Alnwick Food Festival 22nd and 23rd September 2012
Alnwick Food Festival
22nd and 23rd September 2012
I spent much of last week baking and preparing myself for the challenges and opportunities opening up from this local food festival, now in its 8th year; http://www.alnwickfoodfestival.co.uk 
All this began back in January when I first saw a tweet asking if anyone was interested in demonstrating/talking at the food festival. I made immediate contact, and Karen, who co-ordinates the event came to see me later that week. I contacted my colleague, Ann, from “Dough Works”; http://www.doughworks.co.uk  and she agreed to work with me in partnership for the event. We prepared a presentation where I would talk and she would demonstrate, and we also agreed to share a stall to sell our bread and other baked lovelies over the weekend. The stall was given to us free resulting from us agreeing to present; an excellent deal to me!
Last week I began baking in the sunshine at home and made some lovely Sourdough Seed Breads and Five Grain Levains, which looked like this:
After that I had a successful baking day with my friend Nigel, using his large wood-fired oven at his home in Ryton, near Newcastle. On Friday, Nigel spent a second day baking, and I trundled into Alnwick to the Farmers’ Market. The day began with lots of heavy showers, and ended up being a wash-out. However, the sun came out later, and the weather became very settled, just in time for the big event at the weekend.
My parents had come to visit, and my Dad had put up some great shelves in the kitchen, greatly improving storage for my bakery ingredients. However, it meant a few difficulties coping with loading up the car from the kitchen; it all came good in the end.
Over the two day event I sold all but 4 of the 200 loaves baked for the event by Nigel, and/or me; we also sold nearly all of the breads and other lovely treats which Ann made as well. The sun shone, and there was some great food offered throughout the market square for the many visitors to enjoy. When Alison and my parents arrived in town there was no parking to be found in the town centre; they had to park some way off and walk in; so it brought a lot of business into the town; much needed, of course!
Here are a couple of pictures of the stall, including one with Jean-Christophe Novelli, a Michelin-starred Chef in the UK, and the chief attraction of the event. He did long demonstrations on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as preparing and serving a buffet in Alnwick Castle on the Saturday evening.
Our Saturday talk and demonstration went off very well; the firm which provided camera and pa systems were first class, and it was a pleasure to take to the stage and talk, aware that the audience of at least 200 people could easily hear everything I said, and were able to see clearly what Ann and I were upto on stage, and see the PowerPoint presentation summarising the aim of the session, and the key points I was pulling out. Here are a few photos of the talk as it progressed. There are more photographs on flickr, here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24731237 @N03/sets/72157631611934276/
There has been lots of favourable publicity from the event; loads of tweets going out, and good press coverage too. Everyone has worked so hard; a particularly big thank you to Karen, but also to everyone else involved in any way, as the whole event was so well-organised.
I’m going to be absent from TFL throughout October. Work on the Dissertation has not progressed how I had hoped, and so I need to “go to ground” if I am going to get it finished in time. I’ll be back in November, and hoping to break into lots of new territory to drive my business forward…and hopefully spend my time baking lovely bread.
Meantime, all good wishes