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Food Glorious Food!

Food Glorious Food

When Philippa Ratcliffe suggested that we meet in TEA, the retro café in Reigate High Street, it seemed strangely appropriate as ‘TEA’ just happens to be an anagram of ‘EAT! – the festival we were meeting to discuss. Coincidental or not, it was an ideal setting to chat about this forthcoming event dedicated to food and drink at its best, whilst we enjoyed our perfectly brewed cuppas and tasty tea cake.

Philippa is the irrepressible new Chair of The Reigate Business Guild. The Guild was set up in 1991 as a local voluntary voice from within the business community. Today around 100 organisations both large and small, from in and around Reigate work together to promote commerce, safeguarding the environment, and plan and support activities and events for the benefit of the town. Philippa’s own events company ‘Root & Prosper’ is organising ‘EAT! Food Fest’ – along with sponsorship from Surrey Life, Jacques of London, Borahurst and Sugarhill.

Last year’s festival was a fantastic success and 10,000 visitors came to Priory Park to enjoy delicious food and drink from local food traders and producers. Glorious weather, beautiful surroundings and a buzzing atmosphere it was like an enormous family picnic but without the inconvenience of having to bring any food as Reigate’s culinary best were there on hand to provide it.

This summer’s festival is on Saturday, July 23 (11.00am-6.00pm) and it promises to be even better than before, with more traders taking part. Set in the beautiful sunken garden of The Priory, oodles of traders will be offering delicious food to buy and sample, and in the Demo Kitchen experts including Chef Tony Tobin, Robert Holden (Barbeque Chef) and Rob Hewitt (butchery) will be giving demonstrations and advice.

There will be 50 stalls – a gourmet’s (and gourmand’s) paradise and when you’ve had your fill and just want to relax there will be music to chill to, art to admire and games to play. Take a wander over to the croquet lawn and you can play a game with the man whose family invented it! Reigate resident, Joe Jacques, helps to run the family business ‘Jacques of London’ which has been in existence for 6 generations and has been creating games since 1795 (I can feel another article coming on…).

Somehow or other, I missed out on last year’s EAT! Food Fest. Quite how that happened, I don’t know, as my husband can usually smell meat cooking within a 5 mile radius, and I can sense the presence of chocolate in a neighbouring county. It certainly won’t happen again though, and July 23 is firmly in my diary. Make sure it’s in yours!

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