The other weekend Man and I trotted off to Burghley Game and Country Fair for an action packed day of watching (and cheering) at a number of bizarre attractions. There was a long list of what I was interested in seeing and my list far out stretched that of Man's (and possible his patience too). To start with there was the two enormous Food Tents, then the Birds of Pray display, followed by watching the Gun Dog trials. A short break and it was time to watching the Chainsaw Carving competition - fortunately we didn't have to witness any blood or fingers loss and of course, who could miss the tent dedicated to a vast variety of Hamsters?! There was the ubiquitous clay shooting session, ferret racing and a browse around the crafting tents all to be fitted into a few short hours.
This was the first show of the session and although Man tends to spend no more than about 30 minutes at any event; I was determined to get my monies worth. On arrival we were not disappointed, well I wasn't, I can't really speak for Man. As we walked through the gate, the first sight was Racing Ferrets - what's wrong with me, I'm fixated with watching immediately and then Man has to remove me after I've watched three races on the trot. It's then over to the main arena (through the Fun Fair which I did manage to ignore), where our sight was accosted by the insane competition of 'Horse-Boarders'; adrenaline packed racing with competitors skatebording behind a galloping horse! I loved it of course, I think I may have even whooped just a little but to Man's dismay.
After this we wandered off to get our fix from the food tents. By now I was ready for some drinks sampling and fortunately we stumbled across The English Spirit Company; who apparently supply Gin to Queenie. Being a sucker for all things miniature, I purchased samples of their Dr J's Gin, Expedition No 1 Whisky and Old Salt Rum - it seemed rude not too. Sampling neat Dr J's Gin at 11.30 on a very hot day meant my taste buds were a little off kilter but I could certainly taste the Juniper Berries and Coriander - I know, who'd have thought, coriander?! And I can confirm that Dr J's Gin tastes great with a Fever Tree Tonic, lemon and ice. Interestingly, according to some research, The English Distillery are one of three distilleries in the UK that make gin from scratch; that means, making the vodka required to begin the gin distillation and the way that they make their gin means, that Dr J's is classed as London Dry Gin. Makes me want to buy more!
Anyway, to our next find, the Riverford Organic Farms delivery - these guys bring vegboxes and meat to the door that's all grown on their FOUR farms. You really are getting organic and you really are getting what you order. I loved the fact that unlike Able&Cole who'll bring you vegetables and fruits no matter the season, Riverford will only deliver seasonal vegetable and fruit treats. I'm thinking that I need to work on Man a little more before he'll succumb to being a customer.
The artisan cheese, jelly and jams were in abundance (as well as the sweets); we got our cocktail sticks stuck into a number of different blue cheeses and English specialty cheese. The line up from Lyme Bank Farm Cheeses was astonishing. We sampled at least 15 different flavours, some of them were delightful, although I felt that the peppery or chilli flavours packed a little too much punch for me. I sampled their award winning Skegness Blue; Man put his foot down and I wasn't allowed to purchase as we'd already picked up three different flavours: Smoking Barrels, Garden Herb & Garlic and Caramelised Onion.
The Food Tents at these country fairs are a foodie's delight and it feels like you're unearthing the real talent in Britain when you get there and start sampling. Not only is the food fantastic but you can take your time tucking into your purchases whilst you watch some sublime to ridiculous antics. We watched one in particular which was man vs machine, aka pony & trap competing against a 4x4 as they rampage across the grounds in an orchestrated battle to cross the finish line. The only problem with the steady grazing during the day is that you fill up on lots of goodies but nothing really substantial. On getting home I needed to pull out some kitchen tricks to satisfy Man who hadn't consumed vast amounts of homemade sweets and fudges. Fortunately, even though the bags of goodies I'd purchased couldn't really produce much more than a fantastic sandwich, I located some Arborio rice and knocked up a deeelish Chicken and Chorizo Risotto which gave me carte blanche to dress The Girls in their new flat hats ..!
I think these might only see the light of day on high days and holidays for the foreseeable future ...!