Monday, 27 October 2014

Budleigh's Mini Food Fest a big success

Talking of food, as I’ve done here it seems that quite a few Friends of Fairlynch Museum have been involved with the amazingly successful Food Festival.

More festivals means more visitors to the town, which means more visitors to its museum, which means... well, we’re just pleased to be able to show off Budleigh Salterton and the Lower Otter Valley.

I was asked recently if the Museum had any books of local fish recipes, and had to confess that I didn’t know of any.  But maybe, hiding in the Library is a handwritten cookbook, perhaps discovered long ago in the kitchen of Primrose Cottage, which was Fairlynch’s original name.  We certainly ought to have a first edition of the famous Book of Household Management written by Mrs Beeton, grandmother of a distinguished former Budleigh resident. Click here to read more.   

The first Budleigh Salterton Food and Drink Festival in 2013 was so popular that the organisers decided to stage a one-day taster event in the Public Hall on Saturday 25 October before the main three-day Budleigh Buy Local Food and Drink Festival. That will be held on the weekend of the 13-15 March next year.  
A lot of hard work has gone into the organisation of the event, with support from many local businesses.  Corporate Friends of Fairlynch who sponsor the Festival include Bradleys, Ian Crook Wealth Management Ltd, and Premier Cafe.  Other sponsors include John McMillan and Trudie Burne, who were involved in the Museum’s Great War deckchairs project.
It’s all proof of the Budleigh community working together on an enjoyable project which benefits everyone.

Here’s Fairlynch Museum Chairman Roger Sherriff wearing his Festival steward's t-shirt holding one of the prizes in the raffle which was part of the event.

Then of course there was me, persuaded to take some photos. And here they are:

 This was another raffle prize: a hamper of delicious goodies donated by McMillans Deli.

Many people had come for the cookery demos. Stuart White, Head Chef at Sidmouth’s Victoria Hotel, was one of the morning's guest chefs at the Festival. Here he's showing how to prepare Torbay Sole Samphire.

 I don't know what he's holding up but I'm sure it'll be delicious when he's finished with it.

Stuart was followed by Andy Witheridge, owner of The Salty Monk restaurant at Sidford, just outside Sidmouth. He demonstrated the making of cappelletti, working alongside Melissa Johnson, a Rotary Young Chef. She looks a bit nervous in this photo.

But she made a professional-looking job of this dish. I gave up eating lunch a month or so ago but by this stage was thinking of changing my mind. 

I didn't know about Rotary Young Chef competitions until I found information about them

Lots of other things were going on in the Public Hall, with exhibitors showing off local food. Like this lady from Pynes Farm shop, just outside Budleigh. 

Here she is selling from the range of Otter Vale Products like pickles, sauces, and chutneys all made here in Budleigh.

Other local stallholders inside the Public Hall included Karen from The Rowan Tree. 

It was a very family-friendly affair with lots of activities for kids.  Facepainting was popular. 

There were designs to please everyone. 

There were things to look at, like this gingerbread house.    

Or this Funky Apple Face.


As well as looking like an animal you could eat like an animal if you wanted to, with no one complaining.

And plenty of recipes for kids to try out. 

Kids also provided musical entertainment as well as entertainment for the photographer.  This is the Otter Music Collective, a group based at St Peter’s School.   

 If you felt like a pre-lunch drink there was plenty to choose from in the Public Hall.  There was a bar run by Isca Ales where free samples were on offer.


There were special Budleigh beers.

There was wine from the Roncombe Valley, near Sidmouth. 

 And of course there was cider. 

 She's obviously enjoying it.

 Bill Roper, from Ashcombe Estate Orchards, seen here pouring the precious liquid, was giving a talk ‘The Importance of Localism’ later in the afternoon.


 For those who felt like a healthy non-alcoholic option there were juices from Juice Plus.  Masses of them to choose from, with expert advice from Budleigh-based Body & Mind’s Paola Royal.   

Outside the Public Hall, there was plenty of choice for the hungry.  The Veggie Deli was popular.


It wasn't just local food on offer. There were pizzas from Sidmouth-based Pizza Buona   

Basque dishes from Goierri Foods

Lots of choice here. 

My friend Bernard, right, a Fairlynch steward, was tempted.  And so was I, especially when Maite Mendia from Goerri Foods told me how important it is to eat at midday. She insisted that I enjoy a complimentary lunch of paella and meatballs. Very good it was too.

If you just wanted to buy produce there was plenty to choose from at the Farmers' Market, which was on The Green just outside the Public Hall.


Plenty of time for a gossip over the greens.

Or a chat over the cheese.

Or just a good laugh with Councillor Tom Wright and his wife.

Then back into the Public Hall for another cookery demo by Olivier Guyard-Mulkerrin, from Les Saveurs restaurant in Exmouth.  

He enjoyed telling the audience about the virtues of dogfish.  Now, I've never eaten dogfish, and I'm not tempted to after reading what the British Seafishing website says about it here   "The dogfish is not particularly nice to eat and has little commercial value, although it was once highly sought after for its rough skin which was used to polish wood and as a replacement for pumice."

I found Olivier's facial expressions as entertaining as what he did to the dogfish.

Someone in the audience has obviously challenged what he's said.  

That knife looks pretty dangerous. 

He is French of course. Well, Breton. Which is very different. 

I'm sure his dogfish dishes are delicious. The restaurant gets very good reviews as you can see at    As indeed do The Victoria Hotel   and The Salty Monk

East Devon is a very good place in which to live. 

You can read about the Budleigh Salterton Food Festival at



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