The Big Feastival 2012 | Jamie Oliver and Alex James, Oxfordshire

10 Sep

Don’t tell me off – it’s been a while since I blogged – and even when I last did there was a bit of a gap before that. Well I’ve recently started blogging for tastecard. As I used to manage the paid search for them (before my Urban Outfitters days), I still have regular contact with one of the owners and when he decided that they were going to launch a blog, he asked me to be the resident blogger!

This was three months ago and why I’ve not been blogging as much on here 😦

It’s been very exciting posting my opinions on tastecard restaurants and my experiences at events. You can read all about it here: tastecard blog

I’ve still been cooking lots and going to many foodie places. So whilst writing my latest blog post for tastecard today, I thought why not share with you all too! Below is a moderated version of my latest post for tastecard.


As I write this I’m recovering from an epic past few days involving food, book launches and attending Paralympic events. Oh did I mention I dropped my phone down the loo at the Mayfair Hotel last week? That was a dull moment. I feel so lost without Twitter/Instagram/Foursquare and Facebook on the go. I’m such a tech geek – this is what the Apple empire has done to me.

Anyway back to FOOD. I was very fortunate to have visited Jamie Oliver and Alex James’ Feastival event in Oxfordshire.

As a first timer I was hotly anticipating the adventurous day that awaited Cupcake Chanelle and I. We planned to make a big day trip out of it from start to finish opting for taking the train there instead of driving. We met by the Paddington Bear statue in its namesake station and boarded. It took 1.5 hours to get there which flew by as we ate sarnies and drunk Prosecco.

Weather-wise it was a fantastic turnout. Lovely and sunny – not a drop of rain. We planned out where we wanted to eat using the Official Guide which you could purchase for £5. I actually thought the guide could have been included in the entry price being that the standard tickets to this event cost us £50 per person. Add to that the price of getting the train there (£30pp) and the amount we were going to spend on food and drinks, the costs soon racked up.

the big feastival

It was a looooooong walk to Alex’s farm

A large selection of vendors were selling wares varying from dress up stalls to get into the spirit (which Chen and I did!)…

chanelle at the big feastival
me with my wig at the big feastival

…to accessories and clothing on sale. We admired these innovative bags made from can ring pulls!

bag made from ring pulls!

Handbag made from ring pulls!

There were many highlights to our day – a concoction of music, cocktails and of course lots and lots of food.

Cafe Mor

We found Cafe Mor pretty much as soon as we got there. As hardcore seafood fans we quickly made Cafe Mor our selection for lunch (although it had not been that long ago that we’d had breakfast 😉 ). Succulent lobster served in a roll with hot seaweed butter and refreshing slaw.

Cafe Mor Lobster rolls

cafe mor menu at feastival

lobster roll at cafe mor feastival

Chapel Down Wines

Still on the seafood theme – Chanelle and I were disappointed that there wasn’t an oyster bar in sight at Taste of London this year – we were delighted to see Chapel Down Winery serving “fizz and oysters” for £10. Fine dining continued!

fizz and three oysters at chapel down

oysters at chapel down feastival

oysters at chapel down winery

My all-time favourite – oysters – YUM

Cuban Brothers

They are described as “righteous comedy” and “sensational dancing”. We didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for when gathering to watch the trio. Entertain us they did, shocked and open mouthed we were – at times saying to each other “there are children around!”. It was all in jest and they certainly had the most applause on the main stage on Saturday.

the cuban brothers on stage at the big feastival

the cuban brothers
Yes – that is one of the Cuban Brothers on stage wearing JUST HIS PANTS!

The Bloodshot Bloody Mary Bar

Chanelle tried her very first Bloody Mary – she didn’t like it – so I had two 😉

They were made using Bloodshot spiced vodka which I also sampled on its own – it was very nice – an acquired taste. It has everything mixed so that all you need to add is tomato juice for the perfect Bloody Mary.

Chanelle was excited to be trying her very first Bloody Mary

Chanelle was excited to be trying her very first Bloody Mary

Chanelle learned that Bloody Mary isn't her thing (but at least she tried it!).

Chanelle learned that Bloody Mary isn’t her thing (but at least she tried it!).

The Wondering Wine Company and Fever Tree

We hadn’t heard of Fever-Tree before. Their premium tonics mixed with Sipsmith gin made the perfect beverage.

Fever-Tree Gin and Tonic Bar

Fever-Tree Gin and Tonic Bar

Sipsmith Summer Cup

Sipsmith Summer Cup

The perfect Gin and Tonic

The perfect Gin and Tonic

Pizza Pilgrims

I recognised these guys as soon as I saw their diddy sized van. Working in Soho I often notice them pitched up along Berwick Street as I’m walking through. For some reason I’ve never fancied a pizza on my lunch break – but the pizzas they were knocking out like clockwork looked so more-ish and tasty we just had to try one. I love the way they shove the pizzas into the back of the makeshift oven they have in the van (which has been driven all around Italy!).

pizza pilgrims van at feastival

This van can be seen daily on Berwick Street in London

Pizza Pilgrims at Feastival

We couldn’t wait to get our teeth stuck into this. We felt like children as we knew it was far too hot to eat, but that didn’t stop us grabbing a slice and eating whilst trying to get cold air into our mouths to cool us down!

Pizza Pilgrims at Feastival


The last dish of the day before the long train home was at Barbecoa for one of their signature dishes on the menu – Pulled Pork Sandwich with slaw and a side of bread. I’ll be honest (of course) – look at it – doesn’t the pork look succulent? Doesn’t it look like it’s full of flavour? I was disappointed. I felt robbed. I wish I’d opted for a fishdog (see my whining below).

Barbecoa pulled pork at feastival

Barbecoa pulled pork with slaw… disappointing 😦

Mark Hix’s Fishdogs

I’m actually gutted that we didn’t get to try these. After all of the other delicacies we sampled – we got to the point where we could only manage one more dish for the day and it was a toss up between Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa or Mark Hix’s Fishdogs. We opted for Barbecoa and I really regret that. I think I would have enjoyed the fishdog a lot more. 😦 I now have to find out where I can find his stand (last I checked it was in Shoreditch, London).

mark hix's fishdogs stand at feastival 2012

We had a lovely day out and it’s always nice to do something you wouldn’t usually do. I think we were slightly disappointed as we felt there was more to do at Taste of London and that it offered better value for money (different plethora of vendors – more samples). If I came back again next year (and early-bird tickets have gone on sale already!) I would probably camp – for the experience. It’s a long trip there and back and you do clock-watch a little when you know that you have a train to catch! It’s a great day for families and of course – the family man that Jamie is – he made sure that the little ones would have plenty to do. There were fairground rides, buses and lots of other amusements to keep children active throughout the day.

We didn’t get to see any celebs up close… Well actually not entirely true. We saw the back of Jamie Oliver! Also we spotted Richard Bacon looking very dapper heading back from one of the food vendors.

Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo

Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo

The closest we got to seeing Alex James

The closest we got to seeing Alex James

Jamie Oliver taking the back routes through the festival

Jamie Oliver taking the back routes through the festival

Perfect weather for a day out at feastival

Perfect weather for a day out

Drinking Fizz at Feastival in the Sunshine - Bliss

Drinking Fizz at Feastival in the Sunshine – Bliss

Chen and I with the big fork at Feastival :)

Chen and I with the big fork at The Big Feastival 🙂


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