The Week That Was: 2018 Highlights

We’re finally resurfacing after what was a truly spectacular festival. 2018 will go down as the year of community for Bristol Food Connections.

By drawing the focus away from the city centre we really shone the spotlight on Bristol’s diverse food culture and the people behind it. We had a dizzying array of events in every corner of the city and beyond, with some really creative interpretations of this year’s theme: TIME.

The festival kicked off with breakfast on the 7.05 to Severn Beach. We gave healthy breakfasts to 300 hungry train passengers; with thanks to Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Bristol Fruit Market and Yeo Valley.

Food Connections Breakfast on a train
Credit: Rebecca Noakes

Every base was covered this year with events for families, for those wanting to brush up on their cooking skills and some magnificent food journeys, all within the city’s limits.

Those interested in health and wellbeing were also well catered for.  Some of the jewels in the crown were the feasts and festivities and, in keeping with the TIME theme, there were events investigating the future of food.

Some of the Feast and Festivities highlights include the Vela Pop-up Indian Brunch at Harts Bakery which was one of the first events to sell out, and we can see why!

Vela Indian brunch
Credit: Rebecca Noakes

There was also A Picnic Through Time in Southmead, with a beautiful display of food celebrating the community and history of Southmead, from the 1930s to now.

In Keynsham, Adrian Kirikmaa served up a choc-tastic menu at the Chocolate Gala Dinner on the Monday – with cocoa featuring in every dish.

Ox cheek pie at the Chocolate Gala Dinner
Credit: Dan Izzard, Crumbs Magazine

Meanwhile, Sherrie Eugene-Hart and Broadcaster husband Patrick Hart mixed the music and food of their parents homeland during their Carib-Asian cooking workshop and feast. The audience brought along their own ingredients for the pair to cook up something really special.

Xinto Wines put on a three course Portuguese Wine Dinner at gorgeous venue The Forge, celebrating the special wines of the Douro region in Portugal.  Mateus Nicolau de Almeida, crowned Portugal’s Young Winemaker of the Year in 2016, was there to share his own wisdom on the area.

Portuguese wine dinner
Credit: Shonette Laffy

Throughout festival week, the markets across Bristol gave people the perfect opportunity to spend some time talking to producers, growers and cooks as well as hanging out with friends and connecting with new people.

On Thursday there was the first ‘Fruit Machine’ competition at the Harbourside Market – run in collaboration with the Bristol Fruit Market which has been providing fruit and veg to Bristol’s restaurants and businesses for over 100 years.

Bristol Fruit Machine
Credit: Rebecca Noakes

Pupils from Bedminster Down, Cotham and Henbury Schools competed to be ‘Bristol Fruit Market Apprentice’ by selling delicious salads, fruit and veg – all made from produce they had haggled for at the Fruit Market the previous day.

After a gruelling lunchtime trade, during which all teams made a healthy profit to match their healthy fare, Bedminster Down were declared the winners, being praised for their organisational skills, great product selection and persistent selling skills!

Bristol Fruit Machine
Credit: Rebecca Noakes

St Nicks Night Market on Friday was buzzing, with live music, food from all over the globe, DJs and Capoiera.

On Saturday a few lucky people were also treated to a tour of St Nicholas Market, discovering the hidden history of this Bristol institution; they even got the chance to sample honey from the beehives on the roof!

St Nicholas Market beehives
Credit: Rebecca Noakes

For families there was so much on offer, including the Under 5’s Experimental Cookery class in Redcliffe with Jo Ingleby, and the Easton Garden Party, a wonderful show of community coming together across generations.

On the Friday, at Windmill Hill City Farm, Year 1 students from Victoria Park Primary School were cooking pizzas for the over 55’s at the Community Pizza Party.

Community Pizza Party
Credit: Rebecca Noakes

Bristol really got its sweat on at the Go Faster Food HIIT Workout in Millennium Square and Soul Stretch Yoga in Hamilton House.  At the Go Faster event people also got a chance to learn how to make all-natural powerballs, whilst at the yoga brunch they were served some delicious vegan food to start the day off with a glow.

For those that like their breakfast at a more thoughtful pace, there was the Philosophy Breakfast, where people were able to learn about and discuss the ethics of global food production with philosopher Julian Baggini and the University of Bristol’s Lydia Medland.

Soul Stretch Yoga Brunch
Credit: Gemma Thorogood

Bristol’s incredible and diverse food scene was really on show during the Gloucester Road Food Passport Tour, where people got the chance to experience dishes from across the globe without leaving the city.

Businesses up and down the road offered some delicious food samples, including sourdough starter from Hobbs House Bakery and olives from La Fiorentina.

Gloucester Road Food Passport

The Festival Hub on Bristol’s picturesque Harbourside was bustling all week with children’s activities and inspiring events.

Grace Ekall kick-started our programme of Hub events on the Tuesday with some African dance moves as part of a morning stretch and wellness routine, before showing how cooking for health can be made easy.

Highlights included Crayfish Bob, who gave a demo of his delicious crayfish, and Wizzy Chung from Bristol’s Sky Kong Kong restaurant, showing us how to make summer rolls with both fruit and vegetables.

Wizzy Chung Sky Kong Kong

There were some inspirational talks throughout the week, including Women in Food. The event was hosted by Bristol-based food writer Xanthe Clay and featuring some amazing women who have made food their livelihood. The panel included Elley Curshen (Elly Pear), photographer Kirstie Young and researcher and Supper Club host Fozia Ismail (Arewelo Eats).

For those that wanted to find out more about where their food comes from there were some brilliant Land and Growing events. First to sell out were the Foraging Walk and Herb Lunch at Blaise Estate, and the Medicinal Herb Walk in Castle Park with Max Drake.

Medicinal Herb Walk
Credit: Rebecca Noakes

This wasn’t only a festival of events. Many of the city’s restaurants got involved by putting on a special dish for the week as part of the Bristol Dish Trail.

Dishes included 14 month Middlewhite ham from Birch, pea and broad bean hummus from The Gallimaufry, strawberry & balsamic ice cream from Brozen, and Greek dakos at the Folk House Café.

Gallimaufry hummus
Credit: The Gallimaufry

Lastly (but not leastly!), to celebrate the festival,and in partnership with Upfest, we had a giant mural created by artist Silent Hobo celebrating Bristol’s food – past present and future.

Ideas for the mural were put together as part of a consultation, which took place in Easton and via our social media channels. The results can be seen in the flesh on Hotwells Road (a timelapse video of its creation can be seen here).

A huge thank you to everyone in Bristol who made this festival such a success. It truly was a partnership event like never before. We look forward to next year when we’ll be bringing the city together once again with more delicious food.

Silent Hobo mural

Bringing people and good food together