Abergavenny Food Festival – the way a food festival should be

As you may remember, I recently had a less than enjoyable experience at a food festival, but I’m now happy to report that my faith in food events has been restored by the Abergavenny Food Festival in Wales.

The Abergavenny Food Festival

The Festival has been going and growing for 19 years (longer than any other!) and offers a brilliant way for people of all ages, cultures and professions to come together and learn about food.

Last weekend Alex (Gingey Bites) and I took at early(ish) morning (hey, it was before 9am!) drive through the lovely Welsh countryside to get in early for a day of food celebration.

At the press launch, we heard from Aine Morris the CEO of the Abergavenny Food Festival, and Tom Kerridge, who you’ll know from various cooking shows. They shared why the Festival was so important to them and it got me excited about what the event was aiming to achieve around educating people about food.

Abergavenny Food Festival

We may also have tested some delicious baked goods from Alex Gooch and this surprisingly good chocolate almond milk from Boringly Good.

Abergavenny Food Festival

After the press launch, I raced off to the Priory for the workshops I’d prebooked. While my day was set in stone, Alex was very lucky to wander the event site checking out traders, the Castle, and the Linda Vista Gardens while I learned a few tricks (she’ll probably tell you about her day on her blog!). I was a bit jealous, but I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t pack out my days next year!

Never fear, there was food nearby! I was excited to find that there were plenty of food options and some great traders in the Priory courtyard, so I wasn’t missing out on the festival entirely.

Ticketed events

To access the non-ticketed events, you needed a wristband. This gave you access to the market, the Castle and the Linda Vista Gardens, where a range of fun things were organised, including cooking demonstrations (over the fire and in a proper kitchen).

The ticketed event options were brilliant though, ranging from chef talks to hands-on workshops like photography, and gin masterclasses. I went for the hands-on workshops and spent the day learning tips and tricks about smartphone photography, and food styling. As someone who never takes notes, I learn by doing and both sessions were great for giving us an opportunity to get involved.

It’s defintely worth getting a couple of ticketed events in, but don’t make the mistake I made and book out your whole day with ticketed events unless you’re going to the Festival for both days. You’ll soon (like me) regret missing out on the amazing traders and other activities.

Abergavenny Food Festival

Traders

I had an hour to walk round the market area in the late afternoon and it was brilliant to see a mix of traders selling a wide range of goods from smoked meats and fish to grains, tomatoes, bread and cured meats. While there were some traders who had come a fair way to be involved in the event, many were local to Wales (one was just eight miles down the road!) and quite a few were from just over the bridge in Somerset and Wiltshire.

That’s the way a food festival should be! We loved seeing local produce and talking to traders about why they came to the Abergavenny Food Festival.

Abergavenny Food Festival

Abergavenny Food Festival

Abergavenny Food Festival

Abergavenny Food Festival

Abergavenny Food Festival

Eat Your Words

After our long day, we needed sustenance and we were glad we’d booked tickets for the Abergavenny edition of Bristol’s Eat Your Words.

We were lucky to have our meal cooked by the author of the chosen cookbook! Olia Hercules cooked up a Georgian feast based on recipes from her new book Kaukasis and shared her passion for food from the Caucasus region.

Abergavenny Food Festival, Kaukasis and Eat Your Words

Abergavenny Food Festival, Kaukasis and Eat Your Words

Abergavenny Food Festival, Kaukasis and Eat Your Words

At the end…

It was a long day, but it also wasn’t. In fact, I think it went way too quickly. There were so many things to see and do in Abergavenny, and so much of it was about local and good quality producre that it’s the perfect example of a food festival.

I *cannot* wait for the 20th anniversary of the Abergavenny Food Festival next year! In fact, Alex and I are already making plans to be there for the full weekend!

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Bristol Gin Festival from a Finnish perspective

Like Karis, I don’t enjoy ginger but gin has never been a problem. Therefore, it’s no surprise that I was excited to hear the Gin Festival was coming to Bristol while I’d be visiting.

The festival, which has been touring the UK since 2013, was set up at The Station in the Bristol city centre. It’s an easily accessible venue with a great courtyard. We arrived about an hour after gates had opened and the place was packed, music was playing and people were mingling happily.

While the atmosphere was great, the queue to the ticket counter was a bit daunting. I guess that’s the price to pay for an atmosphere like that, but at least the crew were up to the task and the line moved quickly and efficiently, and before you knew it we had our stack of vouchers.

Gin Festival

Vouchers and brilliant glass now in hand, we browsed the comprehensive event guide about all the gins available at the festival. The booklet was complete with drink recipes, gin quizzes, tasting notes and other interesting info. We picked various drinks from the booklet (admittedly, the garnishes played an important role in the decision making) and headed over to the bars. They were divided into four different areas and the booklet guided you to the right corner of the counter. Very efficient! Cocktails were also available, but we stuck to the main feature of the night – gin and tonic.

Speaking of tonic, there was a selection of Fever-Tree tonics available as mixers and the guide book came with recommended tonics for each gin. And the recommendations seemed spot on.

After cruising around the crowded expo hall we headed out to the courtyard to enjoy our drinks. It was surprising and pleasing to notice how different all the different variations were and I developed a new-found appreciation for the different styles of gin and the versatility of such a simple combination.

Gin Festival

What we drank (garnish and mixer):

  • Blackwoods Vintage Dry 60 (mint & lime with Fever-Tree aromatic tonic)
  • Poetic License Old Tom (apple with Fever-Tree ginger ale)
  • Trevethan Cornish Gin (orange and clove with Fever-Tree elderflower tonic)
  • Eccentric Citrus Overland (lemon and thyme with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic)
  • Kalevala (lime with Fever-Tree Indian tonic)
  • Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger (apple with Fever-Tree soda water)
  • Ely Dark Chocolate (with orange juice)

We really enjoyed our night and the drinks we tried (sadly all agreed that the Ely Dark Chocolate wasn’t to our tastes, but it’s good to give things a go, though!), so thanks to the Gin Festival team!

Perhaps the Gin Festival should come to Finland?

Juho.

Details: The Gin Festival has regular events around the UK, take a look at their website to see where they will be next!

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A long weekend in Amsterdam

My holidays are usually pretty packed, but now that we can go away for 3-4 days at a time, we have a little more time to relax. Not.

Earlier this month, we finally made it to Amsterdam. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. As a history buff and foodie, I’m keen to go anywhere with old buildings and good food.

As it was my first time in Amsterdam and we only had four days, we did a lot of the very touristy things – ate cheese, visited some windmills, walked through the red light district and ate some dutch goodies.

We had a really good weekend, so I thought I’d share what we got up to:

Explore the canals

This one is pretty easy – walk around. Amsterdam is compact; there are a lot of different aspects to the city in a very small space (it seems). I can highly recommend just walking along the canals, taking in the sights, particularly the houses:

  • You’ll note that some a bit wonky – in some cases this is on purpose because apparently if your house leans forward, it looks bigger.
  • Keep an eye out for the hook holders jutting out from the top of many – they were used to haul up goods to the top level of the house so they remained dry.
  • Take a look at the make up of each house – many have coats of arms and imagery to show who owned the house and what that person did for a living. I think the more detailed the image, the more ‘well-to-do’ the person living there.

Amsterdam canals

I found it interesting that because space was so sought after, housing lots were narrow and tax was charged on frontage. Therefore, houses were narrow, but often extended backwards a fair way. These houses look very small on the outside, but some have 30+ rooms and would be considered mansions.

I could keep going because it was absolutely fascinating learning about how things worked in old world Amsterdam, but I’ll let you figure all of that out when you get there.

If you don’t want to walk around the entire time, I can highly recommend a canal cruise. You’ll get a bit of commentary and you can see a huge amount of the canals, without needing a foot massage! We did a cruise with the Blue Boat Company.

Amsterdam canals

The infamous red light district

One of those places you read and hear about often. You’ll find that it’s crowded once it starts to get dark and the throng of people don’t really stick around, they just take a look and move through. I can recommend doing the same. Take a look – see what the buzz is all about – and then move on to other (more interesting) things, like the Museumplein to get your obligatory photo with the Iamsterdam letters. Keep in mind that food and drink is expensive in the red light district because it’s so touristy.

Amsterdam redlight

Markets

I love markets and I always try to fit one or two in wherever I go, much to the annoyance of my husband. We were very lucky in that Dappermarkt was right outside our AirBnB, so even walking from the train station to the place we were staying was fun!

We also went to the Albert Cuyp Market. It was long and there were plenty of goodies to view (and eat!). You probably don’t need to go to both, but I recommend going to at least one.

Amsterdam markets

A countryside tour

All you need for this is half a day, really. We chose a half-day tour that would take us to see the windmills in Zaanse Schaans, try cheese in Volendam and see clogs being made in Marken. We had a quick lunch in Volendam, which consisted of kiplings, oorlog patates and we may have had some poffertjes to round out our deep-fried meal of champions.  The tour we took was excellent, because we got to see plenty in a short space of time.

Amsterdam windmills

A cheese tasting class

What’s a trip to Amsterdam without cheese? I found this by accident and I’m really glad I did! For 16 euro, you’ll get an hour full of cheese with a few wines. Held at Reypenaer Cheese – an unassuming shop front on Singel representing a company that doesn’t actually make the cheese, they just ripen it.

Amsterdam cheese tasting

You’re shown downstairs in their shop to a small room with desks all set up for our session. No joke, kind of felt like we were in a classroom – it has tables with all the implements you need to taste cheese successfully.

We were given the history of the company and what they do, as well as a taste of their five cheeses. The best part – the cheese was left on the table with you, so you could have as many testers as you wanted to get your mouth around the various flavours and textures.

Amsterdam cheese tasting

On the plus side, we scored cheaper tickets to the Bols experience as a package deal…

Heineken and Bols experiences

There’s always seems to be some kind of alcohol-based museum in the cities we go to. In Amsterdam, there were two: the Heineken Experience and the Bols and Genever Experience.

We went to both.

The Bols and Genever Experience was actually really interesting in terms sensory activities. My favourite part was smelling the flavours of the various liqueurs and trying to work out what they were. It takes about an hour to go through and at the end you get a cocktail of your choice.

Amsterdam House of Bols

The Heineken Experience was actually disappointing for me. I didn’t like the way they had set things out and I didn’t enjoy waiting 20 minutes for the ‘brew you ride’ which wasn’t anything spectacular. Part of the ticket price gives you two beers at the end of the experience and you get a quarter-pint or so right after the ‘brew you ride’. If you must go, I can recommend not going on a weekend – we stopped by on the Saturday and we could see from just the outside that it was packed because the queues were huge.

Amsterdam Heineken experience

This was clearly no relaxing tour of Amsterdam; we were most definitely tired by the time we’d finished everything on this list, but I really felt like I’d managed to see so much of Amsterdam. I should also note that we also went to a few other places not mentioned here, but the above were my highlights (or things I felt I should cover).

Happy to share my tips if you have any specific questions!

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Frome Independent Market

Last Sunday, I joined the throng of people and dogs wandering the Frome Independent market on a stunning Spring day. Taking up practically the whole centre of town, the market covers a really great range of products from independents, including second-hand goods, art, fashion, food and drink.

It felt like a little adventure as we wandered Frome town centre looking at stalls – they seemed to be everywhere! We started in the ‘flea market’ area and browsed vintage fashion, books and homewares. Thankfully, the prices ranged from 1 pound per piece jumble sale style to carefully curated vintage all priced separately. I think it’s nice to have something for everyone. I picked up a couple of cute plates that I want to use as photography props and did some wishful thinking about a few other items.

Frome Market

Because we’d skipped breakfast, we were getting quite hungry by this point and didn’t want to keep wandering until we had found food. Thankfully the next section of the market was the ready to eat food. There was a brilliant selection to choose from, including American BBQ, Italian, salt beef, Thai, Indian, Japanese, pies, Persian, hog roast and more. It made for some serious internal arguments because I hate making a decision when there is so much choice. After passing the Thai stand however, I knew what I wanted – it smelled just as I thought it should and I could see the Pad Thai being made right there in front of me. Despite the noodles being a little chewy, the flavour was awesome and the rest of the ingredients were well-cooked.

Food at Frome Market Food at Frome Market Food at Frome Market

I should also mention that while we waited in line, we may have bought some ambrosial cannoli from the stall next door. They were perfect. Crispy where they should have been and the fillings were creamy and light (despite being so so naughty).
Food at Frome Market Food at Frome Market

After re-fueling, we continued on to the high street. Here’s where you’ll find green and white striped farmers’ market tents lining the street, separated by that throng of people and dogs I mentioned earlier. We perused hand made homewares and fashion and stared longingly at locally made bread, cakes, pies, dips, beers, ciders and wines, as well as local produce like meat, vegetables, dairy and oils, knowing we couldn’t very well buy one of everything. My husband is a huge fan of Portuguese tarts, so the local purveyor was one of our stops. Probably one of the best I’ve had – a perfectly crispy, light shell with a just-wobbly custard, I can definitely recommend them.

Goodies at Frome Market Goodies at Frome Market Produce at Frome Market Produce at Frome Market Produce at Frome Market

From there, it was up a narrow cobbled street with small independent makers displaying their wares on small tables. Beautiful art, cupcakes and beauty products were just a few of things you could pick up. At the top it wasn’t obvious where to go and going back down the street we just came up seemed a little crazy considering the number of people, but we took a small street and it turns out there were even more stalls there! See, adventure!

At the bottom we went back to the cobbled street to revisit The Bakemonger to buy some of their stunning and colourful edible art. As I said to them, I hate buying such beautiful things knowing I’m going to destroy them (by eating them). Later in the day with a cup of tea, I demolished the citrus tart I bought, which had the most divine thin and buttery tart shell.

The Bakemonger at Frome Market

I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed a market as much as I enjoyed this one in a really long time. I really did feel like I was on an adventure, even though at the beginning I was slightly overwhelmed by the sheer size and choice. I’m really looking forward to going back to find more exciting things that I probably missed this time around.

 

The details
Where: Frome
When: First Sunday of every month, 10am to 3pm
Website: thefromeindependent.org.uk

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Bread workshop: It’s all about the buns

I love bread.

The infinite textures and flavours you can create with a base of yeast, flour and water means you will never ever get bored. Add some seeds, maybe some dried fruit, perhaps some pesto. Can’t have wheat? Try the steadily growing range of alternatives and mix with whatever your heart desires. I’m a lover of sourdough and have tried my hand at getting it right (it’s harder than it looks and sounds) and I love experimenting with flavours and shapes – my instagram account reflects this.

Pre-bake brief
Danielle and the team during the pre-baking brief!

Last weekend I was very lucky to attend a bread making workshop with Danielle of Severn Bites. She loves bread too. So much so, she went to France in 2014 for five months to learn the art of the perfect loaf and came back a professional. Originally from a marketing background (so she’s good at communicating to her audience), Danielle has developed classes to appeal to a wide range of people, including people with some bread baking experience like me!

Everything you need for delicious viennoise goodies + Natacha adding the butter to the mix

Late Saturday morning, I picked up the lovely ladies from Yes Starling!, Natacha the Franglaise and My Nothing Book and we took a mini roadtrip to Danielle’s home near Slimbridge. We were greeted with warm smiles and hot soup, along with some homemade foccacia, of course!

Danielle’s fruit mix for the hot cross buns (the peel is homemade and delicious!) + Danielle adding the fruit to the dough

Once we donned aprons, it was down to business. Danielle told us about her experiences in France and gave us a tutorial on baker’s percentages (which I have never used myself) and this was then implemented with our first batch of viennoise dough. I won’t spoil anything here, because you should definitely book in with Danielle to learn a thing or two.

Chocolate viennoise bread
Preparing chocolate viennoise

Despite there being sugar, butter and egg in the dough, it was perfect for a range of breads and we ended up making a total of five different savoury and sweet goodies: burger buns, spiced buns (i.e hot cross buns in this instance), savoury scrolls, small batards and a chocolate loaf. Needless to say, our four hour session was packed to the brim with tips and techniques for replicating the recipes at home.

Preparing the savoury bread scrolls
Preparing the savoury scrolls

And here are the results…

Bread: Viennoise batard + viennoise chocolate loaf + viennoise burger buns
Bread: Viennoise batard + viennoise chocolate loaf + viennoise burger buns
Bread: Hot cross buns + savoury scrolls
Hot cross buns + savoury scrolls

Danielle’s course was a lot of fun and perfect for beginners (and those with a few loaves under their belts will learn plenty too). Danielle is so passionate about bread and it’s contagious. She offers one-on-one sessions and group sessions for up to four people. For information on Danielle’s classes and when the next on is right here.

Thanks for having me Danielle, I had a blast!

 

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Cocktail fun at Be At One, Bristol

Before Christmas, hubby and I were lucky to attend a Cocktail Masterclass at Be At One here in Bristol.

We arrived at 4pm and were greeted, seated, and offered a Bellini of our choice. I chose the classic peach and hubby had a mango. Both were delicious, of course. We settled in at the bar while we took in our surroundings – classic decor and comfortable places to sit, a perfect spot for a Sunday sesh or a big night out.

As there were only four of us in this session, we each got to make two cocktails from their extensive menu. And when I say extensive, I really mean it. The only downside is making a decision because you want to try everything. However, the crew at Be At One are all really experienced and could offer a recommendation – I just told our bartender, Matt, what drinks I like (including Singapore Slings and French Martinis) and he told me what he thought I’d enjoy – I had the Monte Casino (gin, apricot brandy, lemon juice, orange bitters and apricot jam) and the Island Fox (gin, Lanique, orange marmalade, grapefuit juice, lime juice and sugar). I really enjoyed both and loved that they included some ingredients I hadn’t come across in cocktails, like jam and Lanique (a rose liqueur). It was also really nice to try some different cocktails, that I may not have otherwise ordered if I’d been out and about in a loud or crowded venue.

Matt showed us a few tips and tricks and stepped us through each of the cocktails we made. It was a hands-on experience that allowed us to try something different. We also walked away with some new skills, which is always a winner for me.

The Masterclass is £25 per person for a 90 minute class. In that time you’ll get to make a cocktail of your choice (and if you’re in a small class, you’ll get to make two!). The masterclasses are great for birthday shindigs, hens or bucks, Christmas parties and something just for fun!

Details:
Be At One, Bristol
55 Queen’s Road, Bristol BS8 1QQ
Opening hours: Mon-Sat – 4:30pm-2:00am, Sun – 4:30pm-11:00pm
Website: www.beatone.co.uk
To book:

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Traditional meals in Prague

Much like Estonia, food in the Czech Republic was quite heavy. Basically, meat with carbs and sauce. Also, plenty of beer.

The list of food I wanted to try was extensive, but it wasn’t just sweets. Here are a few of the traditional savoury dishes we tried while travelling around Prague.

Dumplings

On our first day in the city, we walked around what felt like half the city before deciding on a random place we found. We both ended up taking a lunch special – smoked bacon dumplings (pictured above).

Svíčková na smetaně

Beef sirloin in a cream sauce, topped with cranberry and whipped cream. It’s a typical dish that we saw on most menus. I was surprised to find that the sauce was sweet and was made sweeter again with the addition of cranberry. The beef is marinated and slow-cooked, so it’s flavoursome and tender. It’s a heavy dish that will fill you up.

Prague
Svíčková na smetaně + roasted Prague ham with horseradish sauce and potato purée

 

Prague
Roast pork with dumplings and greens + one of the stunning old buildings in the Old Town Square
Pickled sausages

One dish I wasn’t too keen to try was pickled sausage. We got the sausage below at Restaurant U Karla – served with pickled onion and some chilli for a kick. Based on my research, they are considered a ‘pub snack’ of sorts and that would make sense because the acidity works really well with beer.

Prague pickled sausages
Pickled sausages + beer (of course)
Guláš

As you can imagine, goulash is common in this part of the world. It’s another heavy dish, designed to fill you up. I can’t give you any specific recommendations, but we tried it at both Cafe Savoy and Restaurant U Karla and enjoyed both.

Prague goulash
Guláš (goulash) + beer (of course)
Smažený sýr

When fried cheese is an option, you’d be mad not to try it. Plus, it’s everything you imagine it is – crunchy, stretchy, cheesey. A thick slice of cheese (often Edam) is breaded and then fried. In the two cases we tried it, it was served with amazing hand cut chips, and some tartare sauce. I can definitely recommend trying this dish – it’s probably best as a main or shared for a starter.

Prague Smažený sýr
Smažený sýr (fried cheese) + the main entrance at Prague Castle

Prague is a beautiful city and I look forward to going back one day. I can definitely recommend at least a 3-day trip so you can see and eat as much as you can.

Prague Charles Bridge
View of Charles Bridge from the river + view of Prague on the way back down the hill from Strahov Monastery

Thanks for sharing in our Prague adventure, here’s to the next one!

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I scream, you scream, we all scream for… Swoon Gelato

Do you know the difference between ice cream and gelato? I didn’t until recently when I was lucky to attend a bloggers’ evening at Swoon Gelato for a sneak peek of their Christmas treats.

If you were wondering, the answer to that question: gelato contains less fat (win!) because the recipes use less cream. It’s also churned slower than ice cream which means it contains less air and has a super creamy texture. Swoon likes to say that all of this essentially means you can eat twice as much (and I think they make an excellent point).

3

Swoon treated us to some absolutely stunning gelato and gelato-focused desserts, all made here in Bristol.

Pat and her team got things started with mango gelato Bellinis! Genius! I’ve tried putting mango sorbet in lemonade before and it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. But, prosecco and mango gelato worked really well – I can definitely recommend it for your next shindig!

Swoon Gelato - welcome
Swoon Gelato mango Bellini + Pam’s welcome + what you don’t see from a blogger event

Next, we were treated to Swoon’s core range of gelato and sorbetto. As always, I used the salted caramel flavour as a benchmark to compare against other gelato and ice cream I’ve tried. It was perfect – just the right amount of salt, plenty of caramel, and as mentioned previously, super creamy. While I really enjoyed everything I tried, their core flavours that I highly recommend are: salted caramel (obviously), chocolate and chilli sorbetto (which is a must-try if you love rich chocolate with a little kick, plus from memory I believe it’s vegan), and pistachio (the best version of pistachio I’ve ever tried).

4
The dessert cabinet at Swoon.

As a little twist, Pam gave us the chance to make some gelato with the chef (who has trained extensively to make the best gelato at an actual gelato school – though, in Italian it sounded so much better). While I was helping with a batch of creamy vanilla gelato, everyone else crowded around the cabinet and tried some of the Christmas specials, including a mince pie flavour!

Swoon Gelato
Making gelato.

After successfully creating a batch vanilla gelato it was time to test Swoon’s Christmas dessert range. They have a lot on offer, and we tried: the Italian version of buche de Noel – a sponge roulade filled with, you guessed it, gelato; pannetone filled with gelato; and some stunning macarons filled with gelato (it’s hard to find a good macaron, but these were chewy and crunchy – perfect with the creamy gelato).

Swoon Gelato
Some of the desserts at Swoon.

By this point, I think it’s fair to say we were all in sugared out, but content. I can honestly say I adored everything I tried and I’m looking forward to taking hubby to test it all out in the very near future.

Thank you so much to Pat and the Swoon team for looking after us and sharing your delicious gelato and sorbetto.

The details:
Swoon Gelato
31a College Green, Bristol BS1 5TB
Open: Every day, 10am – 10:30pm
Web: www.swoononaspoon.co.uk

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The first Bristol pizza festival

Yesterday, we went to the first event Bristol pizza festival, organised by Foozie. Five of the region’s pizza vendors plus craft beers, and Prosecco. Honestly, with that combination it’s hard to go wrong!

It’s exciting to be part of something that is happening for the first time. Especially if it involves food!

Tickets were only £14 and included four pizza tokens (which could get you a whole pizza or four quarters). Thankfully, there were only 500 tickets available. Gosh, in Australia you’d pay $20 and you’d get nothing, plus you’d spend the day lining up and go home cranky because you only managed to get once slice.

On top of a good range of pizza options, each pizza vendor developed a Bristol themed pizza for the event and attendees could get a quarter as part of their ticket. I thought this was a stroke of brilliance because I’m a big fan of having a bit of everything so you don’t have to decide on just one thing!

I really liked the venue too – The Station on Silver Street! The beauty of being new in town means so many of these places are new to me and we often have nothing like them in Brisbane.

As a fussy pizza eater, I decided before I went in that I would judge each of the themed pizzas, so here goes:

Pizzarova
Bristol Temple Meats – Fior Di Latte mozzarella, pancetta, ‘nduja sausage and salami Milano topped with chilli or garlic oil
I really enjoyed the flavour and texture of the dough and as far as ‘meatlovers’ pizzas go, it was pretty good! I’m a big fan of ‘nduja, so I enjoyed its firey punch.

Bristol Pizza Festival - Pizzarova

Mission Pizza
Massive Cheese Attack – cream, fire-roasted pear, Cornish Blue cheese, Fior di Latte mozzarella, Fontina, cracked black pepper, a drizzle of honey
This pizza was my number 2. The base was well-cooked and I loved the combination of flavours – the stand outs, of course, being the sweet pear and sharp blue cheese – strong but surprisingly smooth (and I’m not usually a lover of blue cheese!).

Bristol Pizza Festival - Mission Pizzas

Woodchop Pizza
PeSSto Great Britain – pesto, salami from Somerset Charcuterie and sun-dried tomatoes
Unfortunately, I think they were too busy at the time we got our PeSSto Great Britain because the base just wasn’t cooked enough. Toppings-wise, I felt the sundried tomatoes didn’t add to the overall flavour and we couldn’t taste any pesto. The Somerset Charcuterie salami was really nice though.

Bristol Pizza Festival - Woodchop Pizza

Pizza Bike
Drizzle in Brizzle – sourdough base, tomato sauce, Cheddar cheese, fresh herbs, pesto, oils
Pizza Bike had my favourite tomato base – tangy and flavourful. Unfortunately, the pizza was really difficult to eat because the base was quite soggy or undercooked, I couldn’t tell which. I really like flavour of the base though. As a sourdough lover, I’m keen to buy some of their bases to make pizza at home without the mess!

Bristol Pizza Festival - Pizza Bike

Winner – Baz & Fred
The Young Mucker – tomato, mozzarella, fennel sausage and tenderstem broccoli
For me this pizza was the winner. The based was cooked perfectly, making it easy to eat (I could eat it one-handed without the topping going everywhere). I also loved the combination and taste of the toppings – aromatic fennel always goes well with pork, and the broccoli was perfectly cooked.

Bristol Pizza Festival - Baz and Fred

Thanks for putting together Bristol’s first pizza festival, Foozie; I’m looking forward to the next one!

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My new home – Bristol

If you’ve been following our Instagram feed and even our Facebook page, you’ll have noticed by now that I’m no longer travelling per se. We arrived in Bristol on 3 October and have been living in AirBnBs while job hunting and being tourists.

When I tell people we’ve relocated here they usually ask why. But not just, ‘why did you move to Bristol?’, it’s more like, ‘why the hell would you choose to move to the UK? It’s so much nicer in Australia!’. Obviously I then have to explain that a lot of Australians do it because it’s cheaper to travel all over Europe while living in the UK. Most people nod in understanding, but their faces say otherwise haha.

Bristol food
Eat a pitta falafels from St Nicholas markets + Moroccan from St Nicholas markets + salad from The Stable, Bristol

Once past the moving to the UK question, they ask why we chose Bristol over London. It’s probably a fair question because London is effectively the centre of everywhere. And that’s exactly why we didn’t want to live there – too big, takes too long to get anywhere, too expensive, too many people vying for the same jobs…you get the idea. Coming from Brisbane, I wasn’t sure we could handle something so massive. When I researched, Bristol popped up in a lot of ‘great places to live’ lists and it seemed like it had a really great cultural feel. I say ‘we’ a lot, but Husband didn’t really have a lot to do with it, he was happy for me to choose.

Bristol food
A lane near our first AirBnB + eating a locally made sausage roll at Bristol’s harbourside market

So far, we’ve loving it here. Even Husband is keen to stay (though finding a job has been a tough task for him). The food scene is so vibrant – there are pop ups, new restaurants (and the old ones), markets and events. I know Brisbane had all of those things, but it’s on a smaller scale here. For example, we’re going to a pizza festival on Saturday and they only sold 500 tickets. In Brisbane, an event like that would be open to thousands of people; making it a crowded experience with more time spent in queues than actually enjoying the atmosphere and food.

Bristol
Blaise Castle + picnic in the park

Regardless of the food, every day feels like an adventure as we walk around finding new and interesting things. We’re yet to make new friends, but I’m sure we will. I went to a food blogging event on Monday night and there’s so much camaraderie within the blogging scene here – it’s lovely to see. There will be plenty of posts on here about Bristol, Bath and beyond, as well as the places farther afield (we’re still trying to work out what to do for Christmas at this point!).

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The Georgian kitchen at Bristol’s Georgian House Museum + breakfast at a new ‘Melbourne-style’ cafe in Stokes Croft where we are staying now

My favourite adventure to date was meeting Hugh from River Cottage. As many of your know, I’m a big fan! We went to the launch lunch of his new book, The River Cottage A-Z, at River Cottage Canteen and I basically gushed at him (poor guy). The food was really amazing too – simple, full of flavour and very very British. I’m looking forward to going back there for a celebratory meal once I’ve been offered a job.

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Me and Hugh + Hugh’s autograph + one of the taster platters from the lunch at River Cottage Canteen

Expect to see more of our adventures in the English West Country!

Karis Sign Off-01-01

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