The concept of a festival for most of us is one of muddy fields, loud music, rain and over-priced roast pork and apple sauce sarnies.But a foodie bent is slowly making its way into these celebrations of music. With Glastonbury on hiatus as the land lies fallow, other major UK festivals have stepped up to the plate, offering more than just camping, wild outfits and musical acts – food is the new festival cool.
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Anna Mae’s Mac and Cheese truck has made appearances on the road this year; it popped up at both Wilderness and Secret Garden Party serving variations on this Southern American classic including the ‘Kanye Western’ – mac n cheese with barbecue sauce, hot dog chunks and chives.The food movement has hit the summer festivals this year, which will hopefully mean an increased quality of the offerings overall. At Wilderness, held in the grounds of the stunning Cornbury Park, Yotam Ottolenghi, restaurateur and writer, cooked up a banquet drawing on his Middle Eastern culinary roots.
Even Fergus Henderson, the much-loved British celeb chef, was spotted wandering around the party in his typically unmistakable attire. The celebrated local cooking school Thyme, which features classes from culinary luminaries such as Jose Pizarro, also had a tent. Bestival, held on the Isle of Wight, may be renowned for its underground acts (although this year you can catch a glimpse of Stevie Wonder on the main stage); but an alternative performer of a different kind makes an appearance too.
Kerstin Rogers, aka Miss Marmite Lover is hosting an Underground Restaurant on site; she’s the queen of the pop-up restaurant in the UK, having been the first and most famous individual to host a supperclub in her house. Influenced by the high seas and the glory days of tall ships, flamboyant merchants and shiny brass buttons, food will be served on beautiful vintage crockery, nautically uniformed staff and bubbles in vintage glassware.
The menu is still TBC but rumour has it Kerstin is waving away normal fayre for the likes of South Seas Soup served in coconuts, seafaring fresh spaghetti with a seasonal salad of flowers and the scrumptious sounding Shipwreck Pavlovas with salted caramel. Bestival runs from 6-10th September, tickets from Thursday £180/£170 from Friday. Tickets for the Underground Restaurant are £40.70 (incl booking fee) for lunch, early or late dinner and there is a brunch on Saturday at £22; tickets are available from www.bestival.net