It says a lot about a food festival that in its ninth Edinburgh iteration (yup, the original Foodies was 8 years ago in Edinburgh) that it can draw a capacity crowd on one of the key Saturdays in August. In among all the other festivals and activities going on in the city, Foodies Festival were turning people hoping to get tickets on the door away at about half 11. Now that is quite something.
OK, so it was a totally different story on the Sunday when the rain teamed down and Edinburgh showed just how many pairs of wellie boots and golf umbrellas it owned, but the fact remains that it was a pretty impressive weekend of eating and drinking.
Over the years I’ve been to a couple of iterations of Foodies Festival – starting in Holyrood Park where they had to bring in hay bales to try absorb some of the mud, to little avail – and it is great to see how it is growing. Its a similar story with the number (and caliber) of the demos on offer; ditto the stall holders. With its increasing popularity seems to be coming a new generation of chefs and retailers.
Take some of the demos we went to, for example. Glen Cosby – of last year’s Great British Bake Off fame – was making some ginger scones and grapefruit curd, cracking some jokes and chatting freely about his new tour, book and time on GBBO; Stephen K Amos was meant to be making a curry, but played on his ability to work a crowd (a packed one in this case, possibly due to the utter deluge outside) to hilarious effect as well as having a chat with us beforehand and happily taking some of the potato twist we offered. But aside from the comedy and cake tents there is now a whole line of chefs taking part.
From the Balmoral to the Waldorf Astoria, the best hotels in town all had one of their chefs doing demos with both Number 1 and the Pompador by Galvin represented. There to was Adam Handling – one of the rising stars of the cheffing world (if that’s a thing), oh and did I mention Mark Greenaway of his eponymous restaurant on Castle Street? That being the highlights of a fairly distinguished list, it’s not hard to see why people were queuing to get those tickets (and for the second batch that got released at 3pm) and packing into the Chef’s Tent.
For the most part, we spent our weekend constantly eating and drinking. Be it cheese, gin, cheese, gin, cheese, chocolate, beer, gin cocktails, crisps, chutney, curry from the Seychelles, BBQ lamb, cheese, gin or cake, I’m pretty sure we ate and drank far too much – oh, and not forgetting the rum coconut ‘cocktail’ (basically just rum, or so it tasted) – but I’m so pretty sure it doesn’t matter as we had an absolutely fantastic time.
With the fridge now full of cheese and the cupboards now stuffed with crisps, coffee and kitchen gadgets (a pushy grinder, anyone?) it was definitely a weekend well spent. There are ideas galore of things I want to make, eat, drink and buy, and I’m pretty certain that I’ve almost dried out from a Sunday in the rain.
Edinburgh Editor was there thanks to press tickets given to us by the organisers. Freebies don’t influence our judgement though – we just had a great time (aided, doubtlessly, by all the cheese and gin). If you would like to read more about our disclosure policy you can find it here; if you would like to work with Edinburgh Editor please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org