Harewood House Great British Food Festival

The Great British Food festival was at Harewood House for a four day extravaganza this June bank holiday weekend. In addition to good food and great music, the event enabled people from across the region to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in a right regal setting.

I visited the Food Festival in Roundhay Park recently, and had an amazing time. The beautiful weather that weekend helped a lot, but I also really enjoyed the music, the food and all the artisan stalls. I was therefore keen to head to the Harewood Food Festival, to enjoy a similar experience and so I decided to book some tickets, even though they were pretty steep at £16.50 per person.

When Friday came around, my boyfriend and I cycled over to Harewood to try out the food on offer, listen to the music and take in the views of the house and gardens. We arrived at the estate just before 12. It had been a rainy morning so I was apprehensive about spending the whole afternoon out in the elements. Thankfully, as soon as we arrived, the sun came out and the temperature rose, and along with them, my mood lifted.

After we passed through the ticket check, which took all of a minute, we headed to the Food Festival area, which was just outside the front of the house, and had a wander around. We checked out the range of artisan stalls that were selling everything from pies to dog food. I didn’t think that the range was as big or quite as good as it had been at Roundhay, but I liked that there was a lot more space to look, try tasters and chat to the vendors.

As lunchtime was approaching, we left the artisan stalls and headed to the food vans. Whilst there was a good range of options, from Vietnamese curry to woodfired pizzas, again, I didn’t think the options were quite as good as those in Roundhay. Nevertheless, we soon found a food truck that took our fancy – Caribbean jerk chicken. Seeing and smelling the jerk chicken cooking on the BBQ right by the van was a big tick for us both. The queue was long, but we both saw this as a plus, and so decided to join the queue and wait our turn.

Whilst we were waiting, we decided what we wanted, and we also listened to the music, which was being played on the bandstand right next to us. We both thought that the band was great, and we enjoyed humming along to the tunes as we edged towards our lunch. When we eventually got to the front of the queue, we ordered a plate of jerk chicken loaded fries with coleslaw, mango mayo and spicy sauce to share. We opted to get the sauces separately to keep our fries crispy and to control our own level of heat.

We took our fries and found a spot on the lawn to enjoy them. Neither of us was blown away. The chips, which should have been the main attraction, weren’t super crispy and weren’t hot and steamy as we would have wanted them to be. The chicken was good, with a nice level of BBQ smokiness, but again, it was pretty standard chicken off the BBQ, so we were left wanting more. I did like the homemade mango mayo and the coleslaw, and they helped to lift the rest of the meal. We finished off the dish, but we wouldn’t be going back for more.

After our chips, we relaxed on the lawn and took in the atmosphere and listened to the music. We even clapped along to Queen and swayed to Neil Diamond classics.

Platinum Jubilee tea party setting

After our food had settled, we headed off for a wander around Harewood house. Neither of us had visited the stately home before, so we both enjoyed exploring. The ‘Radical Acts’ exhibition was on in the house too, which we also enjoyed checking out. I particularly liked seeing the contemporary furniture pieces and we stumbled across a Platinum Jubilee tea party scene, which was amazing. The Buckingham palace gingerbread ‘house’ was particularly awesome. It was just a shame that we couldn’t eat any of it!

Buckingham Palace gingerbread house

We followed the house tour around and ended up on the beautifully landscaped terrace. The view that greeted us was incredible. We headed down to the farm/ bird area and had a wander around. I’m not usually a big fan of seeing animals and birds kept in cages, and I can’t say seeing them at Harewood was any different. But it looked like all the younger visitors at the house were having a great time.

After our wander, we headed back up to the Food Festival. We wanted to find something sweet, so we went back over to the artisan stalls. It was hard to decide between the big Italian cannoli’s, the sweet and sticky mixed nut baklavas and the Portuguese pastel de natas. Eventually, after seeing that they had raspberry and biscoff flavoured options, we opted for the Portuguese delicacy. We also found a coffee shop horse box and ordered a flat white to go with our sweet treats,

Chef’s demonstration

We headed over to the chef demo area to watch the chef in action and to enjoy our dessert. I loved the biscoff – custard combo and enjoyed the contrast with the flaky pastry. The raspberry one was equally delicious, so I was glad we opted to try both. The flat white was a bit of a let down, but it was the caffeine hit we needed. The chef demonstration was interesting – he was making a fruit strudel, which he explained was a great crowd pleaser at dinner parties. I was sad that we didn’t get to try any of it, but am looking forward to giving the recipe a go soon.

Pastel de nata

Just before we headed home, we watched a chilli eating contest – something that I wasn’t expecting to witness. We saw the competitors challenge themselves to eat some of the hottest chillies in existence. I would have been out on round one, but there were three brave souls who made it through 10 rounds of increasingly hot chillies. I was sweating just watching them!

We left Harewood Food Festival happy and well filled with food. I loved having the opportunity to explore Harewood House – I am definitely going to be heading back soon to explore more of the grounds. We both enjoyed listening to the music in the sunshine, and are going to be checking out all the acts that we saw again. We weren’t blown away by the food, which seeing as it was a food festival was a bit disappointing. But overall, we had a great afternoon and I would recommend the event, especially for the atmosphere.

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