As the temperatures soar into the 90s, Battersea Park is teaming with passionate couples. Rising from a sea of Roland Mouret, Reiss and Ray Bans – the most popular accessory is a Baby Bjorn infant carrier – there are squeals of delight and coos of excitement.
But the amour is not for each other, nor for the picturesque and lush green setting. It is for FEAST (part of the Foodie festivals), with its array of stalls, pop up bars, celebrity chefs and tastings. One thing is clear: in London right now, gastronomy is fashionable.
At the entrance to the festival there is a red double decker London bus, home to a pop up bar where patrons can climb up to the top deck and kick back with a craft beer to the sounds of live music from the nearby Riot Bar. Parked nearby, another bus offers champagne and oysters for the more decadent and discerning. With an emphasis on Street and Artisan food, this year’s event showcases global culinary treats and sure enough there is a mini street market flanked with homemade ice lollies, popcorn, chutneys and preserves. Flaming grills boast smoky meats and fiery fish dishes. Little pots of herbs, lovingly grown and labelled are also for sale. The more English tastes are catered for with a Vintage tea tent – pouring brews from yesteryear teapots and serving hearty slices of cake on regal china – and a Pimms marquee (the stalwart of the British Summer). There are several stages at FEAST, where experts such as Bompas and Parr’s Sam Bompass, Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman, legendary Tuscan chef Giancarlo Caldesi and The Bluebird’s Matt Robinson hold court and demonstrate their talents to a seated audience. Children too are inspired – there is a children’s theatre with cookery classes ranging from noodles to nachos – plus bakers and chocolatiers crafting sugar and pastry into sweet somethings.
Highlights of FEAST include the ‘Tequila Beach’ – a pop up tequila bar – and the impressive Grand Marnier ‘Hidden Charms’ tent, with a bespoke range of cocktails created by the mixologists at Sweet & Chilli. Inspired by Parisian cirque and spectacle, the tent is home to flamboyant performers, DJs, quirky objects d’art and flair barmen pouring tipples into distinctive red bubble cups. At FEAST, love is in the air – and it smells delicious.
Find out more at http://foodiesfestival.com/