Kendal Food Fest 2015 Review

On the website for the Kendal Food of Festival it does say “more than just a farmer’s market” and that’s definitely true with all the other activities they have going on around town including tastings and talks, but it’s also true to say that you can approach it as a really big farmers market. Being a bit pressed for time, that was how we treated it, browsing stalls and picking up little things here and there.

It was a really enjoyable 90 minutes spent walking around seeing new companies and old faithfuls that come back to Kendal time and time again for the monthly farmer’s market. I wish we’d had more time to wander but as we all know parking in Kendal is an issue and since we were just in a 60 minute space down a side street we didn’t want to push our luck too far. This did mean missing out on activities and the whole drinking village, there’s always next year!

The amount of people there (an estimated 25,000 by the organisers count) was really impressive, great to see so many come out and support the event and I’m sure these numbers will ensure it’s a fixture on the Kendal festival calendar next year. How about we take a little photo tour of a few things we enjoyed at the festival?

I have to wonder just how many tonnes of jams, preserves and chutneys get sold at food festivals across the country? This stall in particular had a very impressive setup with a lovely sweeping curve of lined up jars.

A trend in the world of food seems to be the rise of rapeseed oil. As ever, there were still plenty of places to get traditional and infused olive oil but it was interesting to see that rapeseed had such a noticeable presence. This stall (I forget the name, sorry!) had quite a few flavours available and I sampled their cumin and coriander oil, two punchy flavours that worked really well with the nuttiness of the rapeseed.

Aha, the first non-sample of the day! This was an impressive setup with a wide variety of “some kind of meat inside some kind of pastry” offerings. Not wanting to dive straight into a pork pie (food festivals are a marathon not a sprint) I opted for a chicken an chorizo sausage roll and gave half to Her. It tasted good with crisp, flaky pastry, but to be honest the filling could have been anything, with Her noting that it almost had a curry vibe about it, and appearing more like a paste than you’d hope, which is a pity because a few chunky bits of chicken and chorizo would have really added to the texture. Still, for £1.30 I wasn’t complaining.

Apparently I have been living under a rock, because the spiral potato is new to me but I am well informed by people that go outside more often than I do that if you go to a festival in the UK chances are you’ll see someone selling a spiral potato, and you’ll also see a queue of people waiting to pay £3 for a deep fried potato covered in garlic salt. I now count myself among those people, yes it’s a little pricey but it was also hot, crisp, tasty, and fun, which is everything I would hope for from this kind of street food. They don’t seem to have a web presence but if you’re desperate to know where you can find them next apparently their e-mail address is

Having seen many people walking around with cartoonishly-large sausages hanging out the ends up buns we headed over to the polish sausage stand, where I’m fairly sure there were no Poles (the company now calls itself Working the Streets after rebranding from the Yorkshire Pie & Pea Company) but there was clearly a lot of sausage… and cabbage and potatoes and onions and bread. We opted for the potted potato/cabbage/onion/sausage mix, a very welcome cup of warmth on a chilly day. It was incredibly buttery with a good few tablespoons of the glorious liquid remaining at the base of the cup when we were finished but restraint is hardly the name of the game when you’re at a food festival so you can’t be counting calories. I wasn’t taking notes but I think it was £4.50 and that seemed pretty reasonable for the portion size.

There were many contenders for the next meaty thing to pass my lips but when I heard “BBQ brisket and coleslaw sandwich” it was as if my wallet had a mind of it’s own. I must say I’m not 100% sure who I have to thank for this sandwich, the front of the stall said The Three Hare’s Cafe (a fairly new arrival in Sedbergh by the looks of things), but the sign in the back said The Moocher. I’m pretty sure the two are one and the same, just different parts of the same couple’s business.

It was delicious, I’d love to be a harsh critic in my first big post but I can’t. The brisket was tender and plentiful, smothered in a sweet barbeque sauce, topped with a crunchy coleslaw in a ciabatta that held firm despite the onslaught of sauce and meat juice it was containing (bread disintegration can often be the downfall of otherwise great saucy sandwiches). Another £4.50 well spent in my opinion.

“We need to finish on something sweet” she said as I gazed at my phone imagining a parking ticket being slapped on the windscreen, so me and Her headed over to the stacks and stacks of brownies from Brown and Blond. The 3 for £5 deal was too tempting, and we opted for pistachio, nutella, and… I forget, but I think it may have had pecans in it. All good examples of the breed, soft and almost fudgy on the bottom with a crisp top, the best of both worlds. It would have been nice if the pistachio pieces were worked into the whole brownie rather than being indented into the top but I’m just nit-picking now because bloggers have to complain about something.

Not pictured but also bought, chicken sausage from the always excellent Heartwood Poultry (why don’t we have more poultry sausage in the UK?) and some 95% meat beef, pork and bacon sausages from Hallsford farm that were possibly a bit dense for my liking, but with 95% meat you’re going to struggle to manage to put ‘light’ or ‘delicate’ in a sentence describing them.

See you in 2016 Kendal Food Fest!

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