Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Leeds Loves Food Festival

Leeds Loves Food Festival took place between 1-3 July 2011

Once again this was all the tweeties could talk about and how amazing it was.... so obviously I had to check it out for myself!

Now I have never been to Leeds food festival before so I have nothing to compare it to. It was bigger than I expected it to be. I loved the fact that there were lots of Leeds' independent restaurants, bars and cafes there. I think I was expecting a larger version of the Kirkstall Deli Market. There were some independent retailers there too a lot more than Kirkstall Deli Market and a much wider range, but I guess this down to the foot fall millennium square gets to that of Kirkstall Abbey.

I went along on the Sunday, the place was packed out and it was gorgeous sunshine to top!

There was so many luscious food smells coming from every direction, I didn't know where to go first. The smell of paella lured me over to Viva Cuba's stall... I was impressed with the staff still looking so cheery in the blazing heat and demanding customers.

I decided to have a wander around before I made my mind up on what I was going to devour for lunch.

It was lovely to see the portable tea shed out in the sunshine. Happy people sat outside eating cake with vintage tea pots is too cute. If you have never tried the Marvellous Tea Dance Companies wares you really are missing out! I am still yet to decide what my favourite cake is but my boyfriends is the chocolate ones topped with a pretzel, this is because inside there is a sneaky treat of peanut butter (he goes crazy for peanut butter).

I was really surprised to find Wilson's the Butchers had a stall, Wilson's is my dads local butchers and he raves about them all the time. They are famous for their pork pies, but I must say I have eaten plenty of their meat for Sunday dinner at my dads and that is pretty awesome too. There were many many many stalls which boasted the best pork pies... I did buy one myself, don't tell my dad but it wasn't from Wilsons. I bought one from a small stall down the side of City Hall. The reason I bought this particular pie is because it was one I had never seen before... pork pie and black pudding.

Even though there was so many interesting places that I could have chosen to eat I got a little over excited when I saw my favourite Tapas Bar (to date) Azucar. The patatas Bravas was also £1 cheaper than Viva Cuba. I loved the decor surrounding the stall, I thought the slushy cocktails was a great idea too and went down really well in the warm weather.

I decided upon the patatas bravas as they had samples out on the bar and these looked the best in my opinion. They were cooked there in front of me (so I did have to wait a while) and the portion was a lot bigger than I was expecting, but then I forget that Azuca's portion sizes are huge anyway! I managed to find a seat after about 5 minutes of wandering and spying people who looked like they were going to get up and leave, this gave my lunch enough time to cool down.

As I was wandering trying to find a seat a few people passed me and remarked on how delicious and good this smelt. It was very tasty but could have done with a bit more chilli powder.

Some of the other more interesting stalls...

I was a little disappointed in the lack of cheese stalls, I could only find one and there was poor choice. I would have loved to have seen some stalls like that you see in Skipton Market Place.

As I have mentioned it was a really nice sunny hot day... so I couldn't resist celebrating the British sunshine with a truly summery British drink. Pimms. There was a stall devoted to Pimms and I had to have some.

At £4 a cup it wasn't cheap seen as most of the glass is full of fruit. It was deliciously refreshing however. It didn't take me long to finish it, and all Pimms up I decided to walk round the retailers and buy some treats.

 The stall selling American sweets caught my eye simply by its bright luminous colours. It was averagely priced from what you can buy online or from other retailers who stock American sweets. I bought two packs of 'Big Red' chewing gum, which is cinnamon flavoured not something I like but my boyfriend loves it. I also bought some root beer for my boyfriend and some twizzlers for me. I have never tasted twizzlers before and was curious as to what the fuss was all about. They are definitely overrated. They have a plastic texture and barely any flavour. What did I expect from American sweets?

Another stall that caught my eye and my nose was the chocolate brownie stall.

There was such much choice! They sold bags of little chunks for £1 but I wanted a whole hunk of some of these babies! They were 4 for £5 so I chose malteaser, orio, strawberry and white chocolate and orange. I have eaten the orio and orange ones already and they were melt in your mouth little pieces of luxury. Worked really well with Hagen Daz strawberry cheesecake ice cream too.

In search of something to buy to eat for dinner later I found a lady stood on a stall by herself giving out just cooked pieces of sausage. Hoping for a nice evening to match the nice day I decided to buy a packet of her sausages to throw on the BBQ later. The sausages came from a butchers in Ilkley called Lishman's. The tiny morsel I sampled didn't compare to the real thing. I love that these are locally sourced sausage meat, with no added 'whatever' that the supermarket put in there.

They were £3 a pack and were also on offer 5 for a tenner... I wish I had taken up her offer as these are quite possibly the best sausages I have EVER tasted.  I like to go walking in Ilkley and the next time I do I am going to try and find this butcher and stock up!

The BBQ-ed product with beetroot salad and butternut squash couscous.

With all the ice cream stalls and vans around the festival I knew I had to have one as a departing treat. I chose the prettiest looking one and wasn't disappointed. They had plenty of flavours to offer, such as vanilla, strawberry and cream, Eton Mess, Toffee Crunch, Chocolate, Mint Choc Chip, Rum & Raisin, and Stem Ginger. I chose the strawberry and cream, filled with chunks of frozen strawberries it was truly blissful. You can even hire them for your wedding or event!
Heading back towards the Headrow it was hard not to notice the burst of Spain in front of the art gallery and library. I decided to pop down and take a look. What I found was a lot of Spain promoters and the BIGGEST paella I have ever seen! It smelt amazing but I was so stuffed from the food festival I didn't manage to taste any. But here are some pictures for you to enjoy...

Websites: to hire an ice cream van... my favourite Tapas Bar in Leeds for the most amazing cupcakes and tea with a difference my dads favourite butcher for the best Sausages in Yorkshire.