Being a curious foodie, I’m always interested to see behind the scenes of places I love. Last Saturday Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire, provided just the opportunity when it opened its doors for the annual Summer Fair.
Vintage Bentley adorned with organic veg and flowers greets visitors to Daylesford Summer Fair
UPDATE: To attend the Daylesford Summer Festival on Saturday 20th May 2017, register for your free tickets:
Grey skies and persistent drizzle couldn’t dampen the spirits of hundreds of visitors keen to take a peek at this decidedly chic and stylish destination for foodies. Kitted out in wellies, armed with large brollies and accompanied by a motley crew of dogs, they flocked to Lady Bamford’s organic farm in Kingham. When a vintage Bentley decked with plants and organic vegetables greets you at the entrance, it’s a large hint that this will be a rather classy English country fair.
Browsing the Great Taste Producers’ Market, festival go-ers warmed up with tastings of Cotswold gin and single malt whisky produced at The Cotswolds Distillery. Daniel Szor, who previously sold derivatives in the City, happily explained his journey from hedge fund to hedgerow. His gin includes local botanicals such as lavender from the Cotswold lavender farm at Snowshill and bay leaf. It is the result of experimenting with over 100 recipes before hitting exactly the right note. Other stalls were bang on trend selling produce such as superfood snack bars, bone broth, melt-in-the-mouth marshmallows and rapseed oil produced from the surrounding fields of gold.
Daylesford’s smart and shiny Cookery School provided the perfect shelter from the rain and the opportunity to watch cheese-making and steak masterclasses. The Egg Store, one of several chic holiday cottages decorated in calming tones and natural wood, offered an inviting place to warm up by the fire (each of the three bedrooms conveniently has one). At the Budding Chefs Cookery School, there were hands-on classes for children on how to make buttermilk pancakes with rhubarb, honey and mint or vegetable wraps with a herby dip. Other creative options were block printing, basket decorating and wood work.
Sheep-shearing demonstrations and tractor-trailer rides gave children the chance to meet the farm animals. The Cotswold sheep with their mass of tight curls provided a visual clue to the Cotswold wool trade and the Gloucester rare breed cattle with their fierce looking horns, a nod to the region’s Gloucester cheese. But it was man’s best friend who grabbed the limelight at the Dog Show and in the barn, where dogs were invited to pose on a straw bale, grin for the photographer and go home with their own portrait.
Summer entertaining inspiration came in the form of beautiful and colourful table displays from Summerill & Bishop. Long tables were adorned with their hand painted linen tablecloths and pretty ceramics in Provencal blue, cerise pink, sunny yellow and apple green. Stunning flowers and rustic antiques completed the scene. For those in need of calm and relaxation, the Bamford Spa offered relaxing mini massages, free yoga sessions and divine smelling organic creams and scented candles.
A 1940s singing trio entertained festival-goers in the courtyard as they drank their first Pimms of the season and at The Old Spot, Daylesford’s new and buzzing bar, it teemed with people chatting over delicious wood-fired pizzas. Outside street food trucks served up an organic barbecue, vegetable wraps and beef flatbreads while a jazz band played and children rode the Victorian carousel and swingboats.
All it needed to end a perfect day was a stop at the Rhubarb Bar for a slice of rhubarb and orange polenta cake baked by the chefs from The Refreshment Rooms in London’s Peckham. They travel to Daylesford each spring to source organic rhubarb and to forage for ingredients to make their own Aperol.
We went home with one last treat – a bottle of rosé from Château Léoube, the Bamford’s Estate in Provence. When the clouds part and the sun eventually breaks through, it will be opened in celebration of the start of summer.
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.