Masterchef tests the best of the county
MASTERCHEF’S Gregg Wallace delivered an expert taste test to pick out the finest food on offer at the annual Forest Showcase at the Speech House Hotel near Coleford.
More than 70 producers turned out to showcase offerings from the fields and farms of Gloucestershire, alongside cookery demos, live music and traditional craft workshops.
It didn’t take long for Gregg to stumble across one of his favourite local producers in the food tent, Hillbrooks Ice Cream of Newent.
The family business, run by siblings Jenny and Andrew Jones and his wife, Hayley, were only too happy to serve up Gregg’s favourite walnut flavoured ice cream.
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“Gregg tried us out last year and loved it, so immediately asked to be loaded up with his favourite flavour,” said Andy .
“We started out in 2007 when it was hard times for farmers, we were practically giving our milk away so we had to diversify.
“Our vanilla and honeycomb ice cream has won several awards, including first prize at the Three Counties Show.”
Visitors were spoilt for choice, with tables groaning under the weight of fresh meat, artisan breads, vegetables, ciders and cheese.
Cookery demonstrations took place from top county chefs and Masterchef: The Professionals quarter finalist, Martin Adams, and Harts Barn Cookery School.
Live music was performed by the Chepstow Community Big Band.
Fiona Shields, from Ruardean Hill, was visiting with her son Cameron.
“It is amazing to see how much wonderful food is actually made in this area,” she said.
“Cameron has been having a go at wood turning and I’ve been trying some lovely sauces and olives.”
Tom Cousins, from Coleford, was hosting a Turnip Tossing tournament.
“I’m surprised how busy it’s been,” he said.
“My son Jasper has been showing off his wood turning on a pole lathe too and we’ve both had lots of interest. There is so much for people to see and do here and the smells are fantastic.
“There are a lot of old traditions that could be forgotten about if it wasn't for events like this.”
From scotch eggs to Christmas puddings, farmhouse ciders and award-winning preserves, there was plenty for punters to get stuck into.
Gloucestershire College was also hosting free cookery workshops, with other attractions including a juggling chef and tips on bee keeping, composting and how to build an earth oven.