Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The rise of the "Glasto-pub"

There was a time when the only sustenance at music festivals was a soggy heap of chow mein washed down with scrumpy.

These days, the food corner of any festival field worth its salt is more likely to resemble a farmers’ market than a greasy takeaway. The best of the food is wholesome and imaginative with stalls offering a range of gourmet fare from organic ostrich burgers with homemade redcurrant relish to Loch Fyne oysters, and seasonal berry smoothies.

At Glastonbury, which starts tomorrow, the Goan Seafood Company serves a breakfast kedgeree made with fish caught freshly from Mevagissey in Cornwall, while the Splendid Chicken “Glasto-pub” has free-range Moroccan tagines and there are hot smoked mackerel wraps from Hall’s Dorset Smokery.

The soulful Manic Organic Café and Tiny Tea Tent please the veggie crowd with homemade cakes, speciality teas and sparkling elderflower and wild nettle cordial.

For a handy main meal “to go” Pure Pie’s coconutty Thai pie and Pieminster’s Chicken of Aragon (laced with tarragon) are worth seeking out.

For liquid refreshment it’s all aboard the double decker cider bus for local hero Julian Temperley’s Burrow Hill Somerset cider which Laura in the festival office describes as “flat and pokey (as it should be) with no chemical fizzy crap”. Spot on. His Kingston Black is a bottle fermented sparkling Cider made by traditional method and is just about as good as cider gets.

Standon Calling, in Hertfordshire (Aug 1-3), has the pick of stalls from Borough Market, and Lovebox, in London’s Victoria Park (July 19-20), has its own farmers’ market.

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