Bath is extending a special welcome to visitors with the Great Bath Feast a month-long festival in October 2012. Bath is a handsome city at any time of year but in autumn it positively glows. The Great Bath Feast is a melting pot of wonderful flavours and lively personalities; of cakes and ale; of great gourmets and warm gastro pubs; of buns and cook books; of gastro gadgets and herb growers.
The Great Bath Feast gets chefs showing off and sharing and championing local produce. We are expecting some great gastro performances by visiting celebrities Mark Hix, Angela Hartnett and Raymond Blanc, who now has his own Brasserie Blanc on historic Queen’s Square. In a special Chef’s Theatre set in a former Georgian chapel, The Octagon at Milsom Place (19th /20th October) expect to see chefs with Michelin star credentials like Michael Caines from the Bath Priory Hotel and Gidleigh Park; Philip Howard from The Square in Mayfair; Hywel Jones from Lucknam Park; Xanthe Clay, Food Editor of the Telegraph and Chris Staines from new Bath eaterie, The Allium Restaurant at the Abbey Hotel. Toppings & Co celebrates its Autumn Book Festival with a packed programme including evenings with Reza Mahammad and Yotam Ottolenghi.
As the name “Great Bath Feast” suggests, most events are all about indulgence and enjoyment; tasting fine wines and locally brewed beers and ciders; gourmet evenings and tasting menus; foraging walks and farmer’s markets. Meet some of the nation’s top artisan cheese makers brought to Milsom Place by the Fine Cheese Co. billed as this year’s most important gathering of the cheese champs, or hone your skills with inspiration from The Bertinet Kitchen or Demuth’s Vegetarian Cookery School. You can even learn how to create a sugar sculpture just like the Georgian’s did with The Building of Bath Collection.
The south west is sometimes called the larder of England and Bath has rich farming country in its backyard. Fruit and vegetables are being harvested in the village of Swainswick up on the hills even as people arrive in the city and they may well appear on the plate at dinner that same evening. The “Bath on a Plate” celebrates this local connection to suppliers with a chance for restaurants to incorporate fresh seasonal ingredients packed with flavour.
In its Georgian heyday Bath became a magnet for fashionable society and it has traded on its hospitality ever since. The great coaching inns have been replaced by fabulous pubs but the tradition of local ales lives on with Bath Ales and Abbey Ales. Bath Race Course is hosting a full scale Oktoberfest. For bon viveurs, The Portfolio Tasting will be a tasting of over 100 of Great Western Wines best wines, with the chance to meet Champagne Houses and boutique wine makers face to face.
Visitors are able to walk their taste buds through the city on the Bath Taste Trail to sample flavours sweet and savoury, chocolate to cheese. Bath has specialist food shops and superb delis to purchase foodie souvenirs to take home. There is nothing mundane about shopping in Bath; it’s a day spent exploring independents and finding treasures against an exquisite historic backdrop. Pause for tea and coffee in Bath and go back in time in the glorious Pump Room or at Sally Lunn’s, both steeped in history, or cafes like Café Lucca and Sam’s Kitchen are chic and contemporary independents.
The Great Bath Feast promises half-term fun for all the family. The Vegetarian Cookery School sets out to find the Young Vegetarian Chef of the Year; a contest to find the best Young Vegetarian Chef in the country. As part of The Telegraph Bath Festival of Children’s Literature CBBC’s Stefan Gates performs a mind-blowing mix of science and extraordinary cooking complete with explosions, vegetable instruments and some of the most bizarre foods on earth. Ever wished someone else would teach your kids to cook? The Bertinet Cookery School teaches them to make delicious (and slightly scary) food for Halloween including stuffed and skewered vampire capes with blood and green goo and witches treat. It’s Halloween so The National Trust Prior Park, is hosting a pumpkin workshop “Carve It, Cook It, Eat It!” with pumpkin carving demonstrations, pumpkin recipes and cooking by local chefs and tastings too!
Life is too short to “grab and go”, so plan dinner in Bath with friends and linger over a good bottle of wine. Whether it’s for an engagement dinner a deux at the Royal Crescent or Bath Rugby match analysis fuelled by Bath Ales at the Salamander, Bath makes people happy. Nick Brooks Sykes, Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus says “We’ve packaged up some of the joy that people discover when they visit Bath and look forward to celebrating it with our visitors during the Great Bath Feast.”
Hotels and B&Bs are cooking up the Great Bath Breakfast for the guests before they venture out to explore the World Heritage city. This is a “full English” packed with the freshest ingredients; tasty and satisfying.
The Bath Good Food Awards are the hors d’oeuvre, the people’s choice of the best of the best so watch out for the results and an action packed day with produce stalls and chefs on show.
The Great Bath Feast is a new event created by a partnership between local businesses supported by the Bath Business Improvement District and Bath Tourism Plus. There are many speciality and independent food retailers in Bath” commented Andrew Cooper, Bath Business Improvement District Manager who is organising the festival with Bath Tourism Plus. “The partnership approach, working with Bath businesses means that we can create an event and a campaign that will raise the profile of the city in the autumn. The Great Bath Feast has something for everyone whether they call Bath home or are visiting the city.”
The festival website – www.greatbathfeast.co.uk includes a full programme of events and participating businesses as well as some great promotions and special offers and a chance to enter our competition with fabulous prizes!