Bristol Food Connections 2018 is nearly here, so it’s time to plan your festival!
Bristol Food Connections is one the highlights of Bristol’s food calendar, with a ridiculous amount of events (130 at the last count!) taking place across the city from 11-17th June.
It’s a fairly huge festival, covering everything from growing your own food to huge gala dinners and talks on sustainability. We’ve decided to break down what’s happening and pick out a few of our favourites from this year’s programme.
Booze it up
There are plenty of ways to hit the hard stuff (and find out more about it too)…
- A Journey Through Gin on Brunel’s SS Great Britain (Thu 14th, £22)
A tutored tasting of the full range of Bramley & Gage’s gins (inc. 6 O’Clock Gin) and liquers aboard Bristol’s historic ship.
- Traditional Cider Making, Orchard Tour & Tasting (Sun 17th, £10)
Enjoy a guided tour of this orchard in North Somerset & taste several ciders.
- Whisky and the Senses (Tue 12th, £8)
Find out why whisky tastes the way it does, and why you like some but not others.
- Cider vs Beer (Tue 12th, £25)
Taste your way through a selection of great beers & ciders and find out their similarities and differences!
- Portuguese wine dinner (Sat 16th, £45)
A three-course Portuguese dinner complimented with a paired wine flight.
- A Celebration of Bread & Beer (Fri 15th, Free)
Left Handed Giant and Assembly Bakery join forces for this street food party in Finzels Reach.
- Avery’s Summer of Wine (Sat 16th, £25)
Avery’s annual wine fiesta takes over Colston Hall, with over 100 wines for you to try!
See more of Bristol
With events dotted in every far flung corner of Bristol, now is the time to get out and explore!
- World Food Passport (All week, £8)
Taste your way around the food businesses of Gloucester Road, collecting stamps as you go (or you can also do a guided food tour of Gloucester Road that week too).
- Behind the Scenes of a Gin Distillery (Sat 16th, £25)
Head out to Thornbury for this special tour of 6 O’clock Gin’s distillery to find out more about how their delectable spirit is made (with plenty of tasters along the way, obv).
- Shroomshop (Sun 17th, £30)
Get some hands-on tips about mushroom cultivation at this workshop in St Werbs.
- Thyme Trail (Fri 15th, £15)
Visit various vendors in Wapping Wharf, hearing the stories behind the businesses and getting tasters as you go.
- TimeZone: Eat Your Way Around the World (Sat 16th, £4)
Try a range of international cuisine in Easton, including Jamican, Indonesian and Spanish.
- Eco day at Hartcliffe City Farm (Sun 17th, Free)
Try your hand at pond dipping, searching for bugs and other activities.
It’s not just about filling your face with food, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill or hear some interesting perspectives on the food we eat too:
- In Our Hands Screening (Thu 14th, £5, or £12 with a two-course meal)
Head to City Hall to see this thought-provoking documentary about Britain’s food system.
- Transforming the Education System Through Food (Tues 12th, £8)
Can schools transform learning through diet? Head along to this talk to find out.
- Philosophy Breakfast: The Ethics of Global Food Production (Sun 17th, £14)
Is it possible to eat ethically? Join the debate (breakfast included)
- Startup Stories (Tue 12th, £10)
Hear from several Bristol food businesses how they started out, and how to build a successful independent business.
- The Secret Life of Cows (Sun 17th, £8)
How do cows naturally behave, and what issues does this raise around farming?
- Fermentation Collaboration (Thu 14th, £25)
The Pickled Brisket & Bristol Cider Shop explain the process of fermentation, followed by a cider tasting and one of Pickled Brisket’s mega sandwiches.
Some seriously special dinner events from well-known chefs and local producers…
- FUTURE: FEAST (Mon 11th, £25)
Star Trek meets Come Dine With Me in an ‘immersive dining experience’.
- A Summer’s Feast (Fri 15th & Sat 16th, £30)
The next generation of Bristol chefs serve up a seasonal feast.
- It’s a Bristol Ting! (Sun 17th, Free)
Celebrate Bristol’s Jamaican community with rum & jerk chicken at Lakota.
- Chocolate Gala Dinner (Mon 11th, £35)
A special dinner to kick-off festival week, with all 3 courses featuring chocolate.
- Summer Dine & Vine Feast (Thu 14th, £30)
A three-course tasting menu paired with bio-dynamic wines.
- Homegrown Collective Supper Club (Fri 15th, £35)
Three-courses of local, seasonal food accompanied by music.
There are also loads of free talks and demos at the Festival Hub (next to Watershed) throughout the week, so it’s worth stopping by to see what’s on!
New Year Menu Twist at Woky Ko
Woky Ko launch new menu
Nestled in Wapping Wharf on Bristol’s buzzing harbourside, Woky Ko: CARGO swung open its doors in late-October, 2016 – capturing attention with a bold menu of delicate flavours. Talented chef-owner Larkin Cen has recently added to the family with Park St’s Woky Ko: Kauto, and the two combined offer some of the finest Asian cuisine you’ll find anywhere in the South West.
Woky Ko: Kauto
Woky Ko: Kauto has perhaps become the flagship venue, offering a little more space and a stronger restaurant feel than its waterside cousin. Sleek lines, muted tones and a contemporary feel combine to create a warm and welcoming space, with a row of high stools offering hungry diners that intimate ‘kitchen table’ experience.
There’s a strong crossover of influence and flavour between the Cargo and Kauto menus – with dishes like noodles, sharing sides and baos featuring in both. But with a larger kitchen, Kauto offers a fuller range.
Ramen recommendations (Ramenations? No…)
On my most recent visit I broke with previous form and tried the Woky Ko ramen; a large bowl of steaming noodles swimming in an umami (look it up) broth based on the saltier shio recipe. Larkin has spent hours perfecting the balances of salt, soy and spices across his dishes, and, with delicate jamon bone and rich roasted garlic, Woky Ko ramen is simply stunning.
But yes, I do have form here. On my first Kauto visit I fell a bit in love with the KFC ramen. This show-stopping blend of Korean spices leaves you slurping from the bottom of the bowl – perhaps not very fitting for a stylish restaurant setting, but it’s all too easy to get carried away…
Sichuan ox cheek and hot and sour aged tofu complete Kauto’s ramen offerings, complemented by a mouth-watering selection of sides like onglet steak, tiger prawn toast, crispy duck pancakes and tenderstem broccoli that will change the way you look at greens forever.
New Year deals from Monday to Friday
Woky Ko’s new weekday deals started up recently, offering diners a little added value for money from 4.30pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday.
Down on the harbourside, Woky Ko Cargo is offering either chicken vermicelli noodles or edamame bean and sunflower seed yakisoba noodles plus a Tsingtao beer for £10.
And on Park St, just opposite the Wills Memorial Building, Woky Ko Kauto’s early-evening deal brings you a free beer, glass of wine or soft drink with any of the four ramen dishes.
Behind the Scenes at Thatchers Cider
I have a confession to make… I’m a cider snob. I like it dry or medium-dry, and cloudy – with the heady scent of fermented apples still brimming in the glass. The kind of cider that’s been greasing the wheels of agriculture and industry in Somerset for centuries. Not for me, the sugary, sweet, supermarket stuff… I’ll have a pint of real zider, and you can leave the twigs and leaves in, too.
Spanning four generations in the same family, Thatchers is our region’s most famous cider-maker – and their range of produce is broad. Although most of their ciders are slightly over-processed for my liking, they do still make cider the traditional way. I’d say a visit to their orchards at Myrtle Farm in the heart of Somerset’s cider country is a must-do for any cider-lover in Bristol.
Exploring the orchards
My recent visit began in the Thatchers Exhibition Orchard, where manager Chris oversees over 450 different apple varieties. The weather conditions in Somerset offer the perfect conditions for growing apples – with cold winters allowing the trees to lie dormant, and temperate springs promoting bee pollination and blossom-growth. True to form for this time of year, it was pissing with rain as we strolled among the lines of fruit-laden trees – but the apples like a little of that, too.
Hearing how Chris and his team fuse new apple buds to young root stocks to produce varieties like Dabinett and Jonagold was insightful, and his ability to harness the power of nature to produce the finest harvests made for fascinating listening. Our tour continued past the huge apple vats and ancient fermentation tanks to the state-of-the-art canning plant, and it was a joy to hear the various Thatchers team members share their passion for the product.
To the tasting…
Thatchers brought a selection of their lovely cider to Bristol a few months ago, so this was a fortunate second tasting for me. We sampled diverse brews including Redstreak, Old Rascal, Vintage, Haze, Katy, and more – each offering a different balance of scent and flavour to the last. It turns out Old Rascal is the team’s overall favourite Thatchers’ cider – a very fine drop indeed.
Lunch at The Railway Inn
The Railway Inn is Thatchers’ local pub, with a broad selection of beers and ciders alongside a full menu of delicious dishes sourced, of course, from in and around Somerset. The pub has been lovingly converted from its original stone structure to a warm and welcoming space – with traditional snug, open bar area and stylish oak-beamed dining room. There’s garden seating for summer visitors, and a seasonal menu that makes the very most of the region’s natural produce.
Take a tour
If all this talk of apples and cider has got your taste buds tingling, you can find details on Thatchers’ guided tours and tastings on their website here. October is Cider and Perry Month, so now’s the ideal time to celebrate and support our local orchards and cider-makers. Harvest season is upon us too, so if you visit Thatchers there’s a good chance you’ll get to see the trucks arriving from across Somerset – their fruity haul ready for pressing.
If you head over, do book a table at The Railway Inn – it makes a good visit great. I can recommend the Thatchers Gold-battered fish and chips, and the sticky toffee pud hits the spot. Cider’s not bad ‘n’ all. Cheers!
Pata Negra Revamp Kitchen And Menu
Pata Negra Steps It Up for the Autumn Season
Bristol’s proud independent streak is well-documented, and we’re lucky to have so many vibrant and exciting bars, restaurants and cafes to choose from in this city.
If you enjoy visiting and supporting Bristol’s varied independent venues, it’s likely you’ll have a list of places old and new that you’re just waiting for the right time to tick off.
The Ox on Corn Street had been sitting on my must-visit list for months when I went last month, and I was very, very impressed.
But from the style-savvy team behind The Milk Thistle and Hyde & Co, what else could I have expected?
Also on Corn Street, and also run by the same talented team, Pata Negra is another venue I’d been curious about for a while — but on those occasions when I’d peered in past the door, I’d never felt encouraged in. Despite the great location and classical décor, it somehow just didn’t feel tempting.
Fresh changes at Pata Negra
That’s all changed now. In the latest round of developments at Pata Negra, the kitchen has been brought up from the basement to take pride of place at the forefront of the room — and the difference is striking.
You step through the doorway to skilled chefs preparing delicious dishes in their new open-plan setting, with a fine haunch of cured Ibérico ham hanging from the wall.
Further towards the back of the room, welcoming window seats and banks of plush red-leather benches offer the perfect settings for intimate gatherings of friends.
A menu re-vamp for the autumn season
The engine-room of the restaurant is now fully on show, and a menu re-vamp has changed things up for autumn. Diners can expect seasonal twists on authentic Spanish classics alongside new dishes created to bring the best out of the kitchen’s open grills.
Meanwhile, the wine and sherry list showcases the best of the Iberian Peninsula — the perfect accompaniment to the delicious tapas dishes, fresh seafood and decadent desserts on offer.
For full details on Pata Negra’s refreshed autumn menu, head over to the website here.
New Year Menu Twist at Woky Ko
Woky Ko launch new menu Nestled in Wapping Wharf on Bristol’s buzzing harbourside, Woky Ko: CARGO swung open its doors in late-October, 2016...
Behind the Scenes at Thatchers Cider
I have a confession to make… I’m a cider snob. I like it dry or medium-dry, and cloudy – with...
Pata Negra Revamp Kitchen And Menu
Pata Negra Steps It Up for the Autumn Season Bristol’s proud independent streak is well-documented, and we’re lucky to have...
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