Rugby is never going to be described as the mecca of the foodie world. But for a small town, we don’t do too badly. One great addition to the town’s calendar has been its Food and Drink Festival, which this year formed part of the ongoing Enjoy Rugby Festival, a big old run of events organised around, and including, the Rugby World Cup.
There’s been quite a buzz in the town for the world cup, being the birthplace of rugby and all that, so in turn there was a great atmosphere for the food and drink festival. I missed the first few parts of it – the Farmers’ Market on Thursday, 24 September and the first Rugby Drinks Festival the following day, but I managed to make it to the second of two Food Fayres on Sunday, 27 September, complete with food and drink stalls, a bar and a demo kitchen featuring local chefs.
The food fayres (the first was the previous day) sprawled around the gardens surrounding the town centre’s local church, St Andrew’s. After a busy day at my first blogging conference on the Saturday, I headed up on Sunday with my mum to have a relaxing afternoon wandering around and munching some food.
We started with Mac & Cheese with chicken from Nibbles Corner. These guys’ claim to fame is their signature cheese sauce made using a special blend of cheeses that then forms part of various dishes including Mac & Cheese. Mum and I feasted on a generous portion, served with slices of tasty chicken and topped with a garnish and a chunk of garlic bread.
From there we moved past South African street food Bunny Chow (only because I’ve tried it and blogged about it before at Rugby First Thursday’s) and moved on to have ourselves a spicy Jamaican lamb patty from a local guy. Once it had cooled down enough for us to eat, we found tasty and soft pastry packed with spicy lamb.
Despite having just had that, we couldn’t resist some samosas from Spice Fever. Freshly fried at the fayre, they looked delicious. They were nice, with crispy fried pastry, but the fillings were quite mild, and I didn’t find them quite tasty snack as the lamb patty we’d just had.
After this, we took a break from eating to check out some of the demos at the pop-up kitchen. We’d missed Andrew Ferguson of local restaurant Ferguson’s – fresh from celebrating an inclusion in the Michelin Guide – but I’ve raved about his food before on this blog, so feel free to check that out.
What we did get a chance to catch was a demonstration by Maria from local restaurant La Margherita – soon to be featured on the blog – who cooked up smoked mackerel with orange puree, fennel, and chard, as well as a crushed broad bean recipe with blackberry dressing. She also treated the audience to a Damson Parfait, with chocolate cake and honeycomb. All three were tasty, and having just been to La Margherita after a long time away, added to my opinion that it’s far too under-rated among the town’s restaurants.
After a quick stop off for a slice of cake from When it’s Scone it’s Gone, we wobbled off home. I’ve got to say again, for a small town, Rugby put on a pretty darn good food fest – and that’s after I only experienced one part of it. Next year, I’m definitely clearing the space in my calendar to go to everything!
We paid in full at the food festival and they didn’t know I was a blogger.