I’m embarrassed to admit it took me only four years and it turning up at my doorstep to find out about MKFoodFest. A mainstay of the MK social calendar since its debut in 2016.
After three successful editions, MKFoodFest returned this year at The Pavillion in Middleton, and seeing it was a stone throw away, I had to drag Mr O, the doods and unsuspecting sister-in-law who’d swung by for a visit to check it out.
The brainchild of three dedicated Milton Keynes foodies. Hazel Roberts and Laurence Conisbee are artisan food producers and Turan Turan is an artisan food teacher, MKFoodFest aims to promote and champion local artisan food and drink producers in and around Milton Keynes.
With 60 stallholders, all coming from within a 20-mile radius of the venue, MK FoodFest is truly a celebration of the local food scene. Who would have thought that there’s actually a local vineyard in Northamptonshire producing award-winning tipple? Or you can get Kenyan coffee in Buckingham?
The street food scene is equally exciting, and MKFoodFest was a great reminder of the variety of food we actually can enjoy from South African Bokkies, to grilled cheese sandwiches from The Good Times Cafe, from Mexican food by Taco Shack to Feast which possibly had the longest queue with people – including yours truly – patiently waiting for good part of an hour for chargrilled street food.
While I enjoyed by harisa lamb wrap, Mr O. opted for his staple street food hot dog and sister in law Ola finally relented and braved the queues for paella that looked positively delicious!
There was of course drinks on the menu too, with a range of locally produced craft beer, cider and gin.
Foodies also got to see local chefs such as Shane Clark of Swan Inn and Mark Lees of Crayfish Capers hard at work with live demos in a bespoke kitchen crafted by one of the local sponsors of the event, Renov8 Kitchens.
With the sun out and temperatures reaching high 20s, it really felt like a festival. Kids enjoying child-friendly zones and activities, families spread out on the cricket ground, with a savvy few who’d brought along picnic blankets and the rest of us vying for the hay bales and of course live music from a line up of local bands. It felt like summer was back for the weekend just to add to that festival feel.
There were dogs as well of course – because what better way of taking the pooch for a walk, right? No wonder there were plenty of smiling faces and waggy tales.
Well, shame on me I missed out on the previous editions of MKFoodFest. Let’s just it’s now firmly on next year’s calendar as one of the top Milton Keynes events to attend. Just keep fingers crossed the weather plays nice next September too.