Get ready for BBQ season with the Food & Drink Festival Online 2020

If you’re anything like me, the thing I miss most about this situation we find ourselves in is culinary experiences. Whether it’s al fresco eating or food festivals, there’s certainly a void in my life – especially as the weather’s been so nice. I’ve been showcasing some local and independent brands on my blog lately and if like me, you’re missing all the food festivals, check out the Food & Drink Festival Online 2020. A cornucopia of artisan products you may never have heard of, but certainly need to. There are plenty to choose from and you can filter by the kinds of products you like/want – get your taste buds going as you’re transported to the websites you like and click to your heart’s content.

I have to say that one good thing about the weather is the number of barbecues we’ve been having. I think it’s already three or four and we’re planning another one (or two) over the Bank Holiday weekend. If like us, you want to be barbecue ready, be sure to check out the Food & Drink Festival Online 2020, because there are some absolute gems on there. Read on as I give you three companies you need to check out!
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In our house, Ash is the BBQ king, and he usually has a beer in hand. I’m in the kitchen, getting the plates and cutlery and preparing all the salads and sides, and drinking whatever’s going open – usually wine or gin. But recently, we’ve been loving cocktails. We made a pitcher of pina colada for our last barbecue and before that, sipped Aperol Spritz like it was going out of fashion – while I was dreaming, I was drinking it in Lake Garda.

Tom Savano is absolutely a bit of me. Combining beautifully crafted cocktails with travel experiences (my other love) to create absolute masterpieces. There are four drinks to choose from and each bottle contains two servings… but where do you start? Well for me, it’s simple – English Garden Lychee Martini. It just sounds heavenly. Pairing an Asian lychee liqueur with an English elderflower vodka is a culture twist but one I’m most definitely on board with. Each bottle is £14 and if the lychee martini isn’t up your street, there’s also a Devon Coastal Negroni, Kentucky Winter Old Fashioned, or Single Estate Reposado Margarita – so you could pretend you’re in Cabo.
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You can’t have a BBQ without condiments and I’m not talking your bog-standard ketchup and mustard for your hot dogs, or your mayo vs salad cream debate. I’m talking proper tasty accompaniments, ones that really complement what you’re grilling. I love a condiment and I have to say, the artisan markets or farm shops are always the best places to go, ‘cos you find something new and unique, something you probably couldn’t get from the likes of Tesco.

If you’re a bit of a condiment connoisseur too, then Manfood have got you covered – whether you’re barbecuing or not. I could most definitely go off on a tangent here because I’ve spent hours poring over their ranges of sauces and pickles, but let’s get back to barbecue. While the BBQ Essentials gift box (smoked corn relish, adobo sauce, smoked tomato sauce and beer & smoke pickle) has all you need to get started, I’m more interested in some of the individual jars. I love the sound of combining grilled lamb chops or cutlets, or even pork belly and serving it with the Apple, Mint & Cider jelly. Or alternatively, boneless ribs and wings slathered in the beer BBQ sauce – we’ve been loving chicken wings, thighs and drumsticks this barbecue season. Like I say, if barbecue isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other options available, including an Asian-inspired range and your roast dinner essentials!
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Whether you’re entertaining or just having a family barbecue, you’ve got to have a dessert – and for me, it’s always got to be something big, or something special. I remember family barbecues or barbecue parties at friends’ houses growing up, and there would always be multiple desserts. I have a massive sweet tooth so would try them all, but my all-time favourite dessert is cheesecake. There’s a time I was making one a week, or fortnight and my mocha one is divine (note to self: make it soon).

If you’re looking for decadence, look no further than Love Cheesecake. The beautifully handcrafted individual mini cheesecakes come in boxes of 12, 20 or 40 with gluten-free options also available. But you can also order larger cheesecakes of 9” (8-10 servings). Love Cheesecake claim to have 100+ recipes and I for one want to try them all! I’ve already drooled my way through the brochure and alongside all the classic flavours, there’s Cornflake Cake and Rice Krispie Cake which both sound amazing, and Rocky Road too. Don’t they sound dreamy? For me though, you can’t go wrong with white chocolate & raspberry or white chocolate & blueberry. Oh, and big news, they can cater for birthdays and weddings… that could be dessert sorted!

Whether you’re wanting to get ready for barbecue season, are just looking for some inspiration when it comes to new food and drink experiences, or love supporting independent, artisan businesses, make the Food & Drink Festival Online 2020 your next stop. Who knows, you might come across a new favourite company or product.

Love, Lucy xx

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