Sunday, 4 July 2010

Food and fields: Gastro-nbury

It's been a while, eh? Sorry about that. I've been away at Glastonbury drinking cider in the sun, Devon eating fish in the rain and, erm, getting getting engaged to Choux Boy, which, it turns out, is a rather time consuming business - so many people to tell, so many glass of champagne to drink. But anyway, back to the food...

Eating outdoors in Britain - I bet you are thinking one thing: picnics. Sandwiches and tartan rugs, Pimms and cold cocktail sausages, or if we are really getting fancy here some salads in Tupperware boxes. But no, I’m talking street food. Street food in this country (and we’re not talking Borough Market here, which is about as street as D-Cam chatting up some hoodies) gets a bad rap. Burger vans and pies is what springs to mind; appetising it ain’t. So when I say ‘festival food’, you are probably going to shudder. This is what you are thinking right:

Or some sweltering nachos, greasy chow mien or one of those giant soggy Yorkshire puds with a lone sausage swimming in watery gravy. Yes, I’ve just got back from Glastonbury, and yes they were all there. But there is good stuff to be found, just I wonder, why not more? Taste showed us what you can whip up in park in London, why not in a field in Somerset. Ok, so the clientele of Glastonbury aren’t quite the pasta-maker-owning bunch who go to Taste, but it doesn’t mean we have none.

As anyone who has even caught a wiff of Glastonbury will know, Somerset is famous for it's cider, and it's not in short supply. But slap bang in the farmlands of the west country good fresh food is in no short supply. And if you look beyond the burger vans and the kebabs there is plenty of goodness to be found. At the first Glastonbury 40 years ago they gave away free milk, fortunately the food options have expanded a bit since then.

For fresh and healthy the hippy veganess of the Green Fields has to be the first stop on the Gastro-nbury tour (from 2009 memory try the Thali Cafe - food at Glastonbury is usually easily judged by the queue size and this is no exception). Hummus is in no short supply, along with vegetarian curries, home-made falafel and a few, uhum, special-looking brownies...

But you're not at Glastonbury for the health are you. Beyond that there is everything you can imagine and more. Sushi and wasabi peas in the Park followed by delicious mascapone, fig and honey Somerset ice-cream from Mendip Moments.

On to chunky sausages in white wine gravy and tartiflette at La Grande Bouffe washed down with a glass of Lanson champagne (don't deprive me of my glass of bubbles) at Queen's Head.

Venison burgers, hog roast with chunky apple chutney, organic bread, jerk chicken, cream teas, more hummus - with hundreds of stalls to choose from it is easy to dine around the world and, with a bit of a hunt (steer clear of most of the options near the main stages), well. And be well stuffed too. Music? What music?

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