A cornucopia of local produce

PUBLISHED: 15:50 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:18 20 February 2013

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

Wth more than 70 independent food producers selling their essentially local goods directly to the public, celebrity chefs, and masses of children's activities, the Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival at the Hereford racecourse on October 24 an...

That's food, flavour and fun! This year's TV chef is the smooth talking and flirtatious Gino D'Acampo. He will be appearing three times a day in the Rangemaster Cookery Theatre and as seating is limited to 450 it's bound to be busy. Advance booking is highly recommended. Last year The Hairy Bikers were at the event and stayed on late into the evening, meeting people, signing autographs and stirring up the audience with their humour and bantering with the crowd. "Do we use butter in our cooking Madam? Aye, of course we do, have you seen the size of us?" Or turning to me as I took photographs: "Aye, I hope that photographer's got a wide angle lens on his camera so as to get us both in." (I did and I did, thank you boys). Gino is likely to be somewhat smoother

- and Italian - but as he once deep-fried ice cream on TV it should be very entertaining. Entertainment is very much part of the weekend's activities with apple pressing, pumpkin carving and a marquee containing the Panic Circus and the master of ceremonies Professor Panic. The circus includes clowns, giant puppets, Punch and

Judy and jugglers as part of a feast of fun. In a change from last year a second food tent will feature a series of events, talks and demonstrations by fish specialists and local restaurant chefs including Matt Slocombe of The Crown Inn, Woolhope, cake cook Victoria O'Neil and Tim Gilbert from Court Farm, Tillington, who will be

discussing the challenges of running a fruit farm which grows more than 40 varieties of fruit. There will be talks and demonstrations on cider making and cider tasting. Well worth looking out for among the cider producers is Once Upon a Tree, run by Simon and Hannah Day, who will be selling the cider made from Kingston Black

apples which scooped the Champions cup at this year's international Cider and Perry awards and their new dessert cider made from Blenheim Orange apples. There will be an excellent range of cider and perry choices available within the food tent and these include Gwatkins Cider from Abbey Dore and Oliver's Cider and Perry from Ocle Pychard. Tom Oliver will be using the show to launch his new bottled condition perry. It's made with traditional Herefordshire perry pears such as Blakeney Red and Winnals Longdon and with its

natural sparkle will make for a great autumn takeaway. There will some of the county's premier beer makers on show including Wye Valley from Stoke Lacy and the Spinning Dog Brewery from Hereford. The show will also provide visitors with the opportunity to sample some of Herefordshire's excellent wines, so look out for the stalls run by Lulham Court, Frome Valley and Broadfield Court whose delicious sparkling wine are suitable for every celebration. Especially look out for the stall run by Paddy Shave from HopPocket Wines of Bishops Frome. Paddy always stocks an excellent range of local wines and ciders and his stall will represent a who's who of local producers. He is well aware of the great enthusiasm amongst Herefordshire people for local produce and

says of the show: "This show is a fantastic celebration of Herefordshire's very best produce," he says. For something less alcoholic look out Pixley Berries will be selling a range of blackcurrant-based cordials or Jus which sells single variety, locally sourced apple juice. One of the drinking hits of last year was Chase Distillery's new potato vodka. Chase returns with even more stock this year (it sold out last year!) and has added a range of great tasting liqueurs and an apple based gin to the range. The elderflower liqueur has already been awarded a 3 star gold medal at the Great Taste awards and the gin, which uses apples to make the base spirit, sounds an exciting new venture and a way of using what is essentially surplus farm produce. The meats to be found in the Farmers' Market section match the superb selection of drinks to choose from. Look out for Tudge's great range of farm-reared pork and order your Christmas turkey early. Moor Meals from near Ledbury sells greattasting Dexter beef and also creates some wonderful takeaway dishes. The always excellent Court Farm from Tillington will be selling seasonal vegetables, as will Flights Orchard Organics. If you fancy a really tasty nibble there will be lots of choice and the Monkland Cheese Dairy will be selling its excellent range of cheeses, which includes Little Hereford based on a recipe by Ellen Yeld who was chief dairy instructress to the county back in 1917.

Mark and Karen Hindle took over the Mousetrap Cheese shop in Leominster in 1988 and have been making their own cheese since 1996. They also stock cheese from Neal's Yard and run award-winning teashops alongside their cheese production. At the show you will be able to sample their cheeses and purchase either small 300gm packets or take a slice from one of their Little Hereford truckles. The cheese is obviously delicious all by itself, is

great to cook with and goes fantastically well with some home-made chutney or relish and a glass of Herefordshire perry. If the weather is hot or for those with a sweeter tooth it's worth looking out Rowlestone Court Ice Creams selling seasonal blackberry sorbet or Kelsmor Dairy which sells ice cream made from their Guernsey cows on their farm at Garway while amongst the range of excellent chocolate producers look out for

Williams and Dunkerton's range of very fine chocolates. The chocolatiers will be selling their fine, crisp, shiny chocolate delights, which include one shaped like an apple and full of a velvety smooth cider brandy. Chocolate bliss!

Spicy Autumn Chutney

Thanks to my friend Jess for passing on her mother's secret recipe.

Makes 2.75 kg

• 1kg Herefordshire green eating


• 10g garlic

• 1 litre malt vinegar

• 450g dates

• 450g raisins

• 450g soft brown sugar

• 3ml cayenne pepper

• 30ml salt

• 120g preserved stem ginger

1. Core the apples and roughly chop with the garlic

2. Put into a pan, just cove with the vinegar and gently boil for 12 mins

3. Meanwhile chop the dates and ginger before adding to the pan with all the other ingredients

4. Cook gently for 50 mins before spooning into sterilised jars and sealing immediately

Herefordshire Pear Chutney

Herefordshire produces an extensive range of excellent pears but for this recipe you can use windfalls. I used a bagful of conference pears collected from my brother Tony's pear orchards but most varieties work really well and just offer different tastes and textures.

Makes 2 kg

• 700g pears

• 200g onions

• 600ml cider vinegar

• 100g hazelnuts


• 50g stem ginger

• 50g garlic

• 180g soft brown sugar

• 200g raisins

• Grated rind and juice of one lemon

• 5-10 cloves garlic (depending on taste)

• 5ml salt

1. Roughly chop the pears, onions, ginger, raisins, garlic, nuts, lemon juice and rind and put into a large bowl

2. Put the vinegar, sugar and cloves into a saucepan and gently boil until the sugar is dissolved

3. Carefully pour this over the pear mixture, cover and stand overnight

4. Place the whole mixture into a pan and gently boil for up to 2 hours

5. Spoon mixture into sterilised jars and seal

Autumn chutneys

The abundance of food on offer at the Food Festival should be enough to satisfy everybody's appetite but October is an excellent time to use surplus fruit and vegetables to make some tasty and tangy chutney. These will go especially well with some of the Monkland Dairy cheese you brought home from the show or have bought from Monkland's shops in Leominster, Hereford or Ludlow. You could also try Three Counties Gourmet's extensive range of excellent chutneys and pickles, which will be on sale in the food tent at the Herefordshire

Food Festival.

If you've been out foraging and have managed to beat the squirrels to the hazelnuts, and why should they have the best our hedgerows have to offer, then you could try this seasonal pumpkin and nut loaf.

Pumpkin and Nut Loaf

• 500g pumpkin cut into chunks

• 75g chopped hazelnuts/walnuts

• 350g white bread flour

• 50g melted butter

• 75g caster sugar

• 3 beaten eggs

• 10ml baking powder

• 2.5ml salt

• 2.5g grated nutmeg

• 2.5g ground cinnamon

1. Boil pumpkin for 20 mins, drain, cool and blend into a puree

2. Mix cooled pumpkin mixture with sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, melted butter and eggs and mix well

3. Mix flour with baking powder, make a well in the centre, add pumpkin mixture and mix well, until smooth. Mix in the nuts

4. Transfer to a greased loaf tin and bake in a pre-heated, 180 degrees, oven for 1 hour or until shrunk from sides of the tin and turning a golden colour Ideal for seasonal picnics, Hallowe'en or bonfire night, the bread should be moist, fragrant and delicious. Pumpkin seedsare packed with nutrients so try scattering dried ones into your bread

There will be some excellent bakers and cake makers at the Food Festival at the racecourse and you can find a wonderful pumpkin bread on the Shared Harvest stall.

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