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5 October 2012

Thame Food Festival post-visit round-up

The streets of Thame were bustling with lots of people last Saturday as visitors came from far and wide to descend on the Oxfordshire town's annual food festival.
Being an outdoor event it was lucky the sun was shining although we have a feeling that even a gloomy day could have done little to deter such an enthusiastic crowd.

Our visit to Thame was a first as we're trying to broaden our horizons and get out to more food festivals around the country – it is also not far from us, being only an hour and half's drive away. Going to this event gave us the opportunity to discover 'new' food producers – new to us anyway – and to finally meet some of our AFT members. It is such a pleasure to meet face to face after only communicating via social media, email and telephone.

Thame is a an attractive town with lots of character and a great range of independent shops, caf├ęs and restaurants including two impressive butcher's shops.
There were around 100 or so food festival stalls stretching far along the high street selling everything from cakes to pies, meat to vegetables, preserves and sauces to bread, the list goes on. For those needing a bite to eat there was enough quality food to consume there and then to keep the most hungry going all day.

We go to numerous food events and we can honestly say that Thame had a vibrant atmosphere – the stallholders seemed genuinely pleased to be there, in fact AFT member Mortimer Chocolate Company say it is their favourite event.
It was good to see the public buying too. All too often people are very keen to swoop in on the free samples without even stopping to talk to the producers, let alone buy something. Maybe it is because Thame is a free event – some food shows (often those held in exhibition halls) charge quite a high admission which can be detrimental to just how much cash visitors are willing to part with once inside.

Other attractions included the cookery demos where several chefs including the famous Raymond Blanc were giving a culinary performance to excited crowds.

We thoroughly enjoyed the festival and it was lovely to catch up with our members; Mortimer Chocolate Company, David's Chilli Oil, Cotswold Gold and Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars. And thanks to Rupert of Womersley who introduced us to a potential new member too, whom we look forward to welcoming into the ever growing community of the finest British artisan food producers on The Artisan Food Trail.

Last but not least thanks to Thame Food Festival's Julian Dorling who has given us mention on the festival's website blog here

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