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Pickling and preserving at the Powderham Food Festival

Powderham Castle is the stunning location of the annual Powderham Food Festival which celebrates local food and food production in many forms.
The Powderham Food Festival takes place on the first Saturday in October and since it started in 2012 it has become a popular event on Devon’s social calendar. For 2014 the theme is on outdoor cooking, from fire pits to BBQs and tandoori ovens to flaming wheelbarrows!

For those who are not familiar with this particular venue, just about has it all, an imposing stately home which is set in the middle of a deer park with stunning views out towards the Exe Estuary.

Location, location, location!

The organisers of the festival have made the wise move of combining the history and location into the theme of the festival with most of the action taking place in the magnificent ground floor rooms and spilling on to the courtyard outside.

The list of exhibitors is expected to be well over 100 and every type of food and drink is covered with the vast majority of stallholders being local to the area. Cooking demonstrations and free samples will also be the order of the day and many people are waiting in eager anticipation for the big day to arrive, if only for an excuse to sample the delights of Powderham Castle.

What to expect at the Powderham Food Festival

Many eager visitors to the will be waiting to enter when the doors open at 10am and won’t be ready to leave until the event is due to finish. Food stalls, a Preserves Competition, apple pressing, demos on jam-making, smoking, salting and brewing as well as preserving methods developed by NASA are all discussed and demonstrated.

Exhibitors are accompanied by growers, cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings by local artisans, small producers and experts in the art of food preservation, from picking to potting. In past years there has even been a panel of experts offering an entertaining Gardeners Question Time.

The impressive lineup of chefs and food geeks includes Tim Hayward cooking Powderham’s finest produce on a charcoal and seaweed-filled wheelbarrow. If he can do it, so can you! Jan Baxter, author of the Riverford Field Kitchen will be promoting her latest vegetarian cookbook and Peter Greig will be manning the fire pit tending grass-fed free-range meat from the Pipers Farm Group. His smoked BBQ beef brisket is to die for!

Under cover, the Garton King Perfection Marquee will have endless demos on perfect baking, bread and more.

For those who would just like to stay for a couple of hours and then explore the surrounding a little, the ferry across to Exmouth would be something to seriously consider.

The “Old Lady” awaits at Powderham Castle

For anyone who is visiting the area for the first time, they would be advised to explore the area around Powderham when they have had their fill of the festival and where better than the short walk along the road into Starcross.

If driving to Powderham, there is a small car park next to the estuary with free car parking for festival visitors. Next to the car park you can jump on the marvellous ‘My Queen’ ferry, a veteran of the Dunkirk landings. At over 80 years old, the old girl can still offer a wonderful experience for those who would like to take a short trip over to Exmouth.

The ferry is very reasonably priced and nothing like the kind of commercial trips that are usually offered. All of the crew on this family owned boat are extremely friendly and after the short trip over to Exmouth, what could be better than a quick pint and some fish and chips from one of the ‘chippies’ on Exmouth harbour, if you have not gorged yourself on the freebies on offer over at Powderham of course!

Can there be a more stunning location for a food festival than at Powderham Castle, situated in a deer park with distant views over the estuary? It would have to be the number one venue in the country, unless you know any better?

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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