What's better than one food festival? How about two?! MK FEAST was created by Franzi Florack aka @mkfoodrev, who saw that local producers and community programmes were struggling to get their messages out into the local population. Thus a feast was born and on Saturday the 20th February, 3,000 other MK'ers decided to descend on a beautiful and historical building hidden in an industrial park, a fitting metaphor for Milton Keynes itself I would suggest.
As 3 of those 3,000 we wandered down to Bradwell Abbey to see what was going on and I found some really enthusiastic traders selling burgers, cupcakes, cheese toasties, beer, lamb, pizza, focaccia, BBQ - breathe - apple juice/brandy and cider, pakora, chutney, tea, chopping boards, jam as well as maps and soaps. Among other things...!
So plenty to choose from then! Unfortunately, while I thought I had turned up at a fairly reasonable 1:30pm, the fantastic turn out of the day meant that I missed my chance of a pizza or any BBQ so I had to settle for a burger from the Happy Herefords, no photo because Mrs P and the Child got in there before me, but the bit I had was tasty and convinced me that I certainly wouldn't say no, if I knew how to get my hands on any more.
Next came some pakora from Safs Kitchen:
The pakora themselves were tasty, heavy on the spicing and both Mrs P and The Child announced that they were sure fire winners. Which is good considering that Saf's cater for at-home curry nights as well as run these pockets of currified magic. For me, the food was good but not great and I would be interested to see what Saf's could do when they have some time on their hands.
Bourton Farm severely tempted me with their lamb and pork freshly packed straight from their farm. And don't they look smart!
I didn't quite manage to come away with the lamb ribs that the Child begged me for but next time boys, next time.
We also picked up some of Virtual Orchards amazing apple juice. We've had this before and if we see them setting up stall somewhere we usually can't go past without sticking one of these in the back pocket. It really is some of the best apple juice I've ever had and whenever we whip it out for guests it goes down an absolute storm. Again no photo because it all got drunk but Mrs P did pick up some apple and thyme jelly from the Urb Farm Growing People collective. Tart and herby is not my personal favourite flavour combo but Mrs P ate half a pot in the first sitting so I would say that's a pretty good endorsement.
Next I couldn't resist a oozy, goozy (is that a word? It should be), cheesey toastie. Now I know I've not been particularly complimentary of commercial cheese toasties vendors in the past but I've seen them a few times cropping up since then and I must choke on my words as I admit that, yes, this is indeed a thing. And here we had MK's very own version in the Good Times Cafe. Thankfully, GTC have seen sense and offer other items to compliment the oozy, goozy (yes, I said it again), toasties with The Child proclaiming that she was served with the best hot Chocolate in the WORLD*. I've also heard their coffee is pretty damn good too.
We enjoyed the tomato and basil mix with some apple-y coleslaw which was crunchy, fresh and a world away from the mayo laden slop which is usually ladled out of a 5 litre tub from some disreputable establishments.
Finally we managed to persuade Minkiemoo Bakery, yes that's their brilliant and actual name, to part with the very last secret, hidden slice of cake even though their stall actually looked like this:
It was lovely, moorish and over oh so quickly. Still, looking at the pictures of the frankly ridiculously talented cakes on their website these guys are going on my list of 'nice things to surprise Mrs P with when I need some extra brownie points'.
So, in short the event was a spectacular success and the local folk of Milton Keynes showed a real appetite for supporting their community and produce which is fantastic considering all we have to offer in the vicinity. We've still got a long way to run but if this event is anything to go by I've got a really positive feeling about what can be achieved.
Well done to everyone who organised, came, bought and sold during the day and I look forward to seeing you all again!