Building on the success of last year, Thame Food Festival yet again delivered on its promise this weekend (29th & 30th September) with a myriad of tantalising artisan producers, demonstrations galore, celebrity chefs and bakers, plus some wonderful new features.
Between 18-20k people flocked to enjoy the event and bask in the glorious autumnal sunshine! There was so much to see and do, including over 150 stalls in the extensive artisan food market and hot street food area with many delicious samplings and not to forget the vibrant pop-up pub, botanical gin garden and Prosecco bike by FestivAles.
Through-out the two days the headline sponsor – Magimix UK – showcased over 20 demonstrations on their dedicated stage including many of the country’s leading chefs and bakers such as patron Raymond Blanc OBE, Jane Devonshire (former winner of Masterchef) and Candice Brown (previous winner of Great British Bake Off) to name just a few. This was topped off by a myriad of yet more shows around the event including; Quality Standard Mark Beef and Lamb cookery demos by Stoke Park, expert tuition of Clementi Pizza Ovens by Bell Kitchens, edible gift demonstrations by WI Denham.
Adding to the ambience and festival atmosphere this year, there was also a live music stage The First Thursday Music Club, with a broad programme of artists. Plus another exciting new addition to the Thame Food Festival were the Humble Country marquee which was filled to the brim with kitchenalia and home delights to buy. There was also the Schwartz Sensorium, the Greenpeace dome plus a far more extensive range of children’s activities supporting local charities such as Thomley and Thame’s Lions and Rotary Clubs.
Again, the foodie mix also extended to our four legged friends with specialist dog treat stalls alongside demonstrations and fun Dog Shows by locally based, national charity the Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. Not to mention the celebration of the very young businesses that entered the inaugural Thame Food Festival Bursary for Local Artisan Producers, with many of the shortlisted joining the artisan market. The winner, Lisa Hartwright from Tess’ Brilliant Bakes, was announced by her mentors Chris Wheeler from Stoke Park and Adam Johnson from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saison on the main stage and received a Magimix Le Blender, plus £1,000 and a free place at the festival.
Lotte Duncan, Patron and organiser of the event says, “I am so proud of what Thame Food Festival has become. This year the team and I really wanted it to centre on celebrating artisan producers and showcase the diversity of wonderful foods that are produced in Britain, but to also add lots of new features, such as the children’s activities and live music to make it have even more of a festival feel. We wanted an event where people could come for so much longer, enjoy and experience so much more than they might have originally planned.”
Lotte continues, “Events like these require so much hard work, from so many people but when you see it all come together it is worth it. We are hoping as a Community Interest Company to be able to reinvest even more money back into the event and support more young local businesses like Tess’ Brilliant Bakes that won our very first bursary this year. So watch this space for next year!”