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The characters in my book, City of Secrets, drink plenty of weak ale, local cider made from the Longney Russet apple and eat a variety of medieval food from roasted lark to frumenty to cheese made from the milk of Gloucester Cattle.  This food was popular in the middle ages in and around Gloucester.  So I thought I would find out what the present day Gloucester citizen liked to eat and what better place than the annual Gloucester Quays Food Festival.

I arrived early so that I could wander around and chat to the stall holders, unhampered by the inevitable crowds that would descend on this event.  I decided to concentrate on those stalls local to Gloucestershire.

My first stop was Gloucester Brewery. This is a micro brewery situated in the docks which produces fine local beers.

I was greeted by a jovial man selling sausages…

…and a friendly member of staff allowed me to take pictures of the mashing vats at least I think that’s what they’re called!

Sadly, the brewery lost their bid for the nearby Coots Bar to Wetherspoons but at least they’ll be able to supply them with locally-brewed beer!

Brown and Green is an award winning Farm Shop and Deli.  I can see why.  Just look at this array of local produce on offer.

They are normally to be found operating out of the 3Shires Garden Centre in Newent.

In poll position at the event was Hetty’s Pop-Up Tea Rooms.  Surrounded by hay bales the ‘tea room’ had a 1950’s country village fete feel to it.  Even Hetty and her staff wore 1950’s vintage clothing.  Every detail had been taken care of to give the customer the experience of being at an old-fashioned fete from the rustic tablecloths to the fine bone china teacups and saucers.  This was an absolute find.  Hetty is a young woman with a passion for baking.  Her entrepreneurial spirit was inspiring.

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I have a feeling Hetty will go far.  She’s already been spotted by Mary Berry and had her picture taken with her which appeared on the front page of the Gloucester Citizen.

A food festival would be nothing without alcohol and there was no shortage of local offerings:

Severn Cider; May Hill Brewery and V Q Country Wines were plying their trade:

I loved the tagline for May Hill Brewery – the Naked Brewery!  Meaning, of course, that there were no added nasties in their beer – just good wholesome ingredients.

The famous Gloucester Farmhouse Deli was in attendance cooking their range of sausages:

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Other local stallholders included:

Ross and Ross; The Cotswold Curer; Cotswold Gold; The Cheeseworks and Relish the Taste.

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Not strictly food related I was drawn to one of Gloucester’s premier hair salons. Head Candy.  Situated in the docks, they were taking full advantage of the event by selling Candy Floss and offering face painting and hair twisting.  Here is Kelly Fortey along with volunteer Fiona candy floss sticks in hand,  and the expert face painter.

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Although not local at all, I must give a mention to Shocka, the CEO of Shocka’s Coconut Hub.  He gave me a free coconut drink for my birthday and it was lush.  He was also a mean dude with a machete!  Thank you Shocka and I hope you did well on the day.

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I really feel that Gloucester Quays and Gloucester Docks are beginning to get their act together.  This was a great event and a credit to all who were involved.