Guest blogger Diane Davies enjoys the best of British at the CLA Game Fair in Oxfordshire…
The CLA Game Fair has been celebrating the great British countryside and its food since 1958, and was this year held in the spectacular grounds of Blenheim Palace. The annual three-day event provides a unique opportunity for independent British businesses to showcase their produce and for food enthusiasts to sample some truly delicious delights.
The Game Fair has become a vital part of preserving British heritage, showcasing some of the best artisan producers from across the country. Whatever your preference in food and drink, the array of fresh, colourful and expertly crafted produce on offer is bound to tickle your tastebuds. New exhibitors this year included Purely Pickled Eggs, who make pickled eggs in a variety of flavours, and even offer a whole range made with gluten-free vinegar. Their best seller is the Fruity Balsamic: a traditional pickled egg with a sweet and spicy Arabian twist – a great choice for chilli lovers.
I was pleased to find a selection of artisan beverages on offer, including a range of award-winning gin. The team at Warner Edwards Distillery make theirs in a 200-year-old barn using their magnificent copper still. The success of the award-winning business can be attributed to the team’s hard work and dedication to the product, which is made with natural spring water, home-grown elderflower, grain spirit and a combination of secret botanicals, which work to create a highly refreshing drink that’s perfect for sipping on a warm summer’s evening.
Each day presented an opportunity to watch live food demonstrations in the cookery theatre, one of the most popular events of the fair. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jose Souto, who has worked at top establishments in London including Mosiman’s, The Ritz and The Savoy Grill. Jose demonstrated how to make simple crab fishcakes, which the audience were invited to sample at the end. This year saw the launch of a new cooking competition, which involved chefs from all over the UK battling it out for the title of Game Chef of the Year.
So, if you’re passionate about good British food, make sure you put next year’s CLA Game Fair in your diary now.