The Taste of Leeds Festival, A Tasty Find

A Tasty Find – The Taste of Leeds Festival

It may come as no surprise that I have been feeling slighting uninspired by the recent reviews that I have tried to write about certain Leeds eateries. With this disheartening feeling, I was eagerly anticipating the rebirth of my food appreciation at the inaugural Taste of Leeds Festival that took place in Millennium Square from June 5-8.

Arriving at 6pm, the time spent at this celebration of good local food and drink was pleasantly past by an overload of stalls and food presentations that I genuinely could not get enough of. The exhibitors were extremely welcoming and knowledgeable about their products, and in a non-threatening way encouraged people to try bits and pieces of their delectable local produce.

Local food and beverages were also available to be purchased from exhibitors at a very sensible cost. The Snowdonia Cheese Company for example, displayed luscious cheeses ranging from spicy chilli cheese to complexly sweet cranberry cheese. Three of these cheese choices could all be purchased for only £10! Aside from just cheese; wine, chilli, sauces, marinades, pastries, jams, pork pies, chutneys, fudge, and local Leeds Brewery beer could all be sampled and purchased for a tiny cost; a cost that encourages us to support local farmers and products that derive from regional talent and creative thought.

Cooking demonstrations were a laugh. It was fantastic to see chefs such as Anthony Worrall Thompson and George Psarias from Olive Tree, taking time away from their hectic kitchens to talk to real people and show their wholesome passion for high-quality food. It brings a tear to my eye…

To put the icing on the cake, if all the free food sampling was not enough, visitors could purchase crowns, which were priced at 50p each and enabled visitors to purchase sample dishes from an array of local chefs whose signature festival dishes were valued at between six and ten crowns. One dish that must be mentioned was created by the Michelin pub, The Star Inn. Constructing a Caesar salad with Yoadwath Mill ‘hot-house’ salmon and Doddington cheese shavings (8 crowns), this dish was beyond words! The salmon was possibly the best salmon I have ever eaten in my life – and I eat a lot of salmon! The smokiness of the salmon was super indulgent and the large chunks of fish were perfectly met with the intense flavour of cheese. I would definitely go back for seconds, and thirds of this dish.

Alongside The Star Inn, three sample dishes were created by local restaurants like the Thai-influenced Orchid restaurant, the Italian-flavoured Casa Mia Grande, and the El Gato Negro, headed by Spanish-inspired chef, Simon Shaw. All in all, twelve local restaurants and their acclaimed chefs took part in preparing iconic dishes that represented the diverse selection of cultures and tastes that inhabit the Leeds food scene.

The Taste of Leeds Festival was a really pleasurable experience that showcased good local food from its purest form through to the intricacies of complex dishes and uses. Catering to so many dimensions of food, cooking and beverages, the Taste of Leeds Festival was a tremendously well-organised event that achieved its goal of celebrating the best that Yorkshire has to offer, which was more than I could ever have imagined.

Whilst the cooking demonstrations were a bit of educational fun, I feel that the exhibitors and the stalls are what really created a relaxed and inquisitive atmosphere at the festival. The samples, which were more than reasonably sized, delivered exciting burst of endless conflicting flavours that truly celebrated the best of Yorkshires produce. Food festivals such as the Taste of Leeds only come around every so often, and with upcoming events across the U.K, I strongly urge even the basic food lover to go out and enjoy this festivity of food local to you.

Still to come

Taste of Dublin

12-15 June

Taste of London

19-22 June

Taste of Bath

3-6 July

Taste of Birmingham

10-13 July

Jacklyn Swiecicki

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