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Southsea Food Festival

This past weekend saw the return of what is fast becoming a Southsea institution when Palmerston and Osborne Road once again became the site of the annual food festival.

Arriving about Midday on the Saturday I was greeted with an overwhelming array of amazing sights, sounds and smells. It was almost impossible to know where to go first with almost anything you could ever want on offer. Sweet to savoury; exotic to traditional – something for everyone.

After a promise to come back to the epic paella (totally worth the wait), we found ourselves stopping at the FEED stand to sample one of their hotdogs. What makes this company extra special is that for every hot dog sold they provide a nutrition pack to someone in need. Taste with a side of ethics – what more could you want? I was also impressed with the fact that they offer a choice of sausages rather than just the standard. Little touches that make a big difference. We went for the standard hot dog topped with cheese, onion, bacon and barbeque sauce. Messy but completely delicious and I will be sure to check them out down at the arches.

This was swiftly followed up by a visit to The Gin Emporium. These dapper gents offered a wide array of gins, all expertly paired with the perfect mixer. Don’t get me wrong, I could have quite happily gone for any of them, being a huge ‘ginthsuiast’, but decided on the ‘Hoxton’ – a refreshing blend of grapefruit and coconut. Based out of ‘The Marmion’, this mobile emporium has every variety and flavour going in this ‘drink of the moment.’ My companion went for a blueberry based one and certainly wasn’t disappointed.

This led us to a wander further down Osborne Road where all of the Southsea favourites were out in force. ‘Pie and Vinyl’ were offering their usual range of ‘proper British fayre’ alongside ‘Noble House’, ‘Circolo’ and the guys from ‘Meat and Barrel’ and ‘The Belle Isle’ offering much welcomed refreshment. The day was completed with a cheese board from ‘Cheese and Cheers’ where the service is as excellent as the vast array of amazing cheeses. Another Southsea gem. For me, the perfect end to the perfect day.

As is often the way when it comes to food, one helping is never enough and so we decided to venture back down on Sunday to sample whatever we hadn’t managed to make room for on Saturday. Highlights for us included deliciously crisp and cheesy arancini from Circolo, bubble and squeak, Churros (people seemed to agree as the queue for this was round the block!) and the plethora of small independent traders who had travelled far and wide to sell their wares to the foodies of our small island.

This was topped off by a friendly and electric atmosphere, with people of all ages sampling what the festival had to offer with the perfect accompaniment of live music courtesy of the Wedgewood Rooms. Not to mention to wonderful assortment of dogs, my personal favourite being Rambo who I spotted in the snaking queue for Al Burrito. Their bus, complete with DJ on the top deck ended the festival perfectly as I ambled past to enjoy my culinary delights on the common. Talking of the common, it might be worth considering expanding the festival on to this space, due to its popularity. My only criticism of the whole weekend is that sometimes it felt a little cramped, which didn’t help alongside the sun!

Talking of the common, it might be worth considering expanding the festival on to this space, due to its popularity. My only criticism of the whole weekend is that sometimes it felt a little cramped, which didn’t help alongside the sun!

I finished my weekend with a visit to the launch of the Southsea Brewing Co. at the Southsea Castle.

Well done Southsea, you’ve done it again. Why live anywhere else?

Photos by Naomi Rendle, Girl About Southsea, Paul Thurlow, The Belle Isle, Circolo and Al Burrito.


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