and cream. Amanda and Martyn also specialise in savoury pancakes known as Galettes which include flavours such as Cajun chicken or ham and Emmental cheese.  

Starting with small car boot sales, Martyn and Amanda have built up to the larger events, first with agricultural shows and now for the first time, the regional Stratford Food Festival. Martyn said: “the Stratford festival is to be the highlight of the year”. They are hoping to interact with food enthusiasts from all over the country at the Festival and make the business more known to the wider midlands regional audience.

The Stratford Food Festival is being held at Stratford racecourse which has excellent parking facilities and there is also a free shuttle bus to the town centre.  Tickets are available now to purchase online via the website and a discount is available for early booking. Anyone wanting to keep up with the latest food festival news can follow @foodfest2013 on twitter or like ‘stratfordfoodfestival’ on Facebook.

For more information please contact Selwyn Rowley on 01926 611700 or email

From Science to Cookery: Anita Sharma-James, PhD

Win a signed cookbook from Anita Sharma-James! Read closely to find the answer to the following question:

Anita’s book ‘A life of Spice’ is like having a *what* in your own kitchen?

Details on how to enter can be found at the bottom of this post…


Forget molecular gastronomy, Indian chef and author Anita Sharm-James really does have a PhD!

We spoke to Anita about her move from the laboratory to the kitchen, and what visitors can expect from her Interactive Workshops and Talk & Taste Theatre sessions at this year’s Food Festival.


What made you want to leave your old job as a research scientist in 2002 and start up your own cookery business in 2007?

I enjoyed almost ten years of working within a University setting as a medical research scientist, helping students and conducting medical research but my passion and outlet for creativity has always been food. I was born in India in 1966, and grew up in Britain immersed in Indian food and culture as well being very much part of the British way of life. 

After my daughter was born in 2002 I decided to turn that passion together with my medical and health knowledge, into a unique kind of cookery school. My aim was to provide  positive Indian food and cultural experiences in a relaxed, creative atmosphere.

 What can visitors expect from you at this year’s Food Festival?

I believe that powerful new food experiences can be life changing and send you on an amazing journey of discovery.With this in mind I’ll be demonstrating the incredible art of blending spices from scratch and turning them into fabulous aromatic curries. Foodies coming to my events can expect valuable insights into both the art (Indian culture, authentic recipes and techniques) and science (health benefits of food, herbs and spices) of Indian food. 


 What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Food Festival? 

Food is about constantly reconnecting ourselves with each other and the local growing landscape. The festival will enable us to celebrate a shared local food experience and to express that creative sense of community and caring. I can’t wait to sample the amazing new ranges from local producers and retailers and share ideas with fellow chefs.

 Are you bringing any surprises that’s visitors should look out for? 

I’ll be sharing lots of Indian family secrets from my new recipe book ‘A Life of Spice’ and offering completely unique approach to Indian food which not only tastes heavenly but is like having a pharmacy in your own kitchen !




Competition entry details:

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Anita Sharma-James’ book, ‘A Life of Spice’, answer the question correctly by….

TWITTER – Posting it in a tweet, tagging @foodfest2013


FACEBOOK – Sharing the Stratford Food Festival competition post and page with your friends. Please use the ‘share’ button above the post, otherwise we can’t see whether you’ve done it or not!


Not on Social Media, that’s fine. Send your answer to to be in with a chance of winning.


A Day at the Races: the Festival Preview

Thursday 1st August saw the Stratford Racecourse playing host to the Festival preview event for the press and some of our exhibitors. A few members of the public also managed to get a sneaky look at what we’ve got in store for September!

The chilli-mad Capsaicinoia brought along samples of their pepper-themed merchandise, which we suspect may have contributed to the 30+ degree heat down at the Racecourse! At the other end of the thermometer the team from Joe Delucci’s gave out samples of their delicious (and deliciously ice-cold) Italian gelato.

Grants Bakeries brought a huge range of their artisan breads, fresh from the oven and fresh from their success as the Pride of Stratford Awards Small Business of the Year 2013, and Croome Cuisine somehow managed to keep their selection of cheeses from melting long enough to allow everyone to sample four of their varieties.

Cleverpop sweets gave out some of their innovative sugar-free all-natural lollipops, with each containing 100% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C in a tasty and tooth-friendly disguise, and Queen’s Park Preserves kept up the fruity theme with a selection of fabulous jams, preserves and chutneys.

Costco Wholesale displayed samples of their great value product offers, as well as providing info on membership, and the Food Education Trust, promoting healthy home-cooked food, showcased What’s For Dinner: Second Helpings, the only cookbook for sale in the UK where all proceeds go directly to charity.

One of the Festival’s charitable partners, Sense, were also on hand to discuss the fantastic work they do to assist deafblind people, and explain the Tastes Sensational initiative. Two of our Festival chefs, Anita Sharma-James (The Spice Trade) and Seren Evans-Charrington (Bubbling Stove Historical Recipes) also came to check out the venue and to meet with the Festival organisers from Showplace Events.

The preview showed how well the Stratford Racecourse works as a venue for large events, easily coping with the large numbers of people who flocked to race-day last Thursday. Feedback from exhibitors about the location was overwhelmingly positive, especially about the easy access avoiding the busy town-centre traffic and parking restrictions. The Festival takes place on 14th and 15th September, and there will be unlimited free parking for all visitors. A free shuttle will also be running between Rother Street in the town centre and the Racecourse.


Capsaicinoia | Joe Delucci’s | Grants Bakeries | Croome Cuisine | Cleverpop | Queens Park Preserves | Costco | Food Education Trust | Sense | Anita Sharma-James | Seren Evans-Charrington

Aubrey Allen, butchers to Her Majesty

Aubrey Allen are one of the Festival Exhibitors for 2013. With another member of the royal household just-arrived, we though it fitting to catch up with the butchers who supply meat products to The Queen…

When did Aubrey Allen first start trading, and how has it grown since then?

We started trading in 1933 from a small shop in Coventry, supplying local households.  We then established a wholesale business and supply many of the Michelin-starred chefs in the UK, in addition to leading restaurants and hotels holding AA rosettes, as well as numerous independently run pubs.

Is it still a family business?

Yes very much so, with Aubrey’s grandson Russell at the helm.  His sisters, Debbie and Lucianne, also work here and their father Peter is chairman.

How does this make you stand out from other meat suppliers?

As an award-winning, independent family business operating from its headquarters and state-of-the-art butchery facility in Coventry, we have developed a nationwide reputation as the Chef’s Butcher.  Our reputation has been based on exceptional customer service and great quality produce.  It is the ultimate honour to be awarded a Royal Warrant and represents the most prestigious stamp of quality and reliability. 

What will Aubrey Allen be offering to festivalgoers this year?

We’ll be offering a small selection of products from our shop in Leamington Spa including sausages, steaks and our infamous pork pies.  We have a vast range of products in the shop but unfortunately can only bring a small number of them with us.

 Aubrey Allen have a royal warrant of appointment as butchers to the Queen: what is Her Majesty’s favourite product? 

Unfortunately we’re sworn to secrecy!

 Where can customers get hold of your award-winning produce apart from the Stratford Food Festival?

 If you are local you can purchase it at our shop at 108 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa or if you live further afield then use our online service at

Local band to play closing set at the Festival

Local supergroup Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast are scheduled to close the Stratford Food Festival 2013. We asked them a few questions about music, food, and why Alfonzo chose pancakes for breakfast…


For those who don’t know, who are APB?

APB are a 5 piece covers band from Stratford. Formed from the ashes of local funksters Mister Meaker, APB play a wide ranging set from The Beatles to Bob Marley, The Doors to Little Feat. Playing songs that you know but that haven’t been done to death by ‘every other’ cover band. The band consists of Drew Nicholls (vocals), Elliot Rooney (keyboards), Jono Wright (guitar), Steve Peters (drums) and Tony English (bass).  Jono, Steve and Tony have been playing together since 2001.


Where did the inspiration for the name come from?

The band take their name from the Frank Zappa song ‘St Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast’. Jono, Steve and Tony are big fans of Zappa and wanted to choose something a bit quirky. It could have been a lot worse!

 How long have you been performing, and what’s been your favourite gig so far?

APB have been together since 2010 and have been playing gigs up and down the country ever since. Stratford River Festival in 2011 was a real highlight for us but our favourite gig so far has to be our ‘All Day Breakfast’ where we played 32 gigs in 12 hours in aid of the Shakespeare Hospice.


What is your favourite track to play, and why?

I think we enjoy playing all of the songs which is why it is great to be in APB.  That said Call Me Al and Master Blaster are pretty close.

 Do any of the band members have secret culinary talents?

We are all pretty handy in the kitchen. Drew is pretty good at bunging shrimps on the BBQ, Steve is a dab hand with anything that doesn’t involve nuts, Elliot can recite most takeaway menus from memory and Jono was once a griddle chef at the Encore. Tony, is however a different standard. He likes nothing more than eating sandwiches filled with curried mackerel and squid in ink!

 If APB was a food or a dish, what would it be (excluding a pancake breakfast…)?

A five course feast of contrasting flavours that when eaten together will blow your mind!


Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast will be performing on Sunday 15th September between 3.30 and 5pm on the Performance Stage at the Stratford Food Festival.



CONTACT | 07887647960


Ettington Park country house hotel sponsors the Stratford Food Festival


Ettington Park Hotel, a leading Warwickshire country house hotel set in 40 acres of parkland, is a sponsoring partner for the Stratford Food Festival on the 14th and 15th September, 2013.

“As a top country house hotel near to Stratford with a commitment to excellent food we are delighted to be associated with an event which attracts thousands of visitors to the area and continues to increase in popularity every year, “says Sales Manager at Ettington Park Hotel.

The Stratford Food Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever this year with over 100 food and drink exhibitors there will be something to suit everyone’s taste buds. Headline act for Sunday of the event is Paul Hollywood from BBC’s The Great British Bake-off. The event will be held at its new bigger location, the Stratford Race Course. Children under 16 go free and tickets will be available from the website at the end of May. Free visitor car parking and a free shuttle bus service from Stratford town centre and back will be available festival goers. For all the latest updates and to purchase tickets visit .

Further sponsorship opportunities are available with the opportunity to reach an anticipated 20,000 visitors in a lively family friendly environment.


For more information contact: Selwyn Rowley at LMMC on 01926 611700 or email