The Wild Thyme Food Festival in Chipping Norton, Sunday 27th May 2012

Now in its third year and attracting 1000 visitors to the Oxfordshire market town of Chipping Norton, the Wild Thyme Food Festival on 27th May 2012 enabled nineteen local food and drink artisans and retailers to showcase their produce to a wide audience. Created and run by Sally Daniel and her partner Chef Nick Pullen of Wild Thyme Restaurant {recently awarded two AA rosettes}, this event goes to show what community spirit, appreciation of good produce and excellent organisation skills can achieve.

The food festival takes place in the Town Hall, right in the centre of the town, on two floors. On the ground floor there is a cookery demonstration area, where Nick Pullen and James Perry, The Tattooed Chef from Masterchef, showed how to make fresh pasta and Pain Perdu.

Mattias Sjoberg, the owner of Compass Brewery from Oxfordshire is also on the ground-floor level, with his award winning beers, The King’s Shipment IPA, Isis Pale Ale, Baltic Night Stout and Symposium. He is busy working on his new brewery site at Carterton, near Brize Norton.

Up one flight of stairs and there is a huge hall filled with stalls, a coffee shop and a book shop, set up with cakes and hot drinks by Jaffe and Neale, the town’s independent family-owned bookshop and cafe. The artisans range from Rupert Parsons, the second generation owner of Womersley Foods, a family business producing herb infused vinegar and jellies in Yorkshire and the Cotswolds, Crudges Cheese from Kingham, run by Roger and Karen Crudge, Hook Norton Honey, which offers a range of European and local honeys, available for tasting before you buy and Great Farm, in Whelford, where they raise some of the very finest corn fed, free range chickens you will ever taste. From cupcakes to fresh asparagus, strawberries, seafood, cookbooks and potted meats, there is something for everyone, to take home for a dinner party or as a gift. You could even fill the freezer.

One of the many advantages of this event is the ability for local consumers to meet the faces behind the products, understanding more about their heritage and skills. You can discuss the making of the best pies with Paul Sykes of Paul’s Poultry, from The Old Slaughterhouse in Coleshill, near Swindon, or the best recipe books for baking with Serendipity Baking of Milton Under Wychwood.

The future of food festivals is most definitely with small, cosier, communal events like this one as larger events are becoming increasingly corporate, commercial and impersonal. Sally told me that the festival is now so successful that she will be adding an outdoor marquee next year for extra artisans. Mark the date in your diaries: I highly recommend coming, and remember to arrive early and park nearby. You will not want to leave empty handed, I assure you.

A list of exhibitors

Compass Ales, Oxford

A family run Oxfordshire based microbrewery founded in 2009. In addition to brewing their own delicious beers, The Kings Shipment IPA and a Pale Ale to name a couple, they also produce bespoke beer – creating totally unique brews to customers’ own specification. Mattias will be tempting you with a tipple and this afternoon in our theatre kitchen with Roger Crudge talking about cheese and beer tasting.

Crudges Cheese, Kingham

Well known locally from the farmers markets, Roger and Karen Crudge are true artisan cheese makers and popular choices on the Wild Thyme cheese plate. They are here tempting you to take some home and providing tasters of their lovely cheeses. Also, featuring in the theatre kitchen offering cheese and beer tasting with Compass Ales.

David’s Chilli Oil, Cheltenham

Producers of a rich, exotic, healthy and intensely flavoured chilli oil perfect for drizzling over food, cooking, marinating and dipping. Made with quality produce from the Cotswolds. Available in Hot or Medium.

Field Bar Fruit Wines, Stroud

Award winning fruit wines made in a micro winery in Gloucestershire. They produce a wide range of sweet and dry fruit wines made from locally sourced and picked fruit from the hedgerows and fields. Try and buy.

Hook Norton Honey , Hook Norton

Bee keepers in Hook Norton, who currently have multiple hives in and around the village. They believe passionately in the ecological benefits of keeping bees and say they feel humbled to live with and learn from these amazing creatures. Lovely local honey will be available to try and buy.

Great Farm, Whelford

A traditional Cotswold mixed farm producing cereals, beef, lamb, chicken & guinea fowl. All the animals and birds graze on grass and wild flower meadows, and are fed on home-grown cereals. The aim is to produce high quality poultry in the most natural way possible. This results in happy, healthy birds, and of course, a great taste!

Jaffe and Neale, Chipping Norton

Our renowned local bookstore will be selling cookery books and foodie things as well as providing their delicious tea, coffee and cakes by way of refreshment. William Sitwell will be signing his new book “A history of food in 100 recipes” on their stall after his session in the theatre kitchen this afternoon

John  Kench Butchers, Chipping Norton

Our local butcher, John Kench will be setting up their hog roast at the front of the town hall, in time for a lunch stop. Wonderful pork baps with apple sauce – yummy!

Moore & Lyon Produce, Middle Barton

Moore and Lyon Produce is run by David Moore and Phyllis Lyon. They sell home reared meats and free range eggs and run their business from two farms in the local villages of Middle Barton and Salford. They pride themselves on the quality of produce as a result of adopting a traditional rearing process.

For info about our produce and availability please visit the stall, alternatively contact David on 07885216941 or Phyllis on 07967530183.

Once Bitten, Chipping Norton

Founded by Jo Thompson, Once Bitten is a bespoke quality patisserie in Chipping Norton. They pride themselves on using locally sourced, premium products and are organically certified. Once Bitten will be showcasing a selection of biscuits and confectionary for you to try and take home with you.

Ross & Ross Foods, Chipping Norton

A new start up business specialising in making potted produce using traditional charcuterie methods. Ross and Ross will be selling their delicious 8 hour slow cooked shoulder of lamb, griddled to order and served in a bap with salsa verde and salad, just to keep you going…

Serendipity Baking, Milton under Wychwood

Handcraft delicious cupcakes and cakes in their Oxfordshire kitchens by request for any occasion. They use only the best quality ingredients with no artificial preservatives or flavours.

Slow Food

The Cotswold Convivium of this international movement to bring food back to its roots, are selling local asparagus & strawberries.

Stainswick Farm Oil, Shrivenham

Grow, press and bottle their rapeseed oil on the family farm, their products are local with full field traceability. Located on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border, the Sanderson Family is the 4thgeneration of farmers here.

Stevens Garnier Wines, Oxford

A small company with big ideas, founded in 1976, offer a brilliant global portfolio of wines and will be showcasing a selection of fine wines, a chance to try and buy.

The Chipping Norton Tea Set

A new business start up in Chipping Norton, The Chipping Norton Tea Set offer bespoke vintage tea parties for all occasions, with all home-made produce. Vicky Wills and her team will be happy to chat about their new venture as well as providing tasters of their delicious produce.

Upton Smokery, Hurst Barn Farm Burford

A well established family business who produce an array of delicious home smoked meat, game and fish products and recently opened a farm shop just outside Burford.

Wild Thyme Restaurant, Chipping Norton

Festival founders and organisers, Wild Thyme will be selling some of their delicious ice cream, honeycomb dipped in chocolate and fudge as well as hosting the Champagne & seafood bar. Drop by to chat to the team about the restaurant or to find out more about the festival.

Wormesley Foods

Producers of delicious fruit and herb vinegars & jellies, this family run business are offering samples and selling their products.

Further information

Sally and Nick at Wild Thyme Restaurant:

Follow Sally and Nick on Twitter: @wtrestaurant

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