As promised, the weather was perfect, and the final Food Festival event in St Albans town centre was a huge success. I thought the range and quality of the stalls was the best yet, and huge numbers of people came out to enjoy the food and atmosphere. The St Albans City Band set a lively tone as we were all waking up in the morning, and I chatted to stallholders as they set up. Dixie‘s Cupcakery had baked almost 2000 cupcakes, which just shows how ready you need to be to feed St Albans! Outside the town hall, Lussmann’s had set up a full outdoor restaurant, set with their usual tableware and napkins. A friend texted to say “try the tagine!”, so I think it was a big hit. Kashu were doing a brisk trade with barbequed sausages while the market was still setting up, and I am sure they stayed busy all day. It was great to see Bourngiorno Italia in the town centre – locals know of the fantastic Italian deli on Lattimore Road, and I am sure many more discovered them today, attracted by the piles of figs, olives, breads, and the charming team.
Funky vans were parked by the town hall, and winner of Local Gem, The Pudding Stop had a lovely display of cakes and tarts. Alongside Johnnie was newcomer Luke Godfrey with his posh and sustainable fish and chips, and fish finger sandwiches. His shop in Harpenden is due to open in two or three weeks, so more on him soon. Newcomers Sweet Lily introduced me to their home-made jams, chutnies and other home-made treats, and I bought blueberry and lime jam and pink grapefruit and strawberry marmalade to take home. Another newcomer, Mauritius Delicious was attracting lots of interest too, with a fab selection of home-made pickles and chutneys.
You could also eat hot food from Bar Meze, Caribbean Kitchen, and from some of our most popular pubs including The Foragers and The Snug. And if you went for the afternoon, there was a terrific choice of cakes, including hundreds of cupcakes, a wide selection of Brit classics from the Bakehouse, and a full afternoon tea from St Michael’s Manor.
In a perfect world I would like to see these stalls in the town centre every weekend. But until that happens, we will have to wait for next year!