The sixth annual Fylde Coast Food and Drink Festival was a foodie’s cornucopia of quality and often local produce. Held in Fleetwood’s splendid Marine Hall and indeed in its grounds, the event showcased quality food and drink from across our region. With mass produced food dominating the market, designed for profit not nutrition and taste, it’s well worth getting behind these dedicated local food entrepreneurs. As a jam fan, Hannah’s Country Kitchen’s to the left were well nice with two jars purchased.
The Thornton Cleveleys Brass Band played in the background and really sounded good, adding atmosphere. A number of community information stalls were present, including advice on healthy eating, which wasn’t saying that healthy means tasteless. It was also good to see the RSPB; balance your food intake with some birdwatching trips or conservation tasks. Of course in that location, there’s a wealth of birdlife to spot literally outside the back door.
There really was food for all with a wide variety of vegan, dairy free and gluten free comestibles. The samples from Our Paula’s here were very intense in taste; certainly no stinting on the garlic and I’d put that pate against any meat. Stall holders were handing out copious free samples but I noticed were quickly recouping this in purchases. We certainly came back with our shopping bags bursting. There was also vegan sushi, which my son took to big time. This looked convincing, but I always thought that raw fish rather defined sushi: what do I know?
What else do I like? Oh yes, cheese! Plenty of cheese stalls, sometimes alongside more preserves for cheese and pickle. Some of the varieties were simply mind blowing, although for a tee totaller, also sometimes rather alcoholic. There seemed to be no French cheeses, which would breach the local produce theme, but let’s face it are awfully nice. It did all seem a bit cheddar and wensleydale. These waxed rounds seemed to be very popular; perhaps that format helps the cheese stay fresh in the festival format. I return with Abbot’s Choice, a mature cheddar, but I could have bought many more.
At the other end of the nutritional scale, a plethora of lovely sweet things were on offer. Coco Baroque here seemed to have work shopped out every possible combination of every variety of chocolate, with all other foodstuffs available, to come up with the mind blowing range, part of which you see to the left.
For a relative break from chocolate, time to check out Johnson’s Toffee, mainly offering pick and mix fudge and spoiling everyone for choice with a range shown partly to the right. There were also biscuits, cakes and breads. I have Chorley cakes; I thought that it had been forgotten what these are. My wife has shortbread, my son has a jelly bean chocolate lollipop and we all suddenly have weight gain problems.
With the stalls overflowing splendidly into the Marine Hall’s grounds, it was possible for the 6th annual Fylde Coast Food and Drink Festival to accommodate a gorgeous array of street food vendors, filling the air with a rich range of cooking aromas. I went for Greek with a generous ‘Halloumi Chips’ served in a cone of bread with salad, tsatsiki and balsamic vinegar. My wife went for wood grilled pizza. There was a healthy queue at the Thai stall. Food really does taste so much better in the open air, even if it begins to drizzle a bit. Watching it be cooked for you makes this even better.
And what of the booze: lovely, lovely booze – even though I’m not having any! Gin and flavoured vodka appear to be in. My wife was looking for a nice whiskey but no luck, but there was wine, lots of wine. As well as the stalls inside, there were effectively mini-pubs on wheels outside.
All in all an excellent way for a food fan like me to spend a birthday with my family, returning with a few treats for the fridge and the cupboards (well quite a few actually). The 7th annual Fylde Coast Food and Drink Festival event is a must for next year for me. It goes without saying (for a food festival) that there is catering and drinks on site. For non-locals, the Marine Hall is easily accessible from the trams and buses at Fleetwood Ferry and it’s a pleasant walk between the two; you might need this to drop a few calories. So many stalls, so much gorgeous tasty stuff; oops, run out of money!
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