Stowmarket Food & Drink Festival

So July started with a brand new event – the first ever food & drink festival in Stowmarket.  Not the first place you think of as a hub of culinary delights, perhaps, but it absolutely has the makings of a great event.

Despite being about a billion degrees in the shade, the people of Suffolk turned out in force.  It was actually quite moving to see so many there supporting a little, unknown event.  The sky was blue and the Union Jacks were fluttering in the slight breeze as the Stowmarket Concert Band belted out some cracking tunes.  Fantastic idea booking them, whoever came up with that idea.  It set the tone perfectly (no pun intended).

And, yes, there was food,  Food to scoff straightaway, food to take away.  My favourite was the dinkiest little prosecco van I’ve ever seen.  If, like me, you’d never tried a Pimmsecco then you’ve been missing out.  Hic.  We all need prosecco on tap, right?  A similar set-up selling craft beer or cider would have been good though.

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The street food was varied with something for everyone – pizza, Cypriot souvlaki made with local produce, Brazilian pastels and cakes (general raving about Caipira Brazilian Flavours another time), Goan curries and TFI Vegan among others.  Yes, I pretty much ate it all.

Powters Sausages were doing a roaring trade, as were Peterborough-based Yaus Food who are new to me.  Chef demos inside (including Chris Lee from the Bildeston Crown) and buskers outside…  just fabulous.

A great first event; definitely worth sticking in your diary next year.

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The Grazing Sheep, Ipswich Waterfront

I confess, I’m not big fan of the whole ‘going out for coffee and cake’ kinda thing.  Mainly – second confession of the day – because I’m a skinflint and can rustle up a sarnie & mug of tea without any trouble and it doesn’t really cost me any money.  See?  Skinflint.  And quite grumpy, since you ask.

But life is cruel and I don’t always get to call the shots so The Grazing Sheep it was.  I eyed up the smoked salmon bagels languishing in the chiller.  Meh.  Whatevs.  I was spared the dreaded cuppa though.  The wine list isn’t extensive but it’s good – something for everyone, in fact.  The bagel arrived, no longer cold and chewy but toasted with its smooth, cool filling – including some cheeky capers – oozing out.  Him indoors (well, we were outdoors actually because who wouldn’t be with those views?) had the cubanito.  Strips of pork belly in hot, crispy bread were wolfed down at a rate of knots accompanied by a bit of man-grunting.

I may have eaten my words but being a cake-hater I definitely didn’t succumb to the pistachio and polenta cake.   Well, ahem, just a nibble then… and fabulous it was too, in its deliciously gritty way.  (Cakes from The Hopewell Bakery – lots of gluten/dairy free goodies, find them on Instagram.)

The Grazing Sheep, Regatta Quay, Ipswich.    Tapas on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 too.  Can’t wait to try it.  Ipswich is upping its game at the mo.  This place deserves to flourish.

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