Arundel Food Fest
Laura Cartledge discovers how the Arundel Food Festival serves up experiences and inspiration.
It seems a strange thing to say but food is about more than just eating.
This month Arundel hosts its fourth annual food festival which proves just that.
“It is all about experiences,” explains organiser Jonathan Brantigan, “rather than just a market.”
The result is mouth-watering, with an events list which not only lets people taste some of the best produce around, but have a go at finding, making and learning about it too.
Beginning in the town on October 19 events are then dotted across the surrounding area and the remainder of the month.
Inspired by the community, Jonathan says the aim is to promote “as much local produce as possible” and the appeal sees businesses outside of the culinary world also getting involved.
“Last year we had poetry and readings at The Book Ferret,” he agrees, “this year they are offering a discount on cookery and food related books.”
The Guild of Village Craftsmen also will be holding a food inspired exhibition, St Nicholas Church and the King’s Arms pub will be playing quiz masters, while The Swan Hotel will be combining cuisine and comedy with Drip Action Theatre.
Plus Lulamae, best known for selling crafty items for the home and as a workshop venue, will be playing host to two events – tastings by award-winning The Loft Pickles & Jams and “meet the birdman” with the farmer from Kirdford who will be discussing everything quail.
One of my personal favourites on the list has to be Celebrating Gingerbread at Arundel Museum.
“We are not one of those festivals which are all about celebrity chefs,” he jokes, “however if any wanted to come along they would be welcome.”
Instead it is clear the focus is on showcasing what is already on offer and providing a platform for people to have their eyes opened for the rest of the year.
“It’s not a case of ‘oh that was nice’ and then it is never to be found again,” agrees Rachel Aked of the Arundel Festival Committee.
And why would you need to go further afield?
Uniquely positioned between the South Downs National Park and the Sussex coast Arundel has the finest pickings within easy reach.
Among those getting involved in the food festival are The Hungry Guest, with bread making, and Goodwood, with ale and cheese tasting.
October 20 provides a real array of choice with Activity Sunday where all events are free to take part in and range from apple pressing with the National Trust to “Kids go Wild” – a foraging and cooking extravaganza run by the Forest Knight team and offering the chance to make Bannock bread over a real fire.
There is plenty to occupy all ages and interests with a produce and veg swap, an inspiring look at allotments and demonstrations from the community chef.
Having grown organically over the past four years the festival is going from strength to strength.
“We know what we are doing now,” says Jonathan modestly. “I already have ideas for the next one.”
To find out more visit www.arundelfoodfestival.org.uk Arundel Food Festival is a non-profit making, community-led organisation and this year its chosen charity is FareShare which works to relieve food poverty.
Dates for your diary
The Guild of Village Craftsmen, October 19 – 20, 10am-5pm at Norfolk Centre, Mill Road, free.
St Nicholas Church food quiz, October 19, 7pm, tickets cost £10 call 07771 842323.
King’s Arms Food Festival charity quiz, October 22, 7.30pm, £3, teams up to four members.
The Swan Hotel Presents… Drip Action Theatre, October 19 – 20, 7.30pm, £30.
Lulamae’s in a Pickle, October 19, 10am-noon, 13 High St, free.
Lulamae meets the Birdman, October 19, 1pm-3pm, 13 High St, free.
Celebrating Gingerbread at Arundel Museum, tastings on October 26, museum entry £3.
Bread Making with The Hungry Guest, October 19, 9am-1pm, Tarrant Square, free.
Goodwood Cheese and Ale Tasting at Pallant of Arundel, October 19, from 10am, free.
Apple Pressing with the National Trust, October 20, 10am-3pm, Town Square, free.
“Kids go Wild,” foraging and cooking, October 20, fields behind Mill Road, no booking required but advised
to turn up early to ensure a place.
Arundel Veg and Produce Swap, October 20, from 2pm, Town Square.
Allotment Visits, October 20. At Fitzalan Road at 11am-noon or Priory Road Allotment from 2.30pm-4pm.
Community Chef Cookery Demonstrations, October 20, 11am-3pm, Town Square.
Pictures by Christian Doyle