Yesterday was suchh a fantastic Saturday! I hope you’re wasn’t too bad either 🙂
On this post I’m going to put my posts about my Spring Break in Paris aside just to chat about my day trip to London yesterday!
I stumbled over this “Real Food Festival” while I did some research for one of my journalism classes. And actually, the whole idea about exploring cuisines and real food from countries from all over the world kind of relates to both of my projects in both of my journalism classes! But anyway… that’s not the point.
The “Real Food Festival” happens twice every year. Once in the fall, and once in the spring. In addition to this seasonal Festival however, they have a “Real Food Market” every weekend in London! (Friday to Monday) In other words, you can find some of the products and producers you would find at the festival on a typical weekend at their market too!
The idea behind the “Real Food Festival” and the “Real Food Market” is about great tasting food that’s sustainably produced by the people putting up the stands themselves! The concept is about being able to eat or buy products straight from the farmer or producer, with no third party or artificial flavors involved in between. It’s about experiencing an extraordinary range of foods from countries all over the world made with the best, ethically grown ingredients around.
The idea caught my eye so much that I decided I needed to get on a bus to London when the Festival would begin. Yesterday, that’s exactly what I did!
The festival definitely proved itself! It was everything I had wanted, and the only place I’d rather be on a sunny Saturday in London!
The “Real Food Festival” is located at the Southbank Centre in London. It’s such a beautiful location because it’s right on the side of the Thames River, next to the London Eye, the Big Ben, and the Waterloo Bridge (which are a lot of the main touristic attractions in London, so you basically have it all in one place.) Also worth noting is how beautiful this location is on a sunny spring day in London like yesterday was. There are green areas where you can sit and relax while you eat your food, there’s an opened terrace which allows you to see all of these London attractions from above, there’s just so much worth going there for!
(Ok, so there were a few showers in the morning as soon as I arrived and some clouds here and there throughout the day, but by the end it was a sunny afternoon! So let’s just say it was a sunny spring day in London 😉 )
Also, there were soo many stands. From Spanish ones serving Paella and Churros, to stands serving Indian street food, Mediterranean food, organic beef and veggie burgers, oysters and seafood, Arabic food, hand made wraps and stews, Chinese Dumplings, Italian bruschettas, French Crepes, handmade pies from Devon, Polish deli food, gelato, ice popsicles, curry, baked goods, Moroccan food, French Alpine magic (aka potatoes covered with melted French cheese), andd more stands sellingWelsh cheese, French cheese, home-made jams/marmalades/chutney, oils, spices, sauces, porridge, chocolates, fudge, grass fed meat and sausages, pork, scotch eggs, chili, savory and sweet tarts, different kinds of own-produced alcohol (like cider, beer, whiskey,etc) and one of the best, most awards winning bread bakery shop in London! ALL IN ONE PLACE. It was fantastic, it wasbeyond exhilarating. As soon as I got there my heart was pumping with excitement. I wanted to sample all the stands and I wished I could taste everything! I didn’t know where to begin, let alone what I would have for lunch (which took forever to decide) but I slowly made my way through, one stall at a time.
Then I reached this other section called “Streets of Spain.” WOW. Is all I could say. This section was only dedicated to stands directly from Spain! Apparently the stands were some of the same ones you can find in the famous “La Boqueira” market in Barcelona! They had spices especially for Paella, dried chiles, Spanish “Jamon Serrano” and hams, “chorizo,” sausages, chocolates, dried fruits, cheeses and spreads, Spanish sangria (!!) and even a Restaurant you could reserve a table at for lunch, dinner or tapas! It was hugee, absolutely fantastic, and it felt just like we were in Spain! (especially because basically all the people at the stands were authentic and came straight from Spain, and of course spoke to you in Spanish! It was great!)
Everything I sampled tasted amazing. The flavors, the ingredients, the people there to serve you and help you out, everything was perfect! 100% better than heading to a supermarket to get some groceries… why don’t people just take advantage of opportunities like this and of farmer’s markets to buy food and great quality produce? That’s what I wonder…
Anyway, back to the festival. After all the Spanish flavor, I turned a corner and found another section of even more stands! I went insane, I was all smiles all day long 🙂 And yeah, I guess part of why I was so happy to be there was because I love food so much, but it’s also because of the festive atmosphere of a festival filled with good quality food made with love, with patience and care. A place filled with happiness and willingness to serve the customers and to sell the absolute best things they produce. A place where I sa families take their littles ones for an afternoon stroll, young university students enjoy their food in the sun along with some beers, Pimms, or Sangria, or simple adults enjoying the company of one another on a Bank holiday weekend. That’s why I was so happy; we all shared the happiness, the mouth-watering experiences and the amazingly made food all together 🙂
I also wanted to quickly mention some of the stands worth trying and some of the things I (now) wish I would have tried (which means that if you’r heading to London before Monday – you should GO and try them.) So, even since I found out about the festival I was going in thinking I was going to eat Paella for lunch. That failed. Although it was a very hard decision to make when I was there, I finally decided Iwanted to try something I had never tried before (even if this meant not trying their deliciously well-known Paella from Spain, which I now wish I could go back just to try it..) What I chose instead was the “Karantania Delicassen” stand. They serve products from the Eastern European lands of Austria and Slovenia, influenced by the Alps, and the North Adriatic Sea. What I had was a Cervapcic and it was absolutely amazingg! I actually couldn’t finish the whole thing yesterday so I saved half to take home. Essentially what it is is a “sandwich” with beef and lamb meat, along with three different sauces, tomatoes, salad, and onions. Their bread is home-made everyday and lightly buttered before they heat it on the stove right in front of you, along with the meat. You can smell the flavors from miles away and their lines are just as long! I was happy with my choice, no matter how big and hard it was to eat, and even though I had to wait a little.
Some of the other stands worth buying something from is the bread from “The Flour Station,” fresh oysters from “Bennett’s on the Waterfront,” to die for baked goods from both “The Outsider Tart” (try their whoopie pies and scrumptious looking huge brownies) and “Lallapolosa Baking Company” (try their decadent and moist brownies and peanut butter cookies.) Also a must-try are “Churros Garcia” made right in front of you and with a side of Spanish Hot chocolate to dip them in, the spanish sangria, and the French crepes. If I had the chance I would get some kind of home-made wrap or flatbread (there are a few options to choose from), the Polish croquettes and pierogi looked so well made that they had me tempting to try them a few times, and the organic beef burgers also looked and smelled really good, as well as the free-range pork served in Ciabatta bread at the “Love Me Tender” stand. Also, one thing I do regret not getting was the French Alpine magic. The stand is called “La Marmotte” and it simple baked potatoes covered with French Alpine cheese but it lovely absolutely heavenly! The way they melt the cheese in front of you is part of the show and what makes it so amazing. I had gone to the festival thinking I would get some but after my Cevapcic I had no idea where I could put a plate of potatoes covered in yummy cheese…
I could go on and on about this festival! As you can see… but this is a short description of my super exciting day yesterday! By the end of my culinary journey and after buying a couple things here and there, I grabbed an orange/mango juice (also so so good), and sat in the sun, looking at the London Eye and the Big Ben with the River Thames right next to me, all while listening to music and watching street performers do their thing.
It was a wonderful Saturday.What more can a girl ask for? 😉 Head to London’s “Real Food Festival” if you have a chance! It will not disappoint!!
(The Festival continues till Monday night. For more information check our their website!)