Never eat anything bigger than your head
Cookery Quote
We should all be eating less meat and better meat
Whenever you see crossed chives you are in trouble

Mutton dressed as mutton

Saturday 22nd of June saw the inaugural Droitwich Food and Drink Festival. Roads were closed and battalions of visitors shopped their way around the town. With over 60 stalls it was the Spa town’s largest ever street market. I had the honour of making the opening speech and announcing the winner of the sausage competition. A week or so earlier I had joined a panel of sausage lovers gathered at the St Andrew’s Town Hotel to sample all the entries. The standard was remarkably high and deciding on a winner no easy matter. After much debate the first prize went to the pork sausage made by Checketts of Ombersley with the runner-up being a Cumberland sausage made by the Meatbox Company of Droitwich.
The Food and Drink Festival is the brainchild of Droitwich resident and unashamed foodie Patrick Davies, but even he was surprised by how busy the street market became – confirmation that food shopping can be both a hobby and an art form! My buy of the day was a piece of mutton from the Vicarage Fruit Farm stall. Beautifully presented, two French trimmed racks of mutton – ten chops in all and weighing in at just over 1.5 kilo, £14.90. A very good deal indeed. When roast the eye of the meat was dense and with a pronounced (but not overpowering) mutton flavour. The fat came up crisp, golden and delicious with no hint of that “lanolin” taint you can get from the meat of older sheep. Much better eating than the tiny, and often flabby, “spring lamb” that carries an un-justified premium price. The stall holder said that this particular sheep was 2 years old, it was just about perfect needing no more than fresh mint sauce, boiled potatoes and some small, early broad beans to make a feast. The most encouraging thing about the Droitwich Food and Drink Festival is that so many people braved the showery weather to spend a Saturday morning among the food stalls – and that they preferred it to the competing delights of the Kidderminster Carnival. Could it be that people are at last pushing food and drink up their list of priorities? I do hope so.

www.droitwichspa.com/foodanddrinkfestival/

Checketts of Ombersley, Main Rd Ombersley, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire WR9 0EW, (01905 620284) www.checketts.co.uk/
The Meatbox Company, 6 St Andrews Square, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire WR9 8HE (01905 773388) www.droitwichspa.com/shopdetail.php?shopid=65
Vicarage Fruit Farm, Holmes Lane, Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove, B60 4HQ (01527 821495)

Charles Campion - Monday 24th June 2013

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