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Foodie Festival (Or - The Best Way To Showcase What Leicestershire Has To Offer)
I am now going to let you into a secret about myself.  In the event of you requiring to keep me quiet for any reason you will have to do one or more of the following;

Give me something to read – I couldn't care less what it is (although I refuse to read “Horror” books – my imagination is screwed up enough thanks very much).

Supply me with food.  If you can make any of my favourite foodstuffs you will have a friend for life.

Educate me – I love learning about things.  Especially things which I have never known about before.

Have an unusual or interesting accent.  This may not actually work as I may end up asking you questions so you have to speak more.

(Please note:  The above do not have to be in any particular order.)

Yesterday afternoon found me in a place where I was subjected to all four.  Funnily enough – it was one of my favourite foodstuffs (or – more precisely – the Brainiacs behind the shop which sells it) which made me decide to go there in the first place.

The “Foodie Festival” was held in a cafe which I had never been to before.  Hidden down a side street near the Highcross Shopping centre in Leicester, “James” Cafe (or restaurant) was the venue for this extravaganza.

When it comes to puddings, sweets, desserts, toetjes, nagerechts, (or whatever you want to call them) my tastes run to the slightly more “exotic”.  As in – it is impossible to get two of my favourite desserts anywhere in England, and another one is only available whenever there is a “Continental Market” in Leicester city centre.  The desserts being “Chipolata Pudding” (a cross between Tutti-Frutti ice cream and a Blancmange – not a sausage in sight), “Dubbel Vla” (think “Devon Custard” and chocolate mousse in the same carton – pour it into a bowl so the substances are separate but mixed, hand me a spoon, and leave me in peace), and “Poffertjes” (Small Dutch Pancake type cakes – a bit like Profriteroles but without the cream inside – best served with sugar and stem ginger).

If you want to feed me on something “exotic” which you can get in Leicester – stand by to be dragged or taken to “Gelato Village” in St Martin's Square.  Every time I walk into that shop they have a new flavour to add to my list of favourites.

As the name might suggest - “Gelato Village” sells Gelato (it also sells “Sorbetto”) which could be described as the Italian version of ice cream.  I think it is better than ice cream – it has certainly got more “real” flavour than regular ice cream.  This is because the Gelato is made from cream and whatever is in season at that particular moment – no additives, no colouring, no anything else nasty.  Oh – and certainly no air - you ask for a cone or tub of Gelato and that is exactly what you get, a full tub or cone of delicious product.

The main ingredient you need to make authentic Italian Gelato (according to me at least) is an an authentic Italian recipe book.  “Gelato Village” was started (and is run) by two of these, Daniele Taverna and Antonio De Vecchi are Italian – complete with the accent.  They are both also very friendly.  In fact, Daniele almost reminds me of Rene from “Allo, 'Allo” because of his cheerfulness.

They were both at the “Foodie Festival”.

The other companies at the Festival were a Cocktail bar, a wine maker based in Leicestershire, a beer making outfit, a company selling gin, someone showing how to make bread the proper way, a company selling pies, and someone with an interest in bees.  (It was a pity that the Continental Market was on in the city centre as I think the Festival should have been somewhere more prominent – due to it celebrating Leicestershire companies and products.

Apart from the free samples on offer my favourite things were the talks and the reading material.  I got educated about gin, wine, the history of pubs, the baking of bread – not forgetting Gelato.

I really hope there is another “Foodie Festival” in Leicester.  I am all for being able to get “exotic” foodstuffs in Leicester but I am also passionate about home-grown companies and products getting a fair go at being showcased as well.  I don't just mean food and drink – I mean companies producing all kinds of things.


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