First Winchester Food Festival a Tasty Success

First Winchester Food Festival a Tasty Success

The first Winchester Food Festival, organised by Hampshire Fare with support from Winchester BID and Winchester Cathedral, is being hailed as a great success. 

The Festival was held on Sunday, 9th July in Winchester Cathedral’s Outer Close. Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager, Hampshire Fare, commented: “It was great for Hampshire Fare to be responsible for the first local-led Winchester Food Festival. I was thrilled to see how many people attended; it was a really positive day all round with many lovely comments from visitors, and producers asking if we can do it all again next week!

“I have wanted to hold a Winchester Food Festival in the setting of Winchester Cathedral for years - so this was a dream come true! This event was all about community and local, with generous sponsorship from several local businesses and organisations enabling us to roll out the Festival as a free event.

"I would like to thank everyone who helped to make Winchester Food Festival happen: our volunteers; our producers; our chefs, who were truly amazing; and our supporters - NFU Mutual Winchester and Wickham, Shorewood Homes, Quob Park Free Range & Organic, Winchester Bakery, Winchester BID and Winchester Cathedral.”

The artisan market was popular with people buying produce, such as charcuterie, cheese, chutneys, olives, pâtés, savoury tarts, fudge, pastries, shortbread, juice and alcohol-free cocktails for a picnic on the grass. Indeed, some producers nearly ran out. Richard Butler of Butler Country Estates said: “It is the best event we have attended this year as it has been a destination for people.”

The chefs’ kitchen was exceptional, and featured top local chefs including Damian Brown from Chesil Rectory, Lenny Carr-Roberts of Shoal, The Fox and The Bugle, who had appeared on James Martin’s Saturday Morning TV show the previous day, and Paul Onami with Miff Kayum of Kyoto Kitchen, creators of the Winchester Roll – sushi using locally grown wasabi.

Tracy Nash added: “The Chefs’ Kitchen was terrific with a dish for every season including one using the last of the season’s asparagus from Lenny, another featuring local ChalkStream trout with a summer slaw from Damian, comfort food for autumn from Munch, and Bere Mill pasture-raised beef Japanese-style by Paul.”

The chefs passed on their personal stories as well as sharing kitchen secrets including how to cook fish perfectly, how to intensify flavours in sauces, and how to marinade rice for sushi.

The Festival was officially opened and blessed by The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester. Sarah Kennedy of Lusso Leaf gave a talk about fresh local microgreens and herbs, while nutritionist Mary Needham of social enterprise Munch, in collaboration with the Festival’s charity partner, The Winchester Beacon, gave lots of money-saving cookery tips. A feature of the event was to give something back to The Winchester Beacon’s volunteers who prepare meals for the charity’s residents. They were invited to a Chefs’ Table where they ate the dishes being prepared during the chefs’ demos. The volunteers agreed that it was a special experience and the dishes were “off the scale of gorgeousness”.

Simon Machola, Director, Shorewood Homes, one of the Festival’s sponsors, added: "As a Winchester-based business, the local community is important to us, so we were delighted to support and attend the first Winchester Food Festival, which was a fantastic gastronomic event."

Tracy Nash concluded, “Winchester Food Festival was run as part of this year’s Hampshire Food Festival. The aim was to hold the city’s first truly local and totally free Festival. We are already looking forward to next year’s, and hopefully the weather will be as kind!”

Picture credit: The Electric Eye Photography