Nearly 70,000 people went to the South of England Show this year for an enjoyable day out with a vast array of activities to be enjoyed.
Spectacular displays took place in the four arenas ranging from show jumping, duck herding, tug of war and motorcycle displays teams. The show catered for town and country folk and, with careful planning, you could easily be entertained, educated, fed and watered for an entire day.
The food stands are always of particular interest to me and when visiting any food festival or event I am always on the look out for something different, writes Uckfield News Fabulous Food blogger Beverley Butler.
The Handmade Scotch Egg Company were new to me, and a very good discovery. They make more than 40 varieties of scotch egg and had a fantastic display at the Ardingly showground.
The nearest stockist to those of us in Uckfield seems to be The Hungry Guest at Petworth but they can be ordered on line. Vegetarian options are also available and mixed orders can be delivered straight to your door.
Sussex Gold also had a very colourful and eye-catching array of rapeseed and infused oils. Their products are always worth checking out at local farmers’ markets, farm shops or on line. Excellent quality and locally made.
The forgotten flavour of gingerbread was on display from Horsham Regency Gingerbread who tell us their product “blends the fruity sweetness of molasses, the sharpness of oranges and lemons with an oriental hint of ginger. Its distinct flavour will transport you back 200 years. Delicious on its own, or served with ice-cream or a cup of coffee”. It certainly lived up to the description given on their website.
There were far too many fantastic stalls to mention individually but some worth investigation were The Crusty Pie Co. from Halifax, Yu! Healthy Snacks, and Rushfields Farm Shop from Poynings, who supplied our lunch in the form of a fabulous pork pie.
One company certainly worth a mention was Bartie’s Sussex Faire. We had a long chat with owner John Bartlett, who started the company in 2008 as a hobby-business, which has now become a full time concern.
All ingredients are locally sourced, some even home grown, and are produced by John, and his family, a stone’s throw from the showground at Ardingly. Although they sell their products at farmers’ markets they have yet to reach Uckfield but they are due to appear at the Bluebell Railway Food Festival at the beginning of July – more to come on that event soon.
There are many manufacturers of fine homemade jams, mustards and chutneys today but it is a real pleasure to stumble across such a nice man with fresh ideas and genuine love for what he produces.
We purchased a Spicy Pineapple Chutney (which won a 2012 Great Taste Award), a Blackcurrant Jam and a Dark Seville Orange Marmalade.
With such exquisite flavours I feel sure they won’t last long and I look forward to working through Bartie’s vast range of products.
This year’s president of the Agricultural Society, Penelope Keith CBE DL, opened the show on Thursday and we caught a glimpse of her admiring the Flower Tent in all its glory.
We had a really good day out, sampled lots of lovely food, watched some fantastic demonstrations, met some really nice people, but for me the phrase of the day came from the stallholder at Microboxers.
While commenting on the bright colours of their display I pointed out that we were at the show to do a food review and that I couldn’t see how I could link their stall with my review. Without hesitation his response was ‘you can eat all you like with these pants because they stretch to accommodate any size’
What a salesman!