“Autumn,” says Julian Leefe-Griffiths, “is when there is a marked change in the food that we eat. We put away the barbecue and look forward to more game, winter root vegetables, mushrooms & the like. We wanted to organise the Harvest Food Festival to mark this change, showcasing local food producers and those from slightly further afield who do something a little bit different, who are a little eccentric.”
The Harvest Food Festival event, sponsored by Thomson Snell & Passmore, offered a veritable smorgasbord of tasty delights and, despite the seasonal rain showers, locals and visitors alike perused the stalls of independent food producers, some more eccentric than others, sampling here and there.
The festival, held on the historic Pantiles, hosted home grown food producers such as Bonkers Brownies from Wadhurst who tempted us with their wide variety of chocolate morsels (salted caramel was pretty amazing); Mighty Fine Things from Faversham tickled our taste buds with their vinegars and dressings; and Steve from local, family-owned Fuller’s Butchers provided a live food demonstration on the bandstand. Steve showed us how best to prepare partridge & venison, explaining to the captive audience why they shouldn’t be overlooked at the butcher’s & how Fuller’s is trying to make game more ‘user-friendly’.
Villa Sofia wines from Battle, with their delightful sparkling falanghina & Naked and Ready of Frant, selling pates and enormous Scotch eggs (so tempting) rubbed shoulders with those from outside Kent including The Pished Fish – delicious ‘booze-infused smoked salmon’ that even converted small children – and McCarthy’s Country Stores whose golden pastry-topped pies were purchased for Sunday supper.
Greek souvlaki, Turkish Delight, French macarons and good old Tonbridge beer also graced the beautiful Pantiles, demonstrating that Brexit or not, our palates are definite remainers!
The foodie throngs sat and digested it all whilst enjoying a drink from one of the many restaurants, bars and cafes that surround the Pantiles, their doors wide open and welcoming. It was fabulous to see the area so busy, even on a rainy weekend, visitors soaking up the atmosphere, people watching and perhaps being entertained and amazed by the magician, whose tricks left you truly open-mouthed.
Thomson Snell & Passmore were proud to support the event, showing their continued commitment to Tunbridge Wells, Kent and the local food and drink industry.