Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 12.59.54

Gourmet Escape Festival

If you happen to be travelling down under this weekend you’re in luck. From Friday to Sunday Gourmet Escape, one of the biggest food festivals of the year, is taking place in Margaret River, Western Australia. This vast celebration of food and wine will play host to Heston, Rick Stein and Massimo Bottura, as well as homegrown culinary talents Peter Gilmore, Matt Preston and James Halliday. Based around the Leeuwin Estate winery the event includes cookery demos, workshops, craft beer tastings and producers from both the local region and further afield in Oz. Alternatively head to one of the on-site restaurants and get stuck straight in.

thumb

The UK’s best Christmas markets

It’s that time of year again when the smell of sizzling bratwurst and the sight of rows of little wooden stalls line Britain’s streets. But if you’re after great local produce rather than glühwein and rock-hard gingerbread where should you make a beeline for? Here are three markets at the top of our festive wishlists:

Bath
One of the biggest – and definitely the prettiest – Christmas markets in the country, this one surrounds the city’s floodlit Abbey with 175 stalls focused on foods and crafts from the South West. Running from 27 November to 14 December, among this year’s vendors look out for Tea People tea, the Bath Soft Cheese Company‘s Bath Blue, Langsfords Preserves and hot mulled Honey’s Midford Cider.

Winchester
Another very beautiful setting (pictured), the market’s 100 stalls are spread out around the Inner Close of the city’s Norman cathedral. Taking place from 20 November to 21 December, the products here aren’t quite as local as those in Bath but the vast majority are from small, interesting British and European companies, whether that’s Cotswolds honey or traditionally made Comté cheese from eastern France.

Cardiff
Cardiff’s Christmas market is run by Craft Folk, which specialises in promoting local businesses at fairs and events in Wales. Unsurprisingly, then, this annual festive event in the Welsh capital is packed with local art, craft and gourmet gifts. Goods range from cakes and chilli-laced pickles to craft beer and wine but chocolate is the thing to buy here, with cocoa-dusted traders ranging from Sarah Bunton’s handmade chocolates to Coco Caravan’s beautifully packaged raw chocolate and Pip’s chocolate – designed to be melted into milk.

For more Christmas shopping tips, check back in next week to read our top three specialist Christmas food markets…

Ginger icecream recipe

The Bingham’s ginger ice cream

This ginger ice cream comes from Mark Jarvis, executive chef of The Bingham in Richon-upon-Thames. It goes perfectly with his unique gingerbread recipe that we posted last week.

  • egg yolks 4 large
  • whipping cream 100ml
  • whole milk 400ml
  • vanilla pod 1
  • ginger 10g, peeled and roughly chopped
  • golden caster sugar 100g
  • stem ginger 20g from a jar, chopped, plus some of the syrup to serve

To make the ice cream, warm the cream and the milk in a pan with the vanilla and chopped fresh ginger. Whisk the yolks and the sugar together. When the milk begins to come to the boil, remove from heat and pour on the yolks.

Pour this mix back into the pan and heat to 85C, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain through a sieve and leave to cool. Add the stem ginger and a pinch of salt then churn in an ice cream machine. Transfer to a container and freeze.