I was super excited to learn that the first ever New Forest Food & Drink Festival is taking place this autumn – basically a whole week celebrating the lush food of one of the South’s best loved locations from 31 October to 6 November. Why has this never happened before?!
Some of my favourite hotels and restaurants are holding special events – Cambium at Careys Manor, Chewton Glen, The Terrace at The Montagu Arms, Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood and Rhinefield House, to name but a few – and with around 120 activities on the menu in total, it’s going to be hard to choose where to go!
Some of the quirkier events really stand out for me – this is no ordinary food festival! Paddle to the Pub with New Forest Activities to enjoy a spot of lunch at The Master Builder’s at Buckler’s Hard. Check out the chefs’ sausage challenge at The New Forest Inn. Or treat the kids to afternoon tea with a difference at a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Party in the Beaulieu Hotel.
There are also a couple of free events; A Taste of the Outdoors takes place at the fascinating Pony Sales Yard on Beaulieu Road, which is steeped in history (I love the drone footage of the venue). Here you’ll be able to find about the Forest’s rich heritage from The New Forest’s Rangers and Agisters, and taste some delicious ‘street food’ cooked by local chefs. I’ll definitely be visiting this one on 2 November, so make sure you’re following me on Instagram for all the latest!
As you’d expect from any decent food festival, there’s a Producers’ Market and Chef Demos, being held at Brockenhurst College on Sunday 6 November. I’m really excited about the demonstrations from local experts such as Chocolate by Miss Witt and Pothecary Gin.
And you already know about the pigs, right? If not, take a look at this video – every autumn, after the acorns, beechmast, chestnuts and other nuts have fallen, up to 600 pigs work their way through the forest eating them from the forest floor (which in turn helps protect the famous ponies). What better time to visit?