You might of guessed by now that my husband and myself love food and anything to do with it, so when we were invited to Cheshire Oaks for their Taste of Cheshire food festival, we jumped at the chance. Not only is it food, but local food.
To be honest, I had not even heard of Cheshire Oaks before and I have no idea why. It really isn’t that far from Manchester, it only took us an hour by train, and it has incredible outlet shops with massive discounts.
Although we were there mainly for the food festival, before the demonstrations started we had a chance to take a look around the shops and do some shopping ourselves. I couldn’t believe how many shops there were there, but it is still easy to walk round them all. We naturally gravitated straight towards the Nike outlet store and I think Dave (my husband) thought I might end up moving in there. I was immediately drawn to all the brightly colours trainers that were much cheaper than regular sports shops. After deciding that if I couldn’t just decided on one pair I wouldn’t get any, I picked up a purple long-sleeved top that is designed to keep you dry. I think this will come in very handy working out outside in Manchester in the Winter. There are loads of other great sports shops as well and I picked up some tops in Reebok.
If fitness clothes are not your thing and you want to pick up something for your kitchen, their range of kitchenware stores is pretty big. I really love everything in the Le Creuset range and have put a few items on my Christmas wish list. Although they are usually seen as kitchen items for the rich, the outlet store has huge discounts.
After we had tired ourselves out with shopping, it was time to sit down and enjoy some of the food demonstrations that were part of the food festival and taste what they were cooking.
First up was Judy Harper from Le Creuset who really showed how diverse the Le Creuset range was – they literally have something for everything and everyone. She served up some delicious blinis topped with creme fraiche and mustard, beetroot and mackerel. I am really a fan of mackerel now, especially when it is served like this.
She then moved on to making what I would say is now one of the best breads I have ever tasted. It was a sun-blushed tomato and rosemary flatbread with a tapenade to dip it in. It was so good that I could have easily eaten it all.
Next up was David Mooney who provided a cooking demonstration and comedy show all rolled in to one. He did start off by saying that chicory was evil, which I am not sure I nor my Belgium relatives can forgive him for, but he was slightly forgiven when he cooked the chicory up in a nicoise style salad that used mullet instead of tuna. I had never tried mullet before, but I shall be keeping a look out for it from now on. David is big on not wasting food and I totally agree with him. He spoke about how some people would look at something in their fridge that was a little bit brown and throw it away, but most of the time you can pull the brown leaves off or chop a bit off and it is perfectly fine. There is so much food wasted around the world and more needs to be done to stop it.
We then got to try some tequila and lime cheese that definitely packed a punch!
After the demonstrations had finished, we had a walk round all the stalls at the food festival and got to try some of the fantastic local produce, from sausages, sauces, fudge, beer and cheese. The honey beer was one of our favourites and we are looking forward to cooking with it, which David also did during his demonstration. We also bought a garlic chilli sauce that I can’t wait to BBQ with some chicken.
Although the stalls were selling some great local produce, I wish there had of been more stalls selling meals made of local produce, rather than mostly things you could take home. Maybe an idea for the next one they host.
We then headed in to Chester, which is where we got the train to and from and had a walk round one of my favourite cities. The architecture is amazing when you look up above the shop level. We also came across an amazing little Caribbean place that had jerk chicken that came close to being as good as what we had in the actual Caribbean. If you are ever in Chester, check out Belly Full.
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