Cornucopia was born from the success of Good Food Friday, a local food and drink event held in April of this year. It brings together local producers in a veritable smorgasbord of foodie delights, all under the beautiful roof of the Corn Exchange.
We (@antcarter and I) popped along to the Big Breakfast, which was an opportunity for press, bloggers and buyers to sample a couple of the products, learn more about the products and have a chat with the producers before the event opened properly.
The array of different food on offer was impressive but for me the thing that made the event was chatting to the producers and realising just how much passion they had for their produce. Regardless of whether they do it full time, part time or in spare moments squeezed around a ‘real’ job, every single person there was completely, one hundred per cent invested in their produce.
Although his products were all a bit spicy for me, in terms of product knowledge, The Chilli Jam Man (@thechillijamman) was in another league. He has a range of chilli jams and even a chilli mayonnaise (known as jammonnaise), some of which are made using the hottest commercial chillies available. I’m absolutely incapable of coping with any spice at all (as evidenced by my burning tongue after trying the jammonaise) but if you don’t mind a little kick to your dressings, then you should definitely check this guy out. You can buy online at his website, and there are a few Leeds based permanent suppliers but if you want to try before you buy then his upcoming dates are here. He’s in Wakefield on Sunday 6th November and at Northern Ballet for the Caribbean Christmas Fair on 26th and 27th November. Use them as a marinade, in sandwiches, on the barbecue…the list is endless. Plus they make a perfect foodie gift for the chilli lovers in your life! And I’ve got one word for the Chilli Jam Man: BETTAKULTCHA.
We also swung by the Pudsey Pickles stall, because after trying the strawberry and pink champagne jam at the breakfast, we were basically hooked! We picked up 3 jars for £6, which is a total bargain. The plan is to give them to the brother and sister-in-law for Christmas – but if they last two months without being ‘sampled’ I’ll be extremely surprised! If Cranberry with Caramelised Red Onion and Port Relish, Beetroot Chutney or Pineapple with Malibu Jam sound good to you, then these guys are just the ticket.
Wandering around, we didn’t leave a single sample untried – and there was nothing that we didn’t enjoy! There were some incredible chocolates from Lauden Chocolate: pricey but definitely worth it as a special treat. Fayre by Alley’s Nanaimo Bar is pretty much the sugariest thing I have *ever* eaten and is weird but moreish – catch her at Kirkstall Deli Market on Saturday. Piazza by Anthony had a huge table piled high with fresh bread which smelled absolutely incredible, and the Sunshine Bakery had a huge stall packed with their usual fare of delicious cupcakes and distressingly large sausage rolls. There was also a lot of buzz about monthly meat boxes from Swillington Farm, too.
You can’t leave a place like this without picking up a little treat for the afternoon, though – which is where the Yummy Yank comes in. Now here is a woman who loves to bake! We probably tried a little sample of pretty much everything on that stall and it was all to die for. Coca-cola cake, double chocolate cakes two feet tall, triple layer red velvet cake, chocolate chip cookie bar, peanut butter brownies, carrot cake… the whole lot was incredible. In the end we took home a slice of the butterscotch brownie and a wedge of the apple cheesecake pie (an apple pie with a layer of cheesecake baked in the middle) and they were both amazing. Keep an eye out for this woman at farmer’s markets throughout Yorkshire, and seriously do not go home without a treat!
All in all it was a fabulous gathering, and I hope the producers got as much out of it as we did. Congratulations to Rebecca and Nick for really pulling this off!
The next Cornucopia will be held over three days: the 21st, 22nd and 23rd December. This makes it perfect for picking up last minute Christmas gifts and fresh ingredients for seasonal meals and parties. Keep an eye on their website or their Twitter for updates about the producers who will be attending for these dates.