Guest blog! Review of Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival 2019

Sadly I couldn’t make this year’s Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival and so I asked my friend and food photographer of The Cook Book Sevenoaks Tonbridge Tunbridge Wells, Severien Vits to step in for me. We haven’t had a guest blog for a while so sit back and enjoy!

The 3rd edition of the Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival was a fantastic success. The sun was out most of the time, and the temperature was just perfect, not too cold, not too hot either. Great numbers of families gathered on the castle lawn to explore the numerous food and drink stalls that had been set up for the festival.

Tonbridge food and drink festival Eat Around Tonbridge 2019 people.jpg

The festival clearly has grown in popularity over the years.  That shouldn’t come as a surprise really, because not only has it got a lot of food and drink opportunities to offer, it is also a lovely place to meet up with other locals. Some people even travelled from further afield as it was a Bank Holiday weekend. The word is spreading and the festival is growing, that is for sure.

All kinds of local food and drink producers were present. For a drink you could just take your pick from several kinds of gin, cider, sparkling wines, cocktails,  juices, smoothies, coffees, just name it, too many to name them all here. If you were looking for food, you could have Thai, German sausages, stonebaked pizza, macarons, cake or an ice cream.

The festival had a proper demo-stage with a programme stretching out from the beginning to the end. On the Sunday it featured Rosemary Williams from Prep That Fish, Will Devlin from The Small Holding, Jo Banks from Alive with Flavour,  Alex Thurman from Feed The Brood, Hilary Steel the Comedy Cook and Kieran Jones and former Young Chef of Kent award winner, each explaining how to cook what they are best at.

Multi award winning Will Devlin of The Small Holding performing a cooking demo

Multi award winning Will Devlin of The Small Holding performing a cooking demo

There was also a very hands on area ran by Alive with Flavour. Children and some adults as well, made their own pesto, using a mortar and pestle. It was a lot harder than using a food processor I must say and I was very impressed with the effort put in by the children, encouraged by Jo Banks and Alex Thurman. Later on in the day Sally Boulton from Sally’s Cakes… helped some children with some impressive cup cake decoration and there was Eton Mess on the programme as well.   

Alex Thurman of Feed the Brood making pesto in a pestle and mortar with young cooks

Alex Thurman of Feed the Brood making pesto in a pestle and mortar with young cooks

To avoid having to queue twice I had pizza with my daughter. I would have otherwise gone for the prawn noodles from Real Thai next door, but the pizza didn’t disappoint and the wait time was not too bad at all considering it was fully made and baked on the spot.

We shared a strawberry smoothie from Just Juiced afterwards before heading to the Cake Off where my daughter had entered with a strawberry tart, a family favourite, but not  the judge’s unfortunately... My husband and I finished off the festival with a lovely strawberry Bellini and the children had a pomegranate and apple juice, all this before heading home to finish that strawberry tart.

It was a lovely day as you can see. If there is anything at all that could have been better for me personally, is that it would have been great to have some more focus on healthy food. A few extra food stalls with healthy options would have been brilliant: a salad bar, sourdough bread sandwiches with veggie spreads, some healthier cakes and bakes,... Healthy drinks were plenty available already, cheers!  See you next year!

Severien’s food photography website is here.