Two weekends ago, Des and I had the pleasure of visiting the Great British Food Festival at Castle Howard as guests of Tastecard (the membership card which gets you loads of money off at restaurants).
I was in my absolute element, as Bethan + lots of food = fun, fun times. This combination was only made better with the addition of a stately home and beautiful grounds.
Now I've been around when it comes to food festivals, so I like to think I know a thing or two when it comes to perfecting your food festival visiting strategy (FFVS FYI).
I also like to seamlessly steal book titles off of Jay Rayner, which is why I thought I would let you in on my food festival commandments. (I have't yet inscribed these in stone a la Ed Miliband/Moses, but that's probably a good thing...)
1. Thou shalt eat more sugar than usually recommended
One cheat day isn't going to hurt anyone. Plus who can say no to cakes, biscuits, sweets and other delicious goodies en-masse... I also find salt and vinegar crisps are the perfect antidote for any sugar overload.
2: Thou shalt not eat breakfast beforehand
Mainly because you want to maximise the maximal food opportunities available and that bowl of cereal ain't gonna look so good when you start exploring... Which brings me on to...
3: Thou shalt spend at least an hour reccying every single stall before you eat
This is a vital, vital step. Especially when it comes to sussing out your lunch options, as stomach space will be limited. You do not want to stumble across that amazing grilled cheese and pulled pork stand after the fact.
4: Thou shalt sample and buy
If you try something and like it, you should buy it. That's what you're here for after all.
I'm all for the sampling life, but it's key to remember that many of the businesses are small and that samples cost them money. Basically don't feel obliged, but also on the other hand, don't take the piss.
5: Thou shalt wish thee were a child and therefore could have a go with all the toys/activities...
The key to this one, I've found, is to bring a small child with you and then have a go on the toys under the guise of "helping them out". Or just shamlessly get up on those stilts and strut.
6: Thou shalt covet the amazing displays made by the traders
Look at it! It's a train! A train full of pork and beef! It actually has a bbq in it!
We truly live in a blessed world.
7: Thou should stock up on exotic booze and other treats
Because lets face it, you're not going to find cat wine anywhere else soon.
(Yes, really. Yes, I was tempted. No, I couldn't quite bring myself to be that person.)
8: Thou shalt watch in awe at the live cookery demonstrations
How does it all come out so well when they have a whole audience watching?!
I feel under pressure cooking when the cat is in the kitchen...
9: Thou shalt enjoy at least one act of live music and show your support
It takes some serious balls to perform live in front of strangers (as noted above).
As music is less of a focus at festivals, they are often a great place for first-time performers to test out being on stage.
Regardless of the quality or quantity, give them a show of support by watching one song and applauding vigorously!
10: Thou shalt enter the baking/biscuit decorating/man vs. food competition!
Des and I very proudly came in second place at the Tastecard blogger biscuit decorating competition for our plate of fruit inspired pieces of art *cough* and I walked away with a much desired spiraliser!
The lesson is - you have to be in it to win it. So get up and give it your all, especially if there's 100 hotdogs waiting to be devoured!