Blog – Nottingham Castle Food & Drink Festival
I’m a bit fussy about food festivals. Any new initiative needs time to get established but, over the years, I admit to getting just a bit fed up with being charged entry to events that have failed to live up to the quality and variety of the advertising. A family day out can cost £25 entry before you have had so much as a hotdog and it is simply not good enough to charge people to get in and then present them with a handful of pickle sellers and someone making 3D cards. So I am now pretty discerning about which festivals I visit.
The Nottingham Castle Food & Drink Festival, which took place at Nottingham Castle on the last bank holiday weekend of May, is a glorious exception. With around 100 stalls nestled amongst the trees and on the terrace – the castle, especially in the warm spring weather, made a fantastic setting. At £10 a head, entry isn’t cheap but in this case I had no complaints, there was plenty of variety and a great atmosphere.
The castle’s traditional bandstand played host to a full day’s programme of live music, and there was a superb range of hot and cold food and drink on offer, from street-food to grills, pie-makers to farm shops, artisan gin and vodka distillers, coffee brewers and cup-cake makers. Guests in the demonstration tents (which had something on most of the day for the full three days) included Nadiya Hussain, Tom Kerridge, Rusty Lee and Nottingham’s own GBBO entrant Jordan Cox. To top it off, the castle museum and galleries were open and included in the entry price.
With a choice of Thai, Indian, Caribbean, Mexican, crepes, cakes, bakes, pies, cheeses, sausages and scotch eggs, all washed down with a pint from the Bar in a Bus, I struggled to find the space to keep eating (I did make a sterling effort, mind you). There was enough at this festival to spend a full day enjoying the weather, the music and the food, and we returned home with several artisan loaves, lots of smoked brie and a range of pies and sausage rolls. A great day out, a great setting and, for once, worth every penny.