The Durham bubble can be ridiculously small sometimes so when I heard that the nearby town of Bishop Auckland were having a food festival I absolutely jumped at going (seriously, who wouldn’t for food?)
I’ve lived in Durham for well over a year now, and am totally ashamed to admit that I’ve never really ventured outside – Newcastle for shopping/nights out doesn’t count. Naturally, I was a little bit nervous about where I was going to end up as I hopped on the bus. However, something that hit me as soon we we left the city was just how beautiful County Durham is. Seriously stunning. The countryside is gorgeous, the towns are gorgeous, everything is just gorgeous. I sat in awe for the entire half hour and as we arrived in Bishop Auckland I was not disappointed.
So the festival itself was situated in the grounds of the beautiful Auckland Castle (I thought Durham castle was nice…) and spills out into the city centre, just outside the stunning town hall. With over a hundred different food and drink stalls, as well as a beer tent, craft tent and pop up restaurant, I was absolutely spoilt for choice. Where to start?
Obviously with so much food around I got very hungry, very quickly. Off I went in search of some lunch. My only criticism of the festival comes at this point: it was pretty damn hard finding any plant-based food, or even vegetarian. Obviously the UK is big on meat so it didn’t really bother me, but the smell of hot dogs and burritos and burgers was all too much for me when searching for a salad or foreign delight.
I wandered round taking in all the sights and smells and eventually found myself walking into a large tent that turned out to be the pop up restaurant. For £5 I picked up the most fabulous Indian food, as well as a little masterclass from the chef about making chickpeas fabulous (I didn’t believe him either don’t worry). Seriously, doesn’t this Sag Aloo look amazing? All this for £5?! The dream. The absolute dream. My new found admiration of chickpeas and the wonderful things you can do with them has really inspired me and first thing tomorrow I’m off to Tesco for a tin. Can’t get enough of the stuff. Many thanks to Ivor Peters for cooking up such a feast and teaching me to cook a stunning dish!
But what about something sweet? From gorgeous looking brownies (sadly not vegan) to steamed pudding and fudge, the festival had everything a girl could want. My favourite was the cinder toffee (above) from Sweet Sally Cinnamon, in fact I bought a bag to take home with me, as well as a jar of salted caramel sauce for Ollie. The toffee is so crunchy but then chewy and has such a rich flavour. If you’ve never had cinder toffee then you’re missing out! Find yourself some right now! The stall also sold cute little hot chocolate stirrers, chunks of flavoured chocolate on the ends of spoons, ready to be stirred into hot milk. If they did a vegan version I’d be there so fast!
I wish I could tell you more about my time at the festival – sadly I had to jump back on a bus and head back to Durham almost as quickly as I arrived 🙁 I did, however, manage a quick Boots trip – went in for some plasters, came out with a BB cream, lipstick and nail polish. (I’ll keep you posted on these – I think I’ve found my dream lipstick!)
If I took anything from the event it was how beautiful the area outside Durham City was. As someone who flip-flops between the South Downs and North Yorkshire Moors, it was wonderful to find somewhere a little different but just as wonderful.
And what can I say about the food? Well, its food. So obviously it was amazing.
What did you get up to this weekend?0