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Sophia Miller visits Edinburgh Foodies Festival

The unpredictable nature of a Scottish August meant that the annual Foodies Festival wasn’t blessed with the sunny skies it deserved – but the rain did little to dampen spirits.  Upon entering, we were greeted by a sea of people lounging on deckchairs with flutes of champagne, tapping their wellies along to the live blues and folk music echoing across Inverleith Park.

All the cheerful vendors we spoke to dismissed the muddy swamp-like grass as nothing compared to last year, when the last day of the event was called off due to gale-force winds. At least this time they could still peddle their wares – from strong local cheddars to fruity wine, we were offered generous samples of anything and everything available.

The Foodies Festival is a travelling event – many of the stalls and their vendors spend the summer driving across the UK, setting up shop in green spaces from Birmingham to Bristol. This meant that we could sample more than the usual food trucks you see scattered around Edinburgh – some of the international delicacies on offer included Caribbean curried goat and sushi burritos, alongside the usual gourmet burgers and hot dogs. To the delight of my gluten-intolerant guest, we even came across The Rolling Stove, a completely gluten-free stand serving up tasty flatbreads stuffed with spiced chicken, as well as homemade churros – convincing me that not all gluten-free bread tastes like cardboard and maybe magic can be worked with wheat-free flour.

The drinks options also proved to be surprisingly varied and affordable – from hot herbal tea concoctions to pomegranate punch spiked with local Edinburgh gin, there really was something for everyone. Next to the live music stage, a Pimm’s tent nestled itself next to a tropical Tiki bar serving up cocktails in hollowed-out pineapples – again, the weather not deterring customers from drinking up.

When wading through the mud got too much, we took refuge in the Chef’s Theatre, a larger marquee with a stage inside, and managed to catch a cookery demonstration hosted by 2015 MasterChef finalist Tony Rodd. Other high-profile culinary guests throughout the day included various Michelin-starred restaurateurs and Prue Leith, a soon-to-be judge on the controversial new series of the Great British Bake Off.

For those interested in burning off all that food – and not put off by the idea of exercising in a tent visible to the general public (note: not me) – there was even a yoga zone hosting several workout classes throughout the day.

Stomachs full and slightly tipsy from free drink samples, we left happy, narrowly missing out on the start of the dangerous-sounding chilli-eating competition. Just another excuse to return next year – and hope for slightly better weather…


image: Sophia Miller

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