The King’s Arms Ale Club

Kings Arms ArundelWith thanks to Rachel Maynard and Alison Griffin

Once again the King’s Arms Ale Club was a hugely successful evening, popular with real ale drinkers and those who just came along for the atmosphere and the sausages!

Hammerpot Brewery showcased 4 of their ales and Leigh gave a very informative and entertaining talk about his brewery and the ales as well as passing the hops around the tables. All fascinating stuff!

The four ales that were tasted were Hammerpot Pale Ale (4.1%), a light golden tangy ale with a full hop flavour, Brighton Belle (4.6%) a light pale ale wih a citrus spicy hop aroma, Bottle Wreck Porter, a traditional black porter with coffee, chocolate and roasted malt flavours (Gold Award, Porter category at National Winter Beer Festival) and Double Helix, the strongest at 5.2%. This was a strong pale ale, highly drinkable with a refreshing thirst quenching finish. Charlie also had on draught the Red Hunter, a ruby bitter.

It was a great evening, warm atmosphere, friendly and fun. The quiz at the end to win Hammerpot goodies was fiercely contested! Charlie provided his famous sausages which didn’t last long!

Very exciting news! Charlie and David (Tatt) Taylor are going up to Kissingate Brewery to brew the King’s Arms very own Christmas ale. David was the winner in a competition to name a new ale for Christmas – so pop in for a pint of ‘Chazzamataz’ which we hope will be on by Arundel by Candlelight.

The next Real Ale Club is Wednesday 27th November at 8.00pm. The Brewery will be Downlands. For £5 you get 4 half pint tasters, a cheery and interesting chat by the Brewer, the chance to win goodies and of course Charlie’s sausages! All welcome. You can’t go wrong…

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Gingerbread Delight at Arundel Museum

Gingerbread at Arundel MuseumWith thanks to Jo Rothery for the words and Arundel Museum for the photos

There was some hot stuff at Arundel Museum today during the celebration of gingerbread organised by the museum as part of the Arundel Food Festival.

There were plenty of visitors eager to taste and find out more about all the goodies on show – ginger cordial, warming ginger tea which was perfect on a rainy, blustery day, crystallised ginger and ginger biscuits as well as three varieties of gorgeous gingerbread.

Two of the gingerbreads had been baked from WI recipes and were very different in texture and colour. Apparently most people baked their own version of gingerbread, some preferring to use golden syrup, others dark treacle, with the kind of sugar also contributing to the difference in colour of the end result.

The third gingerbread had a real touch of history about it. The recipe had originally been created for her son in 1784 by George Washington’s mother, Mary. It became known as Mount Vernon’s Gingerbread – and it tastes just as good now as it must have done then!

Another stand demonstrated how to build an attractive gingerbread house – and someone had added a touch of humour to the display. Sadly one of the beautiful houses brought in that morning had collapsed in transit so although visitors were invited to taste what remained, it bore a sign indicating that it had belonged to the Three Little Piggies but the Big Bad Wolf had come along and blown it down.

Children also had some activities to enjoy, decorating their ginger biscuits in designs linked to Halloween – in fact every single child who came into the museum had a go, as did quite a few adults.

On display in the foyer were some of the exquisite 18th and 19th-century wooden gingerbread moulds from the museum’s collection. Beautifully carved in incredible detail, depicting shells, leaves, even a coach and horses, and my favourite, a cheeky little dog. Most had belonged to T Fowl, a baker in King Street, Arundel between 1773 to 1850, and they would have been used to make decorative gingerbread.

It was not possible for these old and precious moulds to be used to make gingerbread for today’s celebrations, especially as they have been treated with conservation materials, but a friendly dentist had kindly used modern-day dental materials to copy one of them, from which Rachel at the museum had made new moulds so that the time-honoured biscuits could be made for the day.

Well done to the museum for staging a real celebration of a sweet treat which has stood the test of time.

More details about Arundel Museum including upcoming events and opening times can be found on their website: or by calling 01903 885866. 

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Pallant of Arundel: Local Food Heroes

Local Food Heroes at Pallant of Arundel

With thanks to Gavin Gardiner and ‘Mrs G’ for the words, and Christian Doyle Photography for the photos.

Local Food Heroes at the magnificent Pallant of Arundel… Well who could resist ?

As ever, another well attended evening organised by the genial hosts and curators of our favourite local food hall. Indeed all of the great foodies of Arundel were in attendance.
Cheese from the High Weald Dairy was a particular highlight for Mrs G, all being made with a vegetarian rennet, pasteurised milk and all completely scrummy. For myself I was rather fond of the jellies and chutneys from Wild at Heart. Chilli jam is always a favourite but this was especially fine, while Mrs G found the pickled samphire very nice, especially with the cheese !!

But it was not all about food, as we were welcomed by a glass of bubbly, Nutty, from Nutbourne Vineyard at Pulborough. A dry Sussex reserve was followed the sweeter Hedgerow, an Alsace-style wine that would work very well with cheese.

Arundel Brewery showcased their excellent beers with Sussex Gold and ASB, while the recent award winning Old Nucker, a dark old ale ideal as a winter warmer was my favourite. After seconds, I was off to fill my shopping basket…

Have we forgotten anyone?? Well it would be unfair not to mention the excellent breads from Bread a la Mer that were abundantly spread about the shop… Although not there in person, their bread did all the talking and I will certainly be heading back for the focaccia that was easily the most popular on the night.

Finally it was time to depart, and with basket heaving, we headed into the night…

Gavin was at Pallant of Arundel, 17 High St Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9AD, Tel: 01903 882288 where orders for Christmas hampers are now being taken!

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Burpham Country House Hotel, Game Week Menu,

Burpham Country HouseWith thanks to Ann Sutton

I’m trying to work out just why I had never visited the BCHH before. I’d heard for so long about how good the food was, and the whole experience.  As a committed foodie I should have been homing-in years ago.  So thank you, Food Festival, for pointing out their special Game Week.

The welcome was warm. Attentive but not hurried. The sofas were deep, the drinks were perfect.

The food is so delicious, cooked by the owner, who cooks with love, integrity and imagination.

Seven starters, of which three were really imaginative vegetarian.  Being a game-loving carnivore, I went straight for the pigeon breasts, with braised puy lentils, smoked bacon lardons, and cassis-infused vinaigrette. A few little chanterelles found their way in there too. The flavours made any serious conversation difficult to sustain.

My partner plumped for (they always ‘plump for’ in food reviews?) the wild rabbit, wine and herb terrine with pickled wild mushrooms and celeriac remoulade and pronounced it as being too good to spare any for me to taste.

The mains included three game items, as well as wild mushroom risotto, or local plaice. I chose the breast of partridge with wild mushroom and truffle stuffing. Wrapped in pancetta and served with sloe gin infused gravy, a little braised cabbage and fondant potato.  It came with two little legs which yielded even more yummy mouthfuls: unusually for game legs which are often dry. Partner plumped again, this time for roast haunch and loin of venison, which came with an adventurous and very successful red wine and bitter chocolate sauce. And yes, we could have had steak and chips if feeling like it.

Desserts: can never resist Crannachan, with its toasted oatmeal, whipped cream and fresh raspberries, laced with whisky. And I’m surprised that he still had room to plump, but the thought of dark chocolate fondant with Chantilly cream and strawberries overcame any inhibitions.   Treacle tart or sticky date pudding will have to wait till next time.

Lovely wines by the lovely glass. All beautifully served in a ‘cool’ dining room. (Cool in the best sense: so ‘cool’ of them to refrain from the usual swagged chintz at the windows, relying on the extreme beauty of the shutters and clear, old glass).

The bill for this evening of extreme gastronomic pleasure was a pleasant surprise.
I went on Weds.  You may be able to book for the rest of the week, or if not, go anyway, but go!  This chef could not do a boring menu. Too good to miss.

Ann Sutton and ‘plumping’ partner found much to impress at the Burpham Country House Brasserie. For bookings, call 01903 882160.

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Meet the Producers at The Swan Hotel

Meet the Producers at The Swan

Over the past few years, the Swan Hotel’s special menu events have gained a dedicated following, plus a reputation for being somewhat lavish affairs. At the table next to us are a couple who attended last year’s Food Festival event and ‘weren’t going to miss it for the world’ – despite having now moved fours hours’ drive away to Devon. On our other side is a last-minute hotel guest who can’t believe her luck as a never-ending assortment of dishes magically appear in front of her. She dutifully takes a photo of each plate, telling us that her family won’t believe her otherwise. And it really is that impressive.

This year’s event doubled as a preview evening for elements from the upcoming winter/Christmas menu and ranged from the hearty and homely (a blinding tomato and garlic soup; roast pork and apple sauce) to the festive and luxurious (a super-indulgent hot-smoked salmon, a dainty field-mushroom wellington). There seems to have been a stronger focus on providing quality vegetarian dishes this year too – a teensy bubble and squeak cake topped with a perfectly poached quail egg is a mini-mouthful of joy, and the gently cumin-spiced falafel are now at the top of my ‘must-go-back-for’ list.

Local and quality suppliers (as always) were firmly to the fore, and we were lucky enough to have one of the local-est producers – Sue from Roly’s Fudge – join our table, having carried her Fairtrade coffee fudge from the shop directly across the road where it had just been made that afternoon.

At the end of the evening, we are introduced to chefs Scott, Stuart, Tom and Natalie and asked to vote on a contentious issue – is one team’s baked cheesecake tastier than the other’s unbaked? Whose will make it onto the Christmas menu? Mary Berry never had to make a tougher call. (The unbaked won, by the way, and it’s scrumptious.)

All in all, it’s generous, jolly, informal, friendly fun. There’s attentive service from Beate and the gang, a raffle to win a Pallant of Arundel veg hamper, personalised labels on each table wishing us an enjoyable evening, Christmas crackers, free packets of grow-your-own salad seeds, complementary Fairtrade chocolates and info about the Food Festival’s chosen charity FareShare as take-homes – a host of tiny details that, once again, add up to a tremendous whole.

Proof once again that the Swan’s kitchen and staff are still well at the top of the of their game. Can’t wait until the next one!

To find out about future events at The Swan, visit or call 01903 882314. Christmas bookings now being taken!

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Wild Food Foraging with The Forest Knights

Wild Food Foraging 2013

With thanks to Debbie Burchell

Wild in the woods? Well the weather was – windy and pouring with rain. A cancellation maybe? No way. Wayne told us it was fine under the trees, so to meet him in Binsted woods, where the Forest Knights lease 250 acres.

For the next few hours our group, including one dog and a wheelchair, were taught useful tips, recipes and even medicines from wild foods.

Wayne helped us look at plants we walk past everyday in a different light. Plums and cherries in the fruiting hedges, nettles and thistles are all edible.

He taught us to avoid most plants with parsley-like leaves, hogweeds and all forms of nightshade. Yew trees can be dangerous, as little as 3 pips will kill a 10 year old, although the leaves are farmed by pharmaceutical companies to produce anti-cancer drugs

We found various fungi, but the basic rule is never to touch them, as some have contact toxins. They should be gathered only by an expert, as some taste absolutely fine, but will kill you within 6-8 hours.

We were taken off the footpath into the elusive camp, where a blazing fire and bowls of venison stew welcomed us into the perfect ‘living wild’ atmosphere.

The Forest Knights run several bushcraft and field archery courses as day workshops or weekend breaks in the woods. Details can be found on their website

Debbie Burchell is a trained chiropodist and children’s author based in Arundel. Her latest book, ‘Phoebe Bee in Ambrosia’ is available for pre-order now from Fitazalan Publishers

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Kings Arms Charity Quiz

Kings Arms Quiz 2013

With thanks to Therese Keating for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures

“I could wish you good luck, but I won’t“: this gracious parting shot from an acquaintance who shall remain nameless should give you an idea of the tense competitive atmosphere that hung over the King’s Arms last Tuesday as fourteen teams prepared to take on the 3rd annual Food Festival Pub Quiz. I had long been regaled with stories of the quiz’s famously tricksy and esoteric nature, and it certainly didn’t disappoint – not least with the challenge of coming up with a suitably hilarious team name (my suggestion of The Great British Fake Off was rejected, I felt unfairly, by my team mates).

After a bit of a false start in which one punter inexplicably took issue with the first question (the missing ingredient from the listed parts of Chinese five-spice mix, as you ask), things settled down and an air of intense concentration prevailed, punctuated only by wailing and gnashing of teeth when a particularly brutal question came up. Five-spice stumped a lot of teams, while a surprising number were aware that the jam in Battenburg cake is apricot flavoured. We were even treated to a couple of musical interludes, most notably in the alcohol themed odd-one-out round, when a challenge to pick out the missing words ‘Napoleon Brandy’ from Pete Sarstedt’s hit ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely‘ quickly degenerated into a pub-wide singalong that went on probably longer than was decent. I can honestly say I have never heard that song, or Jimmy Webb’s ‘Macarther Park‘, featuring later due to its cake connection, performed in quite such a unique way.

And then, via prog rock, West Ham, and AA Milne, we came to the end. Full credit must go to the quizmaster and the staff of the King’s Arms for a great night, made even better by the appearance of sandwiches before the results were announced. In the end, the wonderfully named Baby Cheeses and Quattro Formaggi came in third and second respectively, with the equally punny Exquizite the well-deserved champions. We also raised £66 for the Food Festival charity, FareShare.

And in case you were wondering, Chinese five-spice is made up of star anise, clove, Szechuan pepper, cinnamon, and… fennel seed.

The Kings Arms is believed to be the oldest pub in Arundel and is hugely popular for its well-kept real ales, traditional pub games and well-stocked jukebox, as well as regular events including quizzes, real ale and crib nights. Ring 01903 882312 for opening times.

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Drip Action Dinner Theatre at The Swan Hotel

Drip Action Dinner Theatre

An actor reports… With thanks to John Nurse on behalf of Drip Action Theatre

It was alright on the nights. The Swan’s popular dining and theatre evenings, Saturday and Sunday, went very well indeed. Both were fully booked. Five comedy playlets were written by either local author extraodinaire Simon Brett or Drip Action Theatre Company’s very own patriarch, Bill Brennan. They were acted by Bill Brennan, Tonya James, Damian Jennings, Maria Olartie, Paul Jones and John Nurse.

The performance started with a supermarket loyalty spoof, acted by Damien and Tonya. After this, a sketch covering an imaginary Railway Announcers Ball; Bill on a distorted mic and the actors holding their noses to produce very convincing announcers’ voices.

Starters were followed by a micro-surgeons dinner, narrated by Paul, holding his notes on a postage stamp sized piece of paper and actors using cocktail sticks to eat with. The next play, based in Northern Island, was an amusing dig at the goings on in Belfast and fatured the actors using dubious Northern Irish accents.

After the main course was a corny, but funny, murder mystery play. This was acted by all. Damian Jennings followed this with an amazing conjuring trick. How does he do it?

After sweets, the last play was a lesson in ‘Restaurant Italian’. The script used Italian food names in pretend conversation to tell a tragic love story. Bill translated the meanings while it was hugely overacted by all.

A great thanks to the landlady Beata Slapikaite for hosting such fun theatre evenings complete with excellent food. Thanks also to the busy and good-humoured staff. I  admit to not being completely impartial, but going by the laughter, the audience participation and  the complementary comments, I had to conclude it was a great success.  It is worth booking well in advance for the next one.

John Nurse was treading the boards at The Swan Hotel, as part of Drip Action Theatre Company’s Dinner Theatre event. To find out about future events at The Swan, visit or call 01903 882314. Christmas bookings now being taken!

Dinner Theatre

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Healthy Eating with Arundel Surgery

With thanks to Debbie Burchell

ASCA Healthy Food

The smiling faces of Joolz, Liz, Colin and Barbara were pulling the crowds to the Arundel Surgery Healthy Eating stand on Sunday morning at Arundel’s Food Festival. They are all part of the Arundel Surgery Community Association, the voluntary patient support group for Arundel Surgery.

The team were giving out lots of fun ideas to get your kids eating more vegetables and fruit, like making colourful kebabs and mixing up fruit smoothies to drink or freeze into lolly moulds.

Badges, bookmarks and colourful postcards with crosswords, quizzes and mazes were handed to every passer by, all geared to getting the children thinking about eating their five portions of fruit and veg every day.

The Make a Food Face Competition proved a success, with all kinds of creatures and faces created from various foods such as grapes, oranges, peppers and cucumber.

And the children were really enjoying having a go at another game where they had to find the spider under the apples, all winners took away lovely lollies and raisins.

Then…the heavens opened, winds blew, floods ran down the hill, but were they worried? No, they just invited people under their awning to do colouring and just kept on going strong, spreading the word about healthy eating. Well done all!!!

ASCA (Arundel Surgery Community Association) is a registered charity (number 10963930 that exists to support the work of Arundel Surgery. To find out more about the work they do and their achievements, see the website

Debbie Burchell is a trained chiropodist and children’s author based in Arundel. Her latest book, ‘Phoebe Bee in Ambrosia’ is available for pre-order now from Fitazalan Publishers

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Activity Sunday

Apple PressingArundel Town Square

With thanks to Felicity Jones for the words and Nick Jenkins for the photos

What a lovely Sunday in the town square and what a good reminder of the importance of food, cooking skills and inventive use of local produce.

Arundel Agenda 21 group was behind much of the organisation, with volunteers from residents and businesses helping. On their stall, Mike was dispensing Arundel water bags – light weight and easy to have about your person – to minimise plastic bottle use. You can even fill them up for free at the Water fountain by RSVP!

Agenda 21 volunteers were also making smoothies with blenders powered a bike – nothing like a bit of pedalling to work up an appetite for a yummy blend of banana, apple and ginger. They also ran the fruit and veg swap, with frenzied bidding for the enormous pumpkins and chutneys.

That was just the appetiser for the lovely Community Chef, Robin from Lewes. He has such a lovely manner and makes cooking understandable and fun for everyone. With chilled acoustic guitar music from Kyle Lake playing behind him, his stall was a constant buzz of interest in his veggie concoctions made from scratch. Let’s hope he’s inspired a few young (and young at heart) chefs to have a go.

Arundel Surgery’s stall  focused on making fruit and vegetables fun – with a food face competition, an apple tombola, ideas for healthy lunch boxes and much more. This is just the start of community events focusing on health and well being – look out for talks and
walks coming up.

It’s hard to believe all this was in the town square I know but there was even more! The wildfowl and wetlands trust reminded us food is not just for humans but also for our wild animal friends – particularly so as we go into autumn.

Arundel Fairtrade Town Group had tastings and information – Arundel was the first Fairtrade town in the county and we are lucky to have so many Fairtrade options around town.

The star of the show though was the National Trust apple pressing. A production line of volunteers peeled and cored the mounds of apples, and everyone was able to have a go turning these into fresh apple juice. Having had a taste of that, there’s no going back – we haven’t quite got room for a press at home but we will look out for fresh juice from local fruit.

Arundel really is a special town and sometimes it takes a simple gathering to make us realise and celebrate this. Well done to Agenda 21 and the Food Festival organisers for making this community day such a highlight of the week.

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Activity Sunday Family Activities

Activity Sunday Family ActivitiesToday the first thing we went to was apple juicing where we got to cut the apples. It was really fun and worth doing. The juice was lush.
Then we tried Fairtrade chocolate samples, some curry that was more for adults I think and making fruit plates.
The best was bread making. First they taught us about the berries and leaves that you can eat in the wild. I would highly recommend the bread making, it was child friendly and tasted epic.
Alfie (13)

Today we went to town and first we cut some apples to get crushed and juiced. I didn’t try the apple juice, but from what I’ve heard I think it is L.A.M.E (Literally Awesome Majorly Epic). So if you bring your own apples you get loads of good juice.
Grace (9)

Today there was no Farmers Market in the town square, but there was an apple presser. We cut the apples and put them into the presser and it made divine apple juice.
We learned not to feed bread to birds and made some faces out of healthy fruit and veg. Then we went to Mill Road and we made bread out of flour and water mixed with honey. They told us all about berries and food that grows in the wild with nature. My bread was toasty and delicious. I cooked it on a stick on a fire.
Sam (10)

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The Community Chef

Community Chef RecipesWe have been lucky enough to have Robin Van Creveld, from Lewes Community Chef feature at Arundel Food Festival for the past three years. Robin’s knowledge of healthy, fresh food, belief in sourcing local ingredients and passion for ethical, sustainable food production makes him the ideal demonstration chef for our family-focused Activity Sunday events, and the smoothie bike is a firm favourite with young and old alike.

This year, Robin was thrown the curveball of cooking in a mini-tornado, and still kept a cool head and a steady hand. For anyone looking for the recipes demonstrated on the day, they’re here:

Arundel Food Festival Recipes 2013
You can find out more about Robin and the work of Community Chef on their website:

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2013 Veg and Produce Swap

Veg Swap 2013With thanks to Rachel Aked

2013 saw the 2nd annual Veg & Produce Swap at the Arundel Food Festival – quite different to 2012 as a lot of produce cropped later last year! This did leave me in a slight predicament as like several other people – all I really had to swap was apples, anyway after having a bit of a think and getting out the secateurs – I brought along a variety of herbs from my garden including bunches of rosemary and bay leaves.

When 2pm arrived the table in the town square was laiden with baskets containing a mixture of produce from huge pumpkins to leeks to chillies through to rhubarb and ginger jam, which turned out to be beetroot chutney with the wrong label on! There were even glorious dahlias, so it was difficult to decide what to choose.

The Veg & Produce Swap was not limited to those who were lucky enough to have a garden or allotment, as for the first time this year those who had nothing to swap, could give a donation to FareShare… and many did!

We were also lucky enough to be given a wonderful selection of seeds by Suttons, which we handed out, so next year there won’t be any excuse not to have anything to bring along!

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Arundel Farmers’ Market

Arundel Farmers' MarketLots of people assume that Arundel Food Festival must have something to do with the organisation of Arundel Farmers’ Market. It’s an easy assumption to make, but sadly, we don’t. AFM has its own committee and is run separately; we’re just lucky enough to be able to include it as a feature of our Festival.

So we can’t answer questions about stalls or pitches, sorry – for that, you need the email address:

But for those of you with ‘how do I find that lovely lavender stall’ type questions,  we have asked AFM for a list of the stalls who featured at the last Food Festival (October 2013) with links where possible. Enjoy!

Alre Watercress: Watercress Products
Arundel (W.I.) Country Markets: Baked Goods, Cakes, Preserves & Plants
Arundel Brewery: Real Ale
Arundel Butchers: Barbequed Meat & Sausages
Black Dog Nursery: Herbs, Plants & Vegetables
Blossom and May: Soaps
Bookham Cheese: Cheese, Pasta & Sauces
Broadbourne Farm: Eggs & Apple Juice
Chanctonbury Game: Game
Chutters Homemade: Chutneys, Relishes, Jellies
Culberry Nursery: Plants & Vegetables
Daniel & Co Food Services: Garlic, Tomatoes, Olives
Daylands Farm: Vegetables & Flowers
English Gardenwares: Coppiced Products
Flint Acres Farm: Pork
Ginger’s Kitchen: Chef-Prepared Ready Meals
Greenway Fruit Farm: Fruit
Hammerpot Brewery Ltd: Real Ale
Heath Farm: Chicken
Kates Cookhouse: Pies, etc
Krystyna Semlekan: Wool Products
Lordington Lavender: Lavender, Oils, Creams, etc.
Nicola Tindale: Handmade Chocolates
Nut Knowle Farm: Goats Cheese
O’Hagan Ltd: Sausages
Picnic & Hamper Co: Chilli Nuts, Savoury Biscuits, Tarts,
R C Court & Sons: Herbaceous Perennials
Real Patisserie: Bread & Pastries
Roys Bees: Honey
Selsey Willows: Wet Fish, Cooked Shellfish & Woven Willows
Slindon Bakery: Bread & Other Baked Goods
SMH Books: Books by Local Authors
Snaffles: Gourmet Dog Food
Sussex Gold: Rapeseed oils & sauces
Tullens Fruit Farm: Apples, Pears & Apple Juice
Upper Broomhurst Farm: Vegetables

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Sussex Gin Tasting at Pallant of Arundel

Sarah from Blackdown Spirits offering tastings of locally made gin and vermouth at Pallant of Arundel

Sarah from Blackdown Spirits offering tastings of locally made gin and vermouth at Pallant of Arundel

With thanks to Felicity ‘Gin Swigger’ Jones and Nick ‘Shaken Not Stirred’ Jenkins

At last, a Sussex gin has arrived meaning those of us with a weakness for the spirit have a local option. And what a great option it is.

Sarah from Blackdown Spirits (@BDSPIRITS) has created perfect blends of gin and vermouth and she was sharing the results of her handiwork at Pallant of Arundel. Pallant will now be stocking her wares and judging by the sales after tasting they will be flying out of the door.

Her beautiful blends of botanicals are designed to be drunk neat (well with ice cubes just) and for gin nuts like me that’s a real treat. I learned lots about how Sussex Dry Gin involves multiple distillations and the addition of the botanicals afterward. The vermouth can be mixed with gin for a martini or also used alone. The new year will have Rosso and fruit options as well.

Mothers’ ruin?!? Bring it on …

Felicity and Jenkins were at Pallant of Arundel, 17 High St Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9AD, Tel: 01903 882288 where orders for Christmas hampers are now being taken!

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Guild of Village Craftsmen Craft Show on a Food Theme

With thanks to Jo Rothery

Food is the order of the day, of course, during the Arundel Food Festival, so the village craftsmen rose to the challenge of cooking up some delightful and appropriate items.
One table was groaning with delicious jams and pickles, all beautifully-presented, while another boasted gorgeous cakes. You could also enjoy a slice of cake with a cup of coffee or tea after browsing the stalls.
A wood-carver had come up with lots of realistic pieces of carved fruit among his array of attractive items – they’d look great in a bowl as a table centrepiece.
Among my non0edible favourites were the charming miniature birthday cakes perfect for a dolls’ house – they could be inscribed to order with individual dates.
Highlight of the day for me was discovering an all-vegetarian stall in the town square – not only were bundles of lush, fresh watercress for sale, but it had been added to give a distinctive flavour to freshly-baked quiches, scones, bread and pizzas. I walked away with my bag groaning with goodies.

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A Sussex Breakfast

With thanks to Felicity Jones and Nick Jenkins

Heather and her friend Karen displaying their wares!

Heather and her friend Karen displaying their wares!

In the face of sourdough adversity – unfortunately the Hungry Guest representatives were poorly and unable to come – Harrie’s coffee put on a lovely breakfast to kick off Arundel Food Festival.

Sitting under a gazebo in Tarrant Square, we enjoyed homemade muesli, Hungry Guest pastries and fair trade hot coffee and tea. All washed down with Heather’s usual good humour usually only known to the morning commuting crowd from Arundel station!

A great advert for how healthy food can be part of a hectic lifestyle and we left fuelled up for a touring the farmers’ market, Sussex gin tasting, foraging, special menus round the town…

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A Taste of the Past, Arundel Museum

A Taste of the Past at Arundel Museum
With thanks to Jo Rothery for the words and Arundel Museum for the photosArundel Museum

The aroma of a soup flavoured with herbs from Roman times is making visitors’ mouths water at Arundel Museum today. And there are plenty of people eager to taste it, accompanied by a piece of spelt bread – and to tuck into the apricot hors d’oeuvres and date sauce.
Our ancestors may not have had the incredible array of produce we can choose from today, but A Taste of the Past certainly opens up one’s eyes to the fact they made the most of what was available to them.

The exhibition and tasting session follows ordinary folks’ diets from Roman times right up to the second world war. From the Elizabethan era there’s a tasty medieval pottage, with Elizabethan apples for those with a sweet tooth.

The tables devoted to the second world war are fascinating, and include a marvellous comic menu for an ARP Christmas dinner, hand-drawn by members of Arundel’s Air Raid Precaution Unit.

An intriguing dish there for everyone to taste is a Walton Pie. This was devised by Lord Walton, who lived in Walberton and was the wartime minister of food. He cooked up a recipe for a pie similar to a sheperd’s pie but made with mainly vegetables and very little meat which was in short supply in those days.

Bread pudding was another wartime favourite, and visitors could even dip into a jar of wartime toffee.

While the Roman dishes were served up by an appropriately-clad ‘slave’, there was an elegant touch to the Victorian afternoon tea thanks to a very stylish young lady who had made her own costume as part of her A-level textiles studies.

The teatime treats included finger sandwiches filled cream cheese and cucumber or pineapple and walnut, as well as yummy traditional Yorkshire parkin.

More details about Arundel Museum including upcoming events and opening times can be found on their website: or by calling 01903 885866.

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Arundel Food Festival 2013

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Final Night Dinner

With the exception of a HUGE thank you to Arundel Fairy Godmothers (who not only organised a wonderful evening but catered it exceptionally) the menu for the 2012 Final Night Dinner says it all. A faultless collaboration. Roll on 2013!

Arundel Food Festival 2012 Final Night Dinner

The Arundel Food Festival Final Night Dinner: Sunday 28 October 2012
A celebration of the food of Sussex, with a menu created by a collaboration of Arundel chefs

Sussex Sparkling Wine: Nutty Brut, Nutbourne Vineyards
Smoked South Coast mackerel, confit beetroot and watercress with horseradish creme fraiche.
Created by Craig Baldwin, Arundel House Brasserie
Stopham Estate Pinot Gris 2011
Main Course
South Downs venison seared loin and braised haunch,’Acker’s’ glazed root vegetables, celeriac and potato dauphinoise with juniper and thyme jus.
Created by Alan Maynard and Laura Sylvester of Boca Nuevo at the White Hart
Château Deville 2006, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
For Him – Rich Madagascan chocolate torte, milk chocolate and gold mousse, foraged berry compote, served with orange tuille biscuit.
For Her – Lemon and English lavender tart, vanilla and stem ginger clotted cream, foraged fruit jelly, with salted walnut brittle
Created by Sam Walker, The Waterside Tea Garden & Bistro
Sussex Cheeses
Charlton Mature Cheddar & Molecomb Blue from the Goodwood Estate
Burwash Rose from the Traditional Cheese Dairy, Stonegate, East Sussex
Selected by Pallant of Arundel
Coffee & Chocolates
Columbian Excelso Fairtrade coffee supplied by Pallant of Arundel
Food Festival truffles supplied by Castle Chocolates
Wines selected by Mark Robinson, Pallant of Arundel

We are very grateful to our hosts the WWT Arundel Wetland Centre and to their chef Lee Pratt for his assistance this evening.

This event is kindly sponsored by Jackson-Stops & Staff

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The Secrets of a Successful Allotment

With thanks to Kelly Wickham for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures.

Secrets of a Successful Allotment

With what can only be described as a tough year with abysmal weather, growing produce has been something of an experiment for amateurs and a challenge for the experienced.
I made my way to The Priory Road allotments and met Mike de Lara, an allotment holder for ten years. The weather was Baltic, with a chill in the air and icy winds whipping across the baron fields, but he greeted me with a smile, enthusiastic to talk about growing produce.
Mike stood in the middle of a bare patch next to a huge pumpkin, only to inform me that it was around 20kgs and the ones he usually grows are between 40-50kg! Mike runs his allotment as a way to keep fit, “I can’t get motivated to go to the gym, and this is as good as any other form of exercise! I’ve been here for ten years” he explained. “It costs me about £150 a year for the plot and my wife estimates that saves us about £1800 a year in supermarket bills.”
The allotment plots are hand dug every November and then lightly raked in spring to form a good seed bed. Mike is involved in the Arundel Food Festival to help encourage those looking to start an allotment or new owners of one. “It completes the picture, offering people a chance to see the produce being grown. It’s been a very difficult year with the weather though, and it’s been slug heaven!”
Despite only a few people turning up, due to the cold weather, Mike is still passionate about talking to keen growers, “Be patient. Don’t expect perfect results with your produce the first time you try. You learn with experience” he explained, “Remember that no one site is perfect for every crop, just look around here at what the farmers grow in the fields. And, obviously you can tolerate produce which isn’t supermarket quality!”
The atmosphere was perfect, as Mike combined his enthusiasm of keeping an allotment with the visitors turning up wishing to learn more, and the real experience of being out and seeing the plots and produce for real made it every inch the success.

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Park Farm Open Day

With thanks to Kelly Wickham for the words

A cold Sunday afternoon, with an icy breeze didn’t put visitors off from attending Park Farm Open Day, just west of Arundel.

Home to free-range chickens, South Down lambs, Sussex cattle and horses, visitors packed in to see James Seller, farm owner and his staff in action and Adam Shereston perform his famous horse whispering skills.
Young children were invited to sit on tractors and other farm machinery and were described as quite literally “running their parents ragged!”

I spoke to James Sellar, farm owner about the day’s success and how he had found the poor summer had affected his farm.
“We got through the summer, I’d say it was about average” explained James. “It looks to be a disastrous autumn however, with only about 10% of my crops in. If it dries out enough, I’d say it would be a mediocre year ahead, it’s just a huge knock on effect from the autumn.”

James opened his farm for the Arundel Food Festival for the second year and is looking forward to being asked again in 2013. “If I’m honest, the end of October is a little late for farm events” he said. “However, it’s definitely worth doing and we’ve had similar numbers to last year despite the cold today!”
Old and young flocked to Park Farm and encouraged to browse around at their leisure, looking at the sheep, cattle, chickens and general running of a farm.

The most successful attraction for the Farm was definitely Adam Shereston, the livery manager as he performed his horse whispering skills. Adam claims his ingredients for success are good feel, intuition, balance and timing, and partnerships based on trust, respect and understanding.

A wonderful free day out for all ages, seeing a fabulous part of English Heritage in action.

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A Cook Book Celebration with Refried Books at The Book Ferret

With thanks to Felicity Jones for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures

Refried Books at The Book Ferret

Two of Arundel’s loveliest people – Rita Godfrey of Refried Books and Sarah Meadham of The Book Ferret – put their creative heads together to come up with Monday evening’s gathering for self-confessed cookery book addicts. It turns out there are quite a lot of us!

As everyone arrived, they emptied bags to add to a teetering pile of cookery books to swap. There was lots of excited rummaging and recognition of old and new favourites. The Book Ferret was also offering a discount on new cookbooks, so we all went home clutching new treasures.

The shop was decorated with cards pegged to ribbons, on which people had shared their all-time favourite recipes. A lovely idea and there was lots of scribbling down and I-phone photography amidst purrs of anticipated delights.

Finally, Rita took us on a virtuoso tour of the history of Cookery Books from Roman times to the modern day, showcasing her fabulous antiquarian book collections and reminding us of how much this tells us of social and especially women’s history at different times. I’m not sure how Rita manages to part with any of her books!

All proceeds from the evening went to Compassion in World Farming, which does such important work to ensure that nobody forgets the animals at the start of many a food chain and our responsibility to them.

Opening times for The Book Ferret can be found on the website: The Book Ferret
Rita Godfrey blogs at Refried Books

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‘Meet the Gardener’ at Arundel Castle

With thanks to Jacqueline Curtis for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures.

Arundel Castle Garden

I am ashamed to say that despite living in Arundel for over 3 years, I had not yet toured the Castle gardens. Martin Duncan collected about 20 of us at the Castle gates and walked through the grounds. On the way up the hill Martin pointed out trees including a large Cork Oak and told of his plans to plant areas of wild flowers. However I was unprepared for the magnificence of the Earl Collector’s Garden. Even in late October it was still lush and colourful with wonderful architectural plants and beautiful green oak columns, obelisks and a pergola. I lusted after the huge Italian terracotta pots lined up waiting to be planted with tulips. Altogether with the pots and the gardens Martin has 12,000 tulips to plant. A new addition to the garden is a “stumpery”. The sculptural forms of the tree stumps form the basis for a wonderful planting consisting of ferns and euphorbia – some of my favourite plants.
The kitchen garden is managed by Isobel McKinley and certainly the Duke and Duchess won’t be short of vegetables this winter. It is a lovely mixture of fruit, vegetables and flowers grown organically with a pergola covered with apple trees. The weather was cold and drizzly and I wasn’t the only person pleased to be able to warm up in the glasshouses. Isobel and her team grow a wide range of plants including a pomegranate and a guava tree – and I thought guavas only came in tins!
Next year I will definitely be back to see the tulips in the Spring, the wild flowers in the summer and I might even offer to go and help plant some of those tulips!

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Stopham Estate Vineyard Tour

With thanks to Jackie Curtis for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures

Stopham Estate Vineyard Tour
Following a course in viticulture at Plumpton Agricultural College, Simon Woodhead made a major life change and planted 21,000 vines on a gently sloping sandy field in Stopham.
Five years later this should have been his best year ever in terms of production, but our miserable summer let him and the grapes down and he will be lucky to make 1,000 bottles of sparkling wine this year.
Growing & picking the grapes involves a lot of physical hard work. However to make the wine you need to be an alchemist and maybe even cast a few spells. The 2011 wine we tasted was extremely good. You can buy it in Pallant and won’t be disappointed.

And we weren’t disappointed in our Pallant ploughman’s lunch provided by Mark and Jonathan. Wonderful local cheeses, ham and scotch eggs and a marvellous game soup produced by the Soup Dragon to warm us up on a somewhat chilly day. As Wallace would say – “A grand day out Gromit”.

To find out more about Stopham Estate Vineyard, see their website:

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King’s Arms Food Quiz with Agenda 21

The fortnightly Kings Arms general knowledge quiz hosted by Questionmaster Bob Bates and ‘YTS boy’ Jamie Wood is a longstanding institution in its own right. This Food Festival special, organised by Arundel Agenda 21, saw Bob trade in the YTS lad for the combined talents of Kay Wagland, Mick Parr and Refried Books’ Rita Godfrey with five special food-themed rounds, including a guest round from Mark Robinson of Pallant of Arundel. Pallant also supplied the surprise ‘tasting round’ of mystery sandwich fillings – the cunning substitution of smoked trout instead of smoked salmon foxing just about everyone.

Up against a sold-out Drip Action Theatre Night at the Swan and on a drizzly Thursday instead of a regular Tuesday, the A21 team were concerned that there might not be much of a turn out. They needn’t have worried – seventeen teams later, the place was thronged. When the indoor chairs ran out, landlord Charlie brought the outdoor furniture in from the garden, lending the evening a special picnic-y feel for those of us in the bottom bar, which only added to the general good cheer.

Somewhere in amongst the beer, the banter, the questions, the chaos and the general bonhomie, a quiz happened somehow, with the top prize scooped by team “Baby Cheeses” a team made up of members from the White Hart and Boca Nuevo, who won local wine from Plumpton and Nyetimber vineyards. I didn’t catch the name of the team who came second, but they were rewarded for their efforts by a selection of local beers. And as for team Ferret – we woz robbed!

The ‘normal’ Kings arms quiz takes place on alternate Tuesdays; ring 01903 882312 for details.

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Drip Action Dinner Theatre at The Swan Hotel

With thanks to Joanne Rothery for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures.

Drip Action Dinner Theatre at The Swan Hotel

A taste of drama was served up with dinner at The Swan Hotel on Thursday evening, and it was a great recipe for success.
Drip Action Theatre staged nine different brief scenarios, carefully chosen to tie in with the theme of food, some highly-amusing, others thought-provoking.
Among the best, and getting the evening off to a fine opening before starters were served, was Harold Pinter’s Bus Stop, performed by Justine Richardson with Richard Tyrell, Maria Olarte, Damian Jennings, Tonya James and John Nurse. Here the facial expressions of the cast captured to perfection the typically-British reaction to being presented with an embarrassing situation.
Paul Jones did a fine job of delivering the amusingly gruesome tale of how Horace ate himself, to the horror of his parents, before the audience/diners all tucked into some delicious starters.
Then it was time for another star turn with Hendon, performed by Damian Jennings and Richard Tyrell, before the tasty main courses appeared, to be followed by another three performances, including an excellent snippet from Alan Ayckbourn’s Table Manners.
Conjuror Damian Jennings defeated all attempts from the sharp-eyed audience to work out how he performed an extremely clever trick – accompanied by his excellent banter.
The puddings were simply wonderful, a perfect ending to a fascinating evening, beautifully hosted by Beate, landlady of The Swan, and congratulations must go to all the Drip Action players for providing a very entertaining accompaniment to a delicious meal.

For reservations at The Swan Hotel, phone 01903 882314. Details of upcoming Drip Action Theatre performances can be found on their website:

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American Brunch at Sparks Yard

With thanks to Joanne Rothery.

I certainly feel like waving the Stars and Stripes after the fantastic American Brunch at Sparks Yard this morning.
The food was fantastic and the atmosphere brilliant, demonstrating what a very sociable meal brunch can be. The setting was perfect as the event was so well hosted by Andy and Holly Heggadon in their lovely home.
‘Forget about the calories’ was the order of the day as American ex-pat Charlynne Boddie cooked up one mouth-watering ‘comfort food’ treat after another.
We started with French toast with a twist, made easy to prepare with the aid of a first-class American product, EggNog, with added spices.  It just melted in the mouth and I must confess it was one of my favourites.
Then there were devilled eggs, again with Charlynne’s special touch, followed by Denver scrambled eggs made with finely-diced peppers to give added colour and flavour – that definitely looked as good as it tasted.
Brunch in America often includes salads, as it aims to cater for a wide range of tastes, and we had the amazing ‘Chicken of the Sea’ – the US name for tuna, but nothing like the tuna we usually get from cans in this country. Rich in mayo, it was superbly flavoured with seasoned salt and pepper made by American company Laury’s – I think those are a must for any kitchen.
To finish off it was corn bread – deliciously light and fluffy – with honey butter.
Virtually everything Charlynne used to cook brunch came from the range of American products stocked at Sparks Yard but otherwise rarely seen in the UK. All of them help you create wonderful dishes with an unusual twist to them, easy on the eye as well as full of flavour and with a touch of pizzazz – and make it easy by taking a lot of the hard work out of preparation. After brunch I think everyone who had been there headed straight for the shelves in the shop to stock up.
Charlynne herself is an inspiration to any cook – her exuberance and passion for sharing good food in a sociable setting is highly infectious and I’m pretty sure lots of people in and around Arundel will be sitting down to a leisurely brunch in the weekends ahead.

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The Swan: Sussex Food Night

Sussex Food Night At The Swan, Arundel

I was lucky enough to have attended last year’s Sussex Food night at The Swan Hotel.
At the time, I remember being excited by the way (then) new landlady Beata Slapikaite was pushing food to the forefront in a venue that traditionally had been a little… er… ‘hit and miss’, and by her commitment to sourcing local producers and showcasing seasonal produce.

A year later and that hasn’t changed one bit. Park Farm, Slindon Bakery, Arundel Butchers, Sussex Cheeseman, Pallant of Arundel – all suppliers reassuringly still present and correct. What HAS changed is The Swan itself – a MASSIVE refurb, carried out throughout the whole bar, restaurant and hotel. And tonight – completely sold out- is a brilliant showcase for it; with some tasters at table and others served buffet-style in the formal restaurant area, we’re all mingling and chatting and admiring and pointing out quirky features and cooing over the decor and the smart tableware and the funky staff uniforms and the way the place is completely and utterly and magically transformed.

But the star of the show is the food. One of the highlights of the evening is having the chefs on hand to answer questions. ‘What’s the coating on the goat’s cheese?’ I ask. ‘Oh, it’s rolled in an ash made of home-roasted pepper skins – that was my idea’ I’m proudly told. And it’s a good one, amongst many.
Deli-style bits and bobs come accompanied by a creamy humous with a surprising hint of cinnamon. It works. Mini-tasters of the upcoming winter menu include a hearty split pea and bacon broth, celeriac and blue cheese rosti, a scrummy rarebit and crumbly feta cakes; mains include a melt-in-the-mouth pork belly with crispy kale, and baked salmon accompanied by a stunning pearl barley risotto. Add an assiette of dainty puds, a mountain of Sussex cheeses, a stunning array of breads and dinky home-made Viennese whirls, and we’re seriously spoiled for choice. ‘Full as a boot’ as the old saying goes.

From being seriously impressed by this event last year, I was completely blown away this year. The Swan as a restaurant is seriously at the top of its game at the minute. Long may it continue!

The Swan Hotel will host Drip Action Theatre dinner theatre on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 October.

For restaurant bookings, ring 01903 882 314. Christmas reservations now being taken!

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Processional Dinner

With thanks to Jacqueline Curtis for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures.

2012 Arundel Food Festival Processional Dinner

This was the third processional dinner and, having been on all three I would say, definitely the best to date! Starting off at The Osteria for canapés and fizz we then ‘processed’ down to Boca Nuevo at The White Hart. I have to confess I have never poached an egg successfully which is why I am in awe of Alan Maynard who managed to send 30 perfectly poached eggs atop hash browns and chorizo out of the kitchen all at the same time.

The main course at The Arundel House Brasserie was a surprise to me having ben told a few weeks ago that we were eating lamb – I soon cottoned on when I realised that there was no mint sauce on the table! The duck was superb – perfectly cooked and partnered by a very smooth Rioja. I will definitely be eating there again.

The desserts kept coming at The Swan. Brownies and ice cream, pear tart, a lovely butterscotch creamy confection and then a quartet of delicious pots at the end. Could we wish for anything more?
Well evidently we could! So it was a trot down Tarrant Street to The King’s Arms for cheese and port. I love cheese and the array of British, mainly local cheese was very tempting.

The King’s Arms must be one of the prettiest places in Arundel on a dark autumn night with fairy lights twinkling like stars inside and out. And talking of stars – not only were all the chefs up there in my galaxy but also Rachel Maynard who herded us from venue to venue and introduced us to all the chefs. Rachel was responsible for organising the dinner this year and we owe her a big thank you for a lovely evening.

To contact the venues involved in this year’s Processional Dinner:
Osteria Pappardelle: 01903 882025
Boca Nuevo: 01903 884422
Arundel House Brasserie: 01903 882136
Swan Hotel Arundel: 01903 882314
Kings Arms: 01903 882312

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Activity Sunday 2012

With thanks to Kay Wagland for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures

Activity Sunday

With a forecast of rain, a dire year for apples and other tree fruit and key volunteers away, Activity Sunday was a recipe for disaster….and turned out great!

The rain just about held off, people rallied, finding the productive fruit trees and extra volunteers chipped in. Jonathan at Pallant pulled out all the stops.

Apple pressing with the National Trust was scaled down from last year, but demonstrated well what a great activity pressing for juice is. Lots of visitors had a go and the juice was really delicious.

Robin, the Community Chef was creative, instructive and informative. There were big crowds round his stand in the town square and lots of appreciative noises during his free tastings. He explained how to use leftovers and seasonal vegetables – particularly with pears, this year. And his parsley salsa is to die for. A real winner.

Arundel Agenda 21 staffed the smoothie bike and fed apple, pear and banana smoothies to people who’d put in the cycling effort to run the blender making them, as well as explaining about the campaign to encourage everyone to ditch bottled water and turn to tap, with the Arundel Water Carrier and drinking fountain. Special appreciation here to Nell and Mick for making this happen.

The WWT Arundel bird cake makers and Museum and FairTrade volunteers kept everyone interested and involved.

What a lovely day with drizzle…

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Cheesemaking Demonstration at Sage

Until I agreed to pop along to this workshop for the Food Festival, I’d always vaguely assumed that making cheese was something that needed to happen on an industrial scale, involving loads of specialised equipment, some tricky chemistry and something yucky from the inside of a cow’s stomach.
After just twenty minutes with the incredibly engaging and enthusiastic Mandy Nolan, it turns out that it’s perfectly possible to make your own soft cheese in your own kitchen in just a couple of hours. Who knew?
The demonstration was a quick introduction to the one-day courses that Mandy holds just down the road in Poling. In just one day, you can learn to make Camembert, Brie, Feta, Ricotta, Marscapone and Quark, take samples home and start making your own from day one.
Mandy’s enthusiasm is completely infectious, and her passion for what she’s doing shines through, whether it’s gently jiggling curd or patiently explaining the difference between pasteurised and homogenised milk. And the cheese! Crumbly, salty feta; pungent, oozing camembert… Mmm… Think I might have found a new hobby!

Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 October, 10am – 4pm
Cheesemaking Workshops with Mandy Nolan
Contact: 01903 889 730,
Location: Perry Barn, Poling St, Poling, Arundel BN18 9PS

Friday 26 October, 7pm ‘Wild at Sage’ has now sold out, but an extra night has been added on Saturday 27th:
Cost: £30 (booking essential)
Contact: 01903 883477
Location: Sage Cafe & Restaurant, Castle Mews, Tarrant Street

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The First Veg & Produce Swap!

With thanks to Jacqueline Curtis for the words and Christian Doyle for the pictures

Veg and Produce Swap 2012

‘Will anyone turn up?’ – was the question we asked ourselves before the launch of the first veg and produce swap yesterday.

Well the answer was a resounding YES! and we had some great veg and produce available to swap and Angela, our Town Crier ensured that we started with a flourish.

Magnificent pumpkins and enormous carrots suitable for soup or horses! Gavin’s jam was a hit and Caroline’s family bought masses of veg and flowers. If you’ve not tried Rita’s Jerusalem artichokes either roasted or in soup you are missing a treat. And we mustn’t forget the girl from Walberton who swapped her beautifully decorated biscuits. The weather this year resulted in some poor returns from local allotments and gardens but next year we will be back building on our success!

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Start of 2012!

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Guest Blog: Arundel Castle Dinner

With thanks to Linsi Halsey for the words and pictures

Arundel Castle Food Festival Dinner

The evening kicked off with everyone congregating in the Buttery and the ambience was set by the huge roaring log fire to keep us all toasty.  Convivial conversation whilst sipping local Nutbourne Sparkling Wine “Nutty” and enjoying some delicious canapés, which were the creation of Sam Walker of the Waterside Bistro, but were kindly served to us by the team of the amazing Fairy Godmothers.
Mike Imms
addressed the crowd and explained the purpose of the evening and the emphasis being on locally sourced produce, then Mark Robinson, from Pallant of Arundel who selected the wine for the evening, explained the choice of wines which were very well matched to the set menu, and again, of course, were all from Nutbourne Vineyard, so very local.
To start we enjoyed a trio of local produce – again created by Sam Walker of the Waterside Bistro and comprised: Timbale of local Chalk Farm smoked trout, mosaic of local game with green chutney, glazed Sussex goats cheese, accompanied by a selection of homemade breads which were divine.
David Poole
– Arundel Castle’s own Chef – created the main course which was pan-fried breast of pheasant from the Norfolk Estate on a bed of braised savoy cabbage & smoked bacon, in a cream sauce of Drambuie, mushroom and Tarragon, served with baby new potatoes.
The vegetarians amongst us enjoyed mushroom and butternut squash stroganoff, served with rice and dusted with smoked paprika – delicious!
For the sweet toothed, desert was created by Lucy Hopkins of Lucy Catering and we chose from chocolate roulade or Arundel apple & almond tart, I had the tart which was scrumptious and which paved the way superbly for the fabulous cheese course from where else…..but Pallant of Arundel and which was accompanied by “Pallant Pickle” which set everything off a treat.
Finally a selection of local and Fairtrade options for tea and coffee to wash down the heavenly Food Festival Truffles from Castle Chocolates, made especially for the event.
Everyone seemed to have a very enjoyable time, indeed!

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Guest Blog: Allotment visit

Saffron flower“30 people visited the Priory Rd allotments this afternoon, and came full of interest and questions. Some were “experienced allotmenteers” whilst others were just starting off.

The highlight was the experiment for the year which is to grow saffron, a herb obtained from a special crocus that flowers in November. The first flower had appeared this morning- in honour of the occasion?

There is clearly a growing interest in producing your own food from quality, cost and freshness aspects although the amount of work involved needs to be better understood before making the committment.”

Thanks to Mike de Lara for the words. Mike very kindly also presented visitors to the allotments with a handy take-home guide to crops in season, which is available to download from here.

(Saffron flower image is a stock photo for reference only.)

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Guest Blog: Sustainable Food Day

With thanks to Sue Hepburn for the words, Kay Wagland and Christian Doyle for the images.

People-powered smoothies were whizzed up and passers-by were treated to free tasty dishes on Saturday in Tarrant Square, as part of Agenda 21′s contribution to the Arundel Food Festival.

Robin van Creveld, the Lewes-based Community Chef prepared a selection of tasty, healthy dishes using seasonal ingredients sourced locally, demonstrating how easy it is to eat well and be kind to the environment. Alongside Robin, Arundel Agenda 21 ran the Community Chef’s static bicycle, that pedalled by members of the public provided the power to make smoothies from seasonal fruit and veg. Better Tomorrows provided lots of information, tips and free on avoiding  food waste and saving money.

All Robin’s recipes can be found at

So, it is time to get cooking and live more sustainably!

Community Chef images


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Osteria Food Scrabble – Round 2

With thanks to Christian Doyle for the good pictures.

Osteria weren’t going to get two blog posts in one festival – how much can there be to say about scrabble, for goodness sakes? But then they made dinky tile-shaped SCRABBLE PIZZA, and it couldn’t go without mention. Each letter a different flavour? Culinary creativity reaches new heights…
This week’s winners were Linsi Halsey and the indomitable Jenkins, who despite this overheard exchange: “Surely that’s a word, no?”/”Only if you live in Iceland…” were presented with their prize by Food festival supremo Jonathan Brantigan.

Scrabble Round 2

Osteria runs a (very) informal scrabble club every Saturday morning from 10.30. Allcomers welcome.

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Drip Action Dinner Theatre at the Swan Hotel

With thanks to Lin Jones for the pictures

As any fan of Masterchef can tell you, unusual combinations are a risky business. Many a contestant has seen their culinary dreams crash and burn when the marriage of ingredients they thought was going to set the world of fine dining alight – fish and strawberries, goats cheese and chocolate – is rejected out-of-hand by a perplexed Gregg and John. ‘It’s an interesting idea, but it just doesn’t work’ is about as damning as it gets in Masterchef world.
Not least for the timing issues involved between chef, waiting staff and actor, integrating ‘Dinner’ and ‘Theatre’ has got to be a tricky balancing act to pull off too – the idea of staging three niblets of bite-sized drama between courses in a busy restaurant dining room is a fraught with potential pitfalls. Of course Drip Action are the crew who came up with the Arundel Theatre Trail, Boat Plays on the Arun and the Twelve Plays of Christmas; so serving up original ways to engage local audiences is bread and butter to them, but definite congratulations should go to the Swan Hotel for agreeing to host it. Catering for a full restaurant is a tricky enough business without the added pressure of ‘Waiter, there’s an actor in my soup’ to contend with.
But it’s obviously a winner. This was the first Food Festival event to sell out, with a ‘by popular demand’ second night selling out virtually instantly too. The management and staff at the Swan are obviously supportive (if the amount of furniture that’s been rearranged is anything to go by) and the audience seems more than happy to hold off on between-course chatter and cheerfully share tables with strangers to accommodate the staging. The three performances: ‘Private Encounter‘ by Bill Brennan, ‘Between Mouthfuls‘ by Alan Aykbourn and ‘Michaelangelo and The Pope‘ by John Cleese are roaringly well received, the (gorgeous looking) food arrives promptly each time the applause dies down and by the time the coffee arrives, the only question remaining is ‘why can’t this happen in Arundel all the time..?’

Drip Action at the Swan Hotel

Drip Action’s Autumn Performance, ‘Collaboration’ by Ronald Harwood runs at the Victoria Institute, Arundel until 22nd October. For details of future productions, visit
Another special Dinner Theatre performance will take place at the Swan Hotel on Saturday 3 December – for full details and to book, call 01903 882314.

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Guest Blog: Birdie Feeding Time at The WWT

With thanks to Christian Doyle for the words and pictures

“More good stuff for the table today but just for the birds this time.  Arundel WWT gave a bird feeding demonstration along the lines of Ready Steady Cook.  The audience was given a red tomato and a green pepper card while two teams of chefs squashed and mashed together various seeds, nuts and berries, working against the (imaginary) clock.  We even had the ’TEN, NINE, EIGHT …’ shout out when all food had to be plated up ready for the feeders.
The point of the talk was to show how cheap and easy it is to make food to attract and nourish your garden birds during the winter months when their little bodies need fuel to stay alive.  Providing lard or cheese based cakes in feeders or smeared onto tree barks and hollows is a vital part of maintaining bird populations.
I knew that peanuts were a good source of protein, but didn’t realise that it’s better for the birds to have them without husks because of the extra energy needed to get at the nut inside.  Leaving any empty husks on the ground encourages rats and mice as well.
Other ingredients on the menu were sun-flower seeds, peanut butter, grated apples, glace cherries, holly and hawthorn berries and niger seeds – tiny black shiny things which are from the teasel flower head and in plentiful supply round here; they are particularly attractive to goldfinches.
The talk was only half an hour long so it was suitable for young children as well as their parents. There was a lively discussion afterwards from the adults and a promise from the chefs to hold more talks perhaps later in the afternoon for school-age children who I think would love to get stuck in.”

Bird Bites Day at WWT Arundel

WWT Arundel runs a year-round programme of events for families and adults. See the events page of their website for details or ring 01903 883355. This October half-term is Folklore and Fantasy week.

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Guest Blog: Food And Farming on the South Downs

With thanks to Oliver Hawkins for the words and Diana Hawkins for the pictures

South Downs National Park Walk

“Twenty of us meet outside Pallant of Arundel, including our South Downs National Park Ranger walk leader, Simon, and what looks like quite a few of his colleagues (One of them, Kat, has got European funding (a scheme called Collabor8) to help sponsor the Food Festival. Well done! anyone who manages to access EU money successfully deserves respect). Off along the river, stopping for some comments by Simon on changes in farming techniques, and it becomes clear that the group includes some very well-informed members – clarification on the nature of silage and the presence of cows on footpaths. On over the railway crossing and into the fields by the river, where another Ranger, Nigel, points out the Romney ewes and tells us about sheep-farming, with expert assistance from one of the walkers, Sally Field, who knows a bit about such things.

Stop at Splash Farm, between Burpham and Wepham, where Sally’s brother Nick manages to run a dairy farm on a scale far too small and cow-friendly to survive. But he does, and he and his colleague Andy get a really admiring round of applause in the milking sheds. Then through the churchyard up to Peppering Farm for what has been described as a picnic lunch in one of the barns, but turns out to be the full Pallant of Arundel works – wonderful game soup, local cider, coleslaw and ham, and some knockout cheeses including a Burwash Rose so creamy you could die in its arms.
Suitably refreshed we walk out into the farmland, where Peter Knight, manager of the Norfolk Estate, explains how the Estate has established a pattern of farming to encourage bio-diversity, not just leaving aside broad corridors of land between fields, but planting them with a variety of vegetation deliberately to support insects, birds and mammals. So grey partridges which had been virtually extinct are now numerous, as are skylarks, brown hares, and all sorts of other creatures. Very good news, very well explained. On the ride back over the Downs in a fleet of National Park Land Rovers we feel that this part of the countryside is in good hands; many thanks to all involved.”

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Guest Blog: The Sip, Sup and Nibble Town Treasure Hunt

With thanks to ‘La Parisienne‘ for the words.

Xtraordinary Xperiences logo“I am non-competitive by nature. I have a crashing, irrational fear of anything that whiffs of a corporate ‘team building’ event. I don’t quiz. The words ‘Hen’ and ‘Night’ in the same breath make me want to grab a bucket, plus the first black cab heading in the opposite direction, avoiding any KFCs on the way. I am not a ‘group treasure hunt’ natural. In fact, if I hadn’t agreed to blog this event for the Food Festival, I would probably have eaten my own leg (plus trouser, shoe, and sock) rather than be there. I am not Xtraordinary Xperience’s target market.
But what a fool I’ve been. I totally, completely, LOVED this evening.
We met at the newly-revamped White Hart on Queen Street, were issued with a clipboard of clues, a pencil and a map, plus a final rendezvous point and a finish time. Much drinking, bribing bar staff, attempting to trade answers, drinking, learning about local breweries and real ales, drinking, checking out menus and wine lists at the featured venues, drinking, learning about dairy, veg and bread suppliers, drinking, making new friends and having a brilliant night out in Arundel pubs and restaurants ensued. This took a good couple of (chronologically telescopic) hours.
We eventually ended up at Arundel Jailhouse (which for out-of-towners, is no longer part of the British Judiciary System, so nowhere near as bad as it sounds). In the interests of not giving away spoilers for future events, all I will say is what they did to us there was FIENDISH. And DIABOLIC. And NUMERIC. And BRILLIANT. And accompanied by the most marvellous live music, courtesy first of Arundel favourite Will Hall, and then by the accomplished and haunting songs of Johanna and Matt.
A MAHOOSIVE veggie-friendy and gorgeous buffet courtesy of the Red Lion was included in the the ticket price; everyone went home with a pocketful of treasure, and the organisers couldn’t have been more helpful and/or friendly if a bunch of ghost convicts were forcing them into it.
Xtraordinarily well organised, and a wonderful Xperience? Yes. 100%. I’m a complete convert. Still not up for a Hen Night, though (unless these guys are running it…)

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Guest Blog: Nigel Lambert at Zimmer Stewart Gallery

With thanks to James Stewart for the words and pictures.

“For this year’s Arundel Food Festival from 15-23 October, we will be featuring ceramics by Nigel Lambert. He says “My pots are not complete until they are arranged on a table set with food.”
These bright colourful pieces are thrown on a wheel in earthenware, altered in shape, glazed in bright colours and then wood fired. The results are a range of unique pieces which work well on their own or simply complement other existing crockery.
Historic pots and potters have been a strong influence on Nigel’s approach to ceramics. From the warm colours of old French and Spanish peasant-ware, to the potters Michael Cardew, Peter Smith and Jeff Oestrich.
His interest in the work of abstract painters, particularly Roger Hilton, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and other artists from the Cornish peninsula, has influenced his work and the decorative marks he makes. Nigel Lambert lives and works in Gloucestershire.”

Nigel Lambert images from Zimmer Stewart Gallery

Zimmer Stewart Gallery is supporting Arundel Food Festival as a Footsteps of Food venue. For more on this exhibition and to keep up to date with future events, visit their website here.

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Guest Blog: Kings Arms Quiz

With thanks to Kay Wagland for the words.

“Well, drafting quiz questions over a pint or two is not necessarily the best route to success. The questions looked great to me and Rita – my Agenda 21 partner in crime, but all the teams that turned up at the Kings Arms for our Food Festival Quiz were looking a little perplexed around the edges as they pondered quotes on garlic bread from ‘Down and out in Paris and London’ and references to gruesome pies in ‘Titus Andronicus’. Even guessing what the ‘stuff for your Derby Kell’ was (boiled beef and carrots!), wasn’t as easy as we’d thought.
Quiz MC Bob Bates kept them all going though, adding in more accessible music questions. The last round of questions was tastings of top local cheeses from Pallant and ingredients of cryptic smoothies, (this last, courtesy of young Sam Wood, aged 8 and a half). Along with sandwiches made entirely from local ingredients  and the Kings’ famed range of beers, we hoped this made up for the brain-addling. Prizes of English wine, beer and cheeses were well earned by the winning teams as publican Charlie and the lovely Ali looked on – rather bemused I think…”

The Kings Arms on Tarrant Street sells a range of guest real ales, including Food Festival specials from Arundel and Hammerpot breweries. Tel: 01903 882312.

Arundel Agenda 21 were the organisers of Apple Pressing Day on the opening Saturday of Arundel Food Festival in conjunction with the National Trust and Arundel Castle. They will be also be hosting the Community Chef event on Family Food Day in conjunction with Better Tomorrows. For more details about Arundel Agenda 21, including the ‘Greening Arundel’ campaign and their new Orchard Mapping initiative click here.

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Swan Hotel Sussex Food Night

With thanks to Christian Doyle for the photos.

Menu tasting events involving local producers at The Swan Hotel are becoming a regular occurance since the arrival of new general manager Beata Slapikaite. They’re a great idea, offering customers the chance to try a range of dishes from the upcoming season’s menu, meet the chefs and staff and discover local suppliers from around the area. I’d heard such rave reviews from the last event that I couldn’t wait for this one, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The event wasn’t a formal meal, but a mix of buffet and table service. At one end of the room was a groaning table of treats, replenished throughout the evening and presided over by two unflappable chefs. At the same time, waiting staff buzzed around tables with mini-tasters of what seemed like dozens of scrumptious dishes – far too many to list, and all far too tempting to turn down. What made this a perfect Food Festival event was that there was so much information about the provenance of the dishes available – so I know which meats came from Arundel Butchers, which breads were from Slindon bakery, and that the eggs were from Park Farm, just up the road. In fact, one of the chefs very kindly pointed out the farmer whose chickens had laid them, sitting a couple of tables down from us.
The ‘field to table’ theme continued with the raffle, which was a gigantic seasonal veg box from the Sussex Produce Company, which came with a list of its contents and where they were grown: “Marrow, Brussel tops, Angmering, Rainbow Chard, Steyning…” and the menu cards available to take home including the contact details for produce suppliers.
Plenty of restaurants pay lip service to sourcing ‘local and seasonal’ ingredients, but this was the real deal in action, perfectly executed. Can’t wait for the next one!

Sussex Food Night at the Swan Hotel

To join the Swan’s mailing list and be notified of similar upcoming events, simply call in, send an email or ring 01903 882314. Tickets for the Drip Action Dinner Theatre Food Festival events have now sold out, but there will be a Drip Action Christmas Dinner Theatre event on Saturday 3 December. And it being that time of year, a reminder that bookings for Christmas Dinner at the Swan Hotel are now being taken…

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Guest Blog: Foraging with the Forest Knights

With thanks to Christian Doyle for the words and pictures.

“A perfect Autumn day, satisfyingly cold and sunny. We joined The Forest Knights in Binstead Woods and walked along a leaf-littered track while being informed that this charming little furrow was the Bognor to Arundel Road once upon a time.
Our ‘Knight’ was Wayne Jones who was very informative and funny. I didn’t take in all he told us and to be honest, I can’t remember what plants were were edible or toxic to humans. He did say that taste wasn’t an indication – some highly nutritious plants taste horrible; and vice-versa. I will however be looking more closely at your common hedgerow for inadvertent poisonings.
We meandered along the road admiring the land, the sky, the trees and views, asking questions and swapping gathering and pickling stories before arriving at a magic camp in a dappled clearing. We were freezing by then because we had done more ambling, talking and gathering than actual walking so a cup of tea round a robustly burning fire tasted wonderful. The rest of the group stayed for venison and beef stew being stirred into onions and herbs – and no doubt more lovely stories and woodland lore.
They have a quote on the Forest Knights website which reads: “The thing to remember when travelling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail – travel too fast and you miss all that you are travelling for.”
Forest Knights run courses in bushcraft and all sorts of cave-man activities and for a hardened townie I had a wonderfully fruitful morning!”

Forest Knights Arundel Food Festival

Forest Knights’ second Wild Food Foraging event on Sunday 23rd has now sold out; however there is an in-town foraging event for families included in the Family Food Day lineup on Saturday 22nd.

Christian Doyle is an Arundel-based professional photographer when not hanging out in woods on behalf of Arundel Food Festival.

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Guest Blog: Poetry and Quizzing

With thanks to Rachel Aked, who attended Eat My Words at the Book Ferret and the Kings Arms Food Festival Quiz

The Book Ferret“Just got in from a really nice ‘Food Festival Evening’. Firstly I went to the Book Ferret and enjoyed 90 minutes of food-inspired reading from Chaucer to Nigel Slater – left wanting to eat some pink wafers! Thank you to Sarah for a fun evening and a nice glass of wine. Do pop up to her shop to have a look at her foodie windows, she has done a wonderful display – amazing cookery books, I bought Alys Fowler’s Foraging Book. She will also be open on Thursday night for Amanda Ursell’s talk.

Then wandered down Tarrant Street to the Agenda 21 Food Quiz at the King’s Arms – Tuesday is quiz night but usually music or general knowledge! Obviously all the questions were food-related from the music round – glad the Smiths got a mention for ‘Meat is Murder’ – to the tasting round -  identify the smoothies and recognise the cheeses. Scrummy sandwiches thanks to Kay and Rita and all the winners went home happy with their bags of Pallant goodies… Off to bed now, but fun evening was had by all! Great to see everyone getting involved and you don’t have to be a restaurant or café to make a difference… what will Day 5 have in store?”

Nutritionist, journalist and writer Amanda Ursell will be giving an evening talk on Thursday based on her latest book ‘The Infant and Toddler Food Bible.’
Cost: £4 includes a complimentary glass of wine
Contact: The Book Ferret, 34 High Street. 01903 885727

The CAMRA listed Kings Arms on Tarrant Street runs regular quizzes on Tuesday nights (not usually food-related!) and always sells a selection of real ales from independent brewers. Call 01903 882312 for details.

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Meet the Gardener: Arundel Castle

Most people turn up the odd stone when they’re digging, or maybe a bit of broken pottery. Izzy McKinley turns up musket balls.

As one of the garden team at Arundel Castle (four, soon to be five, gardeners, plus two groundsmen) Izzy’s gardening worries are just that little bit different to most peoples’ – what to plant in the long shadows cast by the Cathedral; how to keep the castle’s Chef and catering team happy with the twice-weekly produce boxes sent up for the Norfolk family and guests; how to keep the veg plot productive AND beautiful for visitors at the same time. It’s a battle she and the rest of the team must be winning; even on an October morning, the place is absolutely stunning whilst remaining fully functional in turning out a wide range of seasonal produce.

Our tour takes about an hour and a half, and is a mix of the history of the gardens (specifically the Collector Earl’s garden and the vegetable gardens), the stories behind the rarer or more unusual plants, the Castle’s sustainable gardening ethos (no chemicals are used in the gardens; they produce their own compost; stakes are grown from previous years’ crops; everything is recycled where possible; flowers and veg are grown together to encourage beneficial insects) plus lots of time for questions and answers.

For foodies, the greenhouses are probably the most impressive part of today’s tour, with everything from passion fruit and physallis fruiting freely to a range of exotic chillis in rainbow colours and yellow crystal cucumbers tumbling from the roof. Our questions – ranging from how best to prune a grapevine to how to counter whitefly without chemicals – are expertly answered, with dozens of hints and tips being offered along the way.

The ‘Meet the Gardener‘ tour will be running again on Wednesday and Friday of this week. Whether you’re interested in history, gardening, food or just a pleasant stroll in good company in a stunning location, it’s the perfect way to spend a morning.

Images from the Arundel Castle Garden tour

Information about Arundel Castle opening times and admission can be found here. Local residents might be interested to hear that the castle gardeners are always keen to hear from volunteers willing to lend a hand in the grounds – call 01903 882173 for more details.

Unfortunately the Arundel Castle Dinner event on Sunday has now sold out, although a standby list is being held in case of cancellations.

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Family Treasure Hunt

No, you CAN’T have our answers!*
(With thanks to ‘Chichester Mum‘ for the words)

The Book Ferret, Arundel

Pert of The Book Ferret’s Food Festival window display

“The Family Food Festival Treasure Hunt is a marvellous idea from Arundel’s Xtraordinary Xperiences. A sheet of devious, Food Festival-based treasure hunt questions can be picked up from The Book Ferret for a fiver, and families can spend a couple of hours walking round town, browsing for the answers (and visiting the local shops in the process) while little Jenny/Jonny are kept busy. At least a couple of hours of  occupied shopping -  and there’s the chance of a prize at the end of it!

I tried it out with my own ‘little Jenny’ (10), and a friend with her two in tow (aged 6 and 4). Neither of us are from Arundel. On the way through the hunt, we had a really engaging time talking to local shopkeepers, finding out things about the town we didn’t know before, and tasting the odd free sample here and there. Combined with the Footsteps of Food trail, it’s a great way to get to know Arundel and what it has to offer. Good on you, Food Festival organisers for thinking of those of us with kids! Many wouldn’t have. They all seemed to be having a blast. We’ll all be back on Saturday for the Family Food Day”

*The answer to Family Treasure Hunt number 7 is on this very website! Try looking around here…
The Arundel Food Festival Family Treasure Hunt from XtraordinaryXperiences is available from The Book Ferret for £5 (cash) There is also a Grown-Ups version (the Sip Sup and Nibble Treasure Hunt) taking place (with live music and refreshments) on Thursday of this week.

The Book Ferret is hosting two Food Festival Events – click here for more details and how to book:
Tuesday October 18, 8pm
Eat my words – An evening of food-themed poetry and prose
Tursday October 20, 7:30pm
Feeding the Kids – how to get it right.

Families may also be interested in the lineup for Family Food Day on Saturday 22nd – click here for details.

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The Processional Supper

Sunday evening saw the second Arundel Food Festival Processional Supper, and the second time this event has been completely booked out. It’s a simple idea – three courses, enjoyed in three different eateries, each served with a glass of wine and each with its own distinctive style and vegetarian options available at each. This year, the participating restaurants were Osteria and La Campagnia on High Street and Gaskyns on Queens Street (with Arundel House, a participant from last year’s procession, sadly missed). At the start of the event, Food Festival co-ordinator Mike Imms gave a (very!) short welcome in praise of the restaurateurs and chefs who’d agreed to collaborate, rather than compete, to allow this type of cross-town event to take place – and then it was on to the food…

Images from the Processional Supper

Osteria: A glass of Nutbourne Vinyard ‘Nutty” sparkling wine; Mixed Cicchetti made from local ingredients
La Campagnia: Pork Escalope, topped with parma ham then breadcrumbed. Served with garlic & rosemary crushed new potatoes, local greens and apple chutney
Gaskyns: Individual Reaspberry Pavlova, made with the last local raspberries of the year, local organic eggs and cream from South View Dairy, Bury
To Finish: Coffee and Food Festival truffle from Castle Chocolates

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Guest Blog: Apple Pressing

With thanks to Rita Godfrey from Arundel Agenda 21 for the words, and Mick Parr for the pictures:

Arundel Agenda 21 Apple Pressing

“Having spent the week rounding up apples from the allotment and from friends and neighbours, I turned up at the apple pressing, organised by the Arundel Agenda 21 Group, with a few baskets of apples. Mark Wardle and his team from National Trust were setting up their apple pressing equipment and we started chopping apples, then from nowhere (it seemed) Tarrant Square was heaving with people with baskets, carrier bags, buckets full of apples to be crushed. The apples were pooled and those who had bought apples and helped chop the mound were rewarded with bottles to take home. Some of the more canny were filling demi-johns to make cider.  The sun was shining, the air was filled with the aroma of fresh apples and the process started.  I had a go at prodding the chopped apple through the scratter (a monster mincing machine for those not in the know) and pretended to help press the apples in the huge press, a thing of beauty made from oak and iron – sorry I got carried away there.
The result, apple juice that was the best I have ever tasted, a mix of all the apples, everyone who tried it was amazed. And it was all ours – Arundel Apple Juice. You don’t get more fresh, local and seasonal than that, and that is what the Arundel Food Festival is all about.
Oh, and no fingers were lost in the melee of excited people with sharp knives – much to my surprise…”
Arundel Agenda 21 have also organised the Kings Arms Food Quiz on Tuesday 18 October (with help from Charlie at the Kings and Mr Bob) plus the Community Chef event on Saturday 22nd October. They are currently seeking new members and volunteers, plus help with a local Orchard Mapping project. Email via this link for further details.

Thanks to The National Trust, Better Tomorrows and Arundel Castle for their help with this event.

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Guest blog: Crossbush Farm Open Day

Sam and Jack (8) from St Philip’s RC Primary Arundel visited Crossbush Farm and Shop on behalf of Arundel Food Festival. What did you see boys?

S: There were lots of different tractors.
J: We went on a tractor.
S: We went on lots of tractors. I beeped the horn.
J: I beeped the horn too. The tractors were very fun and there was a combine harvester there.
S: There were sheep, turkeys and cows and you could find out where flour comes from. We saw lots of our friends there.
J: The sausages were delish.
S: Are there any more sausages?

Crossbush Farm shop is located on the A284 Arundel to Littlehampton Road. From the Crossbush (A284) junction on the A27, take the first exit towards Littlehampton. The entrance to the farm shop is approximately 50 yards on the left.
Organic beef and lamb is reared on the farm plus free range local pork complemented by a selection of local vegetables, eggs and cheese.
Tel: 01903 883 991 for more information and opening times.

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Osteria Food Scrabble

Osteria’s Saturday morning Scrabble group are a friendly bunch. Anyone is welcome just to turn up, grab a board and join in, and the gameplay is generally amicable and not too competitive…
To celebrate Arundel Food Festival, manager Rachel has organised prizes for the winners (today’s was a fabulous book of Scrabble cheats), there was an attempt to make as many words as possible food-themed, and look what arrived courtesy of Francesca Bywater-Groves from Arundel CofE school – only HOME-MADE SCRABBLE CAKES! Francesca is helping to raise funds for ACE’s sister school in Sierra Leone – good work Franny!
This week’s victors were Scrabble club stalwarts, Jenkins and Mr Bob. Just look at their happy faces. But will they hold on to their crowns at next Saturday’s Festival Scrabble? It’s all to play for…

Scrabble at Osteria
Osteria Food Festival Scrabble will take place again next Saturday from 10.30am.
Mr Bob will be compering at the Kings Arms Food Festival Quiz on Tuesday from 7.30pm.

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Arundel Food Festival recognised at the CPRE Countryside Awards

Mike and Jonathan receiving Arundel Food Festival's 'Highly Commended' award from Lady Egremont on behalf of CPRE

Mike and Jonathan receiving Arundel Food Festival’s ‘Highly Commended’ award from Lady Egremont on behalf of CPRE

With less than a week to go until the start of Arundel Food Festival 2011, we’re delighted to announce that that we’ve recently been ‘Highly Commended’ at the CPRE Sussex ‘Countryside Awards’ in the ‘Field to Table’ category. The prestigious Countryside Awards ceremony was held at Petworth House on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

Hosted by Lord and Lady Egremont, winners were applauded by David Tupper DL ‐ High Sherriff for West Sussex, Carola Godman Law DL – Deputy Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex and the Right Honourable Nick Herbert MP, together with 100 guests representing local authorities and like-minded organisations from across the County.

Awards were given in three categories: New Sussex Landscape, Field to Table (for local food projects) and Sussex Rural Enterprise. Lady Caroline Egremont, one of the Panel Judges said “the winning projects are both inspiring and captivating. The sheer determination of those involved in taking their projects forward is quite inspirational. Each and every project will make a positive contribution to our countryside and its communities”.

Food Festival Co-ordinator, Mike Imms, who attended the event, along with Jonathan Brantigan from Pallant of Arundel, said: “We are really pleased that the importance of the Arundel Food Festival was recognised in its inaugural year. This was a self‐funding and self‐organising Chamber of Commerce initiative which celebrated local produce and help put Arundel “on the map”. We have worked hard to develop these ideas for this months event.”

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Three Weeks and Counting!

spot the signsThanks for visiting the Arundel Food Festival 2011 blog.

From now until the end of this year’s festival, we’ll be using this space for posting photos, reviews and last-minute updates of this year’s Festival as it happens, with the help of ‘guest bloggers’ from around the town.

But we’d also like to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your own comments on each post or to email us if you’d like to volunteer as a guest blogger yourself.

Please note that to prevent spam comments and keep the site family-friendly, we will be moderating comments, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t appear immediately.

And don’t forget that for up-to-the-minute information, to share your thoughts on this year’s events or to be notified about new blog posts as they appear, you can also follow us on twitter or facebook.

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