The first thing that hits you is the smell - a thousand burgers and sausages, marshmallow and curry, paella and strawberries all wafting through the breeze. Then you see the colour - a vibrant mix of hues from the stands and people alike. Finally there is the noise - thousands of people laughing and talking, stall owners shouting instructions and over the top of it all, music drifting in from the band stand and buskers stage.
The Great British Cheese Co. where I sampled their Whiskey Mac whiskey and ginger cheese - RV may have returned for some of this later on as we both loved the warm sweetness that the ginger gave the cheese. I wandered around the Fayre for a good 30 seconds looking for Steve so he could try the bit I was holding in my hand before giving in and eating it myself. I did try - 30 seconds was a good effort I thought!
The Cherry Tree was sweet and delicious, while, after working my way through all the offerings on the 'hot' end of Hot Face Sauces and having a fab chat with the guys on the stand about each of their offerings, I walked away with a bottle of the Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce (the Caribbean in a bottle) for the bargain price of £3.50. It was a toss up between this, the Killer Ketchup (with naga chillis- I already have naga based sauces in my cupboard) and the Scorpion Scorcher (with Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilli's).
The Devil's Pantry was huge and the smells coming off it were divine - but I was after something a little different that I had spotted earlier.
Raastawala, an Indian street food stand that was doing Khati sliders. These looked (and smelt) amazing, so despite the size of the queue, I dutifully joined and awaited my turn. Oh my it was worth the wait. I was given a soft, fluffy side of Naan bread that had been fried off in egg, topped with spiced lamb meat and crowned with red onion, coriander, cucumber, mint yogurt, lime juice and tamarind. I'm drooling just thinking about it, it was that good!
Pork and Co's Porky Mac (after staring open mouthed at the vats of mac and cheese at the Pork and Co stand!). The 14 hour slow cooked pulled pork pork was moist and smokey and the mac and cheese was exactly how you want a good mac and cheese to be - rich, viscid and the epitome of comfort food.
Hunger sated for the moment, we set off in search of goodies to take home with us. First stop was Nip from the Hip. Most of us had drained the last remnants of our bottles from the previous year and we needed to restock. We sampled the Gooseberry Gin and the Rhubarb Vodka and left laden with our supplies for the winter months.
Anno Distillers. Based in Marden, this young company are the first Gin distillery to be based in Kent since the Maidstone distillery was active in the late 1700's. The gin is unique due to the blend of Kentish hops, Kentish lavender, Kentish samphire, Kentish elderflower, Kentish...you get the idea. The result is a smooth, floral, sophisticated and highly unique tasting gin that is going straight onto my Christmas list!
Briar Rose Beauty who was taking her family to the Kids Zone for a bit of a play. Poor thing has been laid up seriously ill recently so it was great to see her on her feet and out and about.
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