I’m not going to lie, The Foodie Bugle Lectures held in March were basically my idea of heaven, combining glorious food, wonderful surroundings, likeminded people and talks from some of the best food and drink producers in the UK.
I really admire people who love what they do, to see their passion and drive totally inspires me … So why has it taken me over two months to write a blog post? Simple, I didn’t have a blog at the time. Now having conquered my nemesis, technology and the announcement of a new Foodie Bugle Lecture on Friday June 22nd, its given me the perfect opportunity to tell you about the last one.
It will be in two parts … this is the first; maybe it will inspire you to book for the next event.
You couldn’t really get a better line up of speakers than those at the Foodie Bugle Lectures on March 23rd 2012. The wonderful Trevor Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery was first up to talk about the heritage of the family business. There are just certain people who totally enthrall you with their story and Trevor is one of those people. The business was started in 1920 and today the five generations been making high quality baked goods, long before we all started to fall back in love with real bread. It’s easy to see why Channel 4 came knocking on the bakery (and butchery) door to make the Fabulous Baker Brothers series. Accompanied by his lovely wife Polly and son Tom, its evident that bread making is in their souls, and having ordered a Hobbs House bread box myself I can honestly say you can taste their years of dedication.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m addicted to chocolate; it’s got me into trouble with my BMI for the last thirty years! So in an attempt to see a kinder reading on the scales each week, I’ve increasingly been adopting a less is more approach or to put it another way quality over quantity and you can’t really get better then Rococo Chocolates.
Named Chocolatier of the Year for 2011, I was only hoping founder Chantal Coady had bought samples with her. She didn’t disappoint me and neither did her talk, as she took us on her sweet journey through business, what makes good chocolate, a new shop opening in Chester and a joint venture with the Grenada Chocolate Company. The latter has see the first chocolate bar to be transported by Fair Transport sail to the UK. The Gru Grococo bar is now available on the Rococo website and while it may not be the price of your supermarket chocolate bar, the quality, time, ethos and end goal are a million miles away too. All profits from this limited edition bar will be put back to support the organic cocoa co-operative in Grenada, so eating less really can do more.
Working on the PR for a food festival myself I was looking forward to meeting Sir William and Lady Ali Hanham of Deans Court in Wimborne, Dorset who hold the Feast of Dorset festival each September (taking a break in 2012). Showcasing the produce of the South West, it has already become a food calendar favourite and Sir William and Lady Ali work tirelessly to make it and the other events at the Estate a success. What’s remarkable is the fact that five years ago neither one of them lived there. They never expected to inherit such a big, historic property with William an art dealer in London and Ali working in Sharland and Lewis a gorgeous home and lifestyle shop she co-owns in Tetbury. Now they are winning the battle which many country estate owners face, securing the long term future of the house and grounds against the constant influx of bills. It’s a fine line between allowing the public access while retaining the privacy of a family home, but it’s one they are walking extremely well.
I hadn’t really read much by Thane Prince when I attended the lectures. Now if you’re gasping in horror that I could admit such as thing, relax, although she might not be thrilled by my revelation, I think Thane would respect my honesty. One thing that struck everyone about Thane is that she’s a straight down the line kind of lady, she tells it like it is, a character trait which had the room listening intently, laughing at points and totally enamored with her career history to date. We were treated to the story of how she got her job at The Telegraph, the trials and tribulations of running her cookery school in Aldeburgh, her love of technology and of supermarkets. So having learnt a lot more about the journalist, cookery school owner, mother, teacher, author and now blogger, I can honestly say I’ve since read a lot by Thane Prince.
There are still five more speakers to talk about in the next post but I just had to mention Silvana de Soissons before I sign off, founder of The Foodie Bugle and mastermind behind the lectures. If you have never read the magazine then I would highly recommend it. Not only are the articles both varied and interesting, the photography is stunning and the passion everyone has in their chosen field shines through. I am not surprised that Silvana attracted such high calibre speakers for the lectures, she has a way of drawing people in and making them feel welcome … oh and she makes an amazing biscotti too!