A Sunday with Cheese, Chilli and Beer

Like all of our other friends last weekend, Aaron and I headed to a festival. Oh, no… not that festival. Aaron and I are massive foodies and Aaron is also super interested in growing his own vegetables. A peek out of the window Sunday morning revealed an overcast but perfectly pleasant day ahead (and a pretend photographer’s field day lighting-wise). Basingstoke welcomed The Cheese and Chilli Festival this last weekend, promising weekend fun for all. So I slipped on my 21-year-old-going-on-middle-aged shirt, charged my camera and mentally prepared myself for the many tasters I was about to taste. Now that’s my kind of Sunday.

IMG_2663.JPGIMG_2606.JPGIMG_2616IMG_2621.JPGIMG_2624.JPGIMG_2653.JPGIMG_2678The atmosphere was really lovely; local people wanting to support really brilliant and innovative businesses while enjoying what turned out to be a pretty great summer’s day- clouds and all. Little pop up stalls dotted the outside of the field, making certain that at least one stall’s goodies would be somebody’s cup of tea… or perfect chilli cheese in my case/caramelised onion chutney/chilli oil. The festival provided entertainment including stunt shows, bird demonstrations and chilli eating competitions. The companies are eager to interact with you, welcoming questions and even dishing out freebies on top of the testers- we were given a popcorn (the sweetcorn-looking thing)!

Not only did we each purchase a (different) ginger beer with a chilli kick, Aaron left with two chilli plants and a satay sauce which we tested beforehand and it was delicious. I could have easily bought every cheese I tried- the chilli flavours or an apple flavour I tested being my favourites. We learnt about new companies and took away leaflets for them that I genuinely plan on referring back to. The festival gave me brilliant gift ideas, and if I was a cheese and chilli fan before, I’m a superfan now. (Could I be any less of a 21 year old?)

The Cheese and Chilli Festival is heading to Guildford, Swindon and Winchester, so if you are local to any of these, I completely recommend going. Children are free, seniors pay £3 and we paid £7 each for our tickets. Local and regional cheeses are displayed to test and maybe buy at what we thought were all really reasonable prices. We didn’t once feel a price was a bit off (even if the blue cheese smelt it to me) and we always enjoyed the cheese! Stupidly hot chillies will be there too if you want to be as silly as me to try the hottest chilli in jam-form (I looked like a toddler having a tantrum after I made that fatal mistake). So if you love cheese and chilli (and all that’s in between) just like me, see what’s going on in your area because it made for a very lovely Sunday!

~ Kat ~

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