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Diary of a food festival organiser, part 3

Diary of a food festival organiser, part 3
As the date draws closer Anne quietly eyes the competition at the Chester Festival, only to find she's the subject of the Chairman's opening speech.
Time is running away with us and the festival is getting closer.

I went to the Chester Food and Drink Festival over the Easter weekend to keep an eye on the competition and grab the chance to plug our forthcoming offering on Wirral.

Unfortunately after rushing to get flyers printed so we could take them to Chester, they inexplicably disappeared into a North West version of the Bermuda Triangle.

We searched high and low on Claremont Farm where they had allegedly been delivered.

They weren’t in the shop, in the barn or the kitchen so, frustrated and annoyed, we were forced to give up. It was only on Tuesday - after the Chester Festival had been and gone, that we discovered the mix up: Instead of our lovely flyers promoting the best food Wirral has to offer, we had mistakenly taken delivery of a box load of WeightWatchers marketing literature. I had a chuckle at the sheer irony. It might have been interesting to wander the food stalls at Chester handing weight loss leaflets out to punters with cheeks stuffed with Cheshire cheese.

Back at the Chester Festival weekend, during the Chairman’s address to the audience I did a double take when I thought I heard him mention my name. By the time I realised what was going on he was already enthusiastically engaged in telling the crowd about my plans for Wirral. And he was waxing, in particular, about how I was going to be showing off one of Wirral's loveliest local products: namely our asparagus.
He's right about our asparagus. It's a little known fact that  Wirral's microclimate produces some of Britain's finest asparagus. As the story goes, Henry VIII would dine on the emerald spears during his deer stalking forays here back when the Wirral was a forested area and asparagus grew wild. This year we’re celebrating the 500th anniversary of those regal rides through the North West and it seems fitting to celebrate by cooking and eating vast quantities of our noble veg.

Anyway, by now Wirral Food Festival's Head Chef, who happened to be at the event, too, had been ushered on stage and invited to give the audience an overview of what is to come re: asparagus at the Wirral Festival. I was ready for the ground to swallow me up – poor Brian had no idea about my so far half-baked plan to highlight asparagus at the festival this August. I still have no idea how the story got out; thus far I’d only told my colleague, Andrew, at Claremont Farm. Must have a  word with Andrew - wonder if he knows anything about the leak.

But like the pro he truly is, Brian delivered an eloquent, off the cuff discourse about our plans to make historic asparagus central to the festival's theme - no one would have guessed he was winging it. I sheepishly filled him in later with my idea to have the first asparagus picked on the day of the festival from all the growers on Wirral before rushing it to a top breakfast location so everyone can enjoy it as fresh as it can possibly be.

I got a call out of the blue the day before the Chester Awards ceremony checking I was all ready to present an one of their coveted prizes. Complete panic ensued as well as a last minute appointment at with my stylist.
Nerves almost got the better of me through dinner as I envisaged dropping the presentation plate. But thankfully it was all went well and the winners of the Family Friendly Award - The Ring O Bells at Christleton, Cheshire - were over the moon. They deserve it, it is a fantastic pub. And that's coming straight from the horse's mouth.
More from Anne soon.
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1 Comments | Add a comment


Laura Evans
Hi, as a new subscriber to this site I read your diary inserts with interest. We have just launched our first Taste Cheshire Food Trails which includes over 60 foodie places featured in seven handy itineraries. One of the trails features Wirral and Claremont Farm in particular. It would be great if you could take a look at the guide and let us have any feedback. If you could mention the trails in your diary that would be fantastic. More information can be found at Thanks very much


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16 April 2009
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