River Cottage Festival - a review

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On the last Bank Holiday of the year we headed down Devon way for a day of fun, sun and food at the River Cottage Festival. Luckily for us, as we only attended on the Saturday, we got all three! Once I stopped fan-girling over the fact I was at River Cottage, THE River Cottage, and was able to take it all in I found myself in stunning countryside with a whole host of things to try.

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The Facts

What:  'The River Cottage Festival is a two-day event at River Cottage HQ. The chance for you to fully immerse yourself in the River Cottage experience. There’ll be food, music, talks, masterclasses and a host of children’s activities.'

How much: a day ticket was £17.50 per person and this included entrance, park and ride, access to all the talks, walks, live music and some free workshops

Camping tickets are also available.


What we did

Our main aim of the day was to see Alexandra Dudley's session at the fire pit. We achieved this and boy was it brilliant! Alexandra was sort of interviewed by (I think his name was Jean) whilst making charred broccoli, life changing, with brown shrimp butter and some charred lettuce too. Not only was the food amazing the pair of them had us in stitches throughout the session. Informative & funny always equals top notch for me. The session plus Alexandra's views on food waste & eating seasonally meant we couldn't not buy her book, Land and sea, and I look forward to trying out the recipes.

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Sadly due to bad travel we arrived too late to get our Hugh book signed or to go on the foraging walk we were eyeing up,  so spent the rest of the day indulging in food, drink, music and a touch of window shopping. I've picked up some cards for places I'll get kit from when I have a bigger kitchen.  Who knew how much you can covet a kitchen knife.  We also swung by to get some henna tattoos, a new necklace and consider how we would do yoga if we weren't wearing dresses.

what did we eat?

The important thing! We had several pit stops throughout the afternoon, all of them glorious, well balanced dishes that made your mouth water. 

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First up was a halloumi burger and chips from a vegetarian, zero waste stand that was gorge.  The red peper in the halloumi burger made it for me adding sweetness that balanced the salt. And those chips, to die for! We think we've worked out the mix of spices that were on them so will be trying to recreate. Added bonus the tubs they came in were made of vegetables and fully compostable! 

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Next up was 'mutton blessed with ham' from the Rusty Pig. And oh, damn was this tasty. So good in fact I went back and got a tub for my lunch the next day. It had butter beans, fall apart mutton, what looked like a ham stuffing and gentleman's relish. All in a biodegradable bowl. We were happy folk whilst eating this.  

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We then headed to the farmhouse for a 2 course meal, which was a lesson in how to pair ingredients. We ordered everything on the menu and shared. Foodie heaven and now I've eaten dinner at River Cottage.

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so overall?

Overall it was aces. Spending a day eating good food that's seasonal and sustainable with like minded people cannot be beat. No one blinked an eyelid when we pulled out our own cutlery etc. As with any festival the event has the potential to be a real budget buster, in between the free things there is plenty of opportunity to spend. I could have bought the whole River Cottage shop but managed to walk away with only a t-shirt and a book. I do think I wouldn't go for more than a day or a day and an overnight. This feels about right, so you're there early enough to not miss anything but don't get caught up in a spending spree (or maybe this is just me!) All said and done, it's really likely we'll be there next year to do the things we missed this year and I can lug my Hugh book back down in hopes of getting it signed.

Hope you all had a fab Bank Holiday too!

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Peas, love and cider