Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year with festive songs taking over the radio, tasty treats filling the kitchen cupboards and magical lights lining the streets. It’s one of my favourite times of the year as Christmas means visiting family and friends, exchanging gifts and enjoying quality time with Kieron. As we love going out for the day, I tend to keep my eyes and ears open to discover any local events taking place. Back in Autumn I heard about an event being run at the Lincolnshire Showground and it sounded like the perfect Christmas event for our first weekend in December. The Lincolnshire Food & Gift event would be great for buying stocking fillers, learning new cooking tips and getting into the Christmas spirit. Personally, I couldn’t ask for anything more!
Taking place on the outskirts of Lincoln at the Lincolnshire Showground, Lincolnshire Food & Gift took place 2nd – 3rd December from 9am – 4pm. With over 150 varied exhibitors showcasing their products, the Showground was home to many wonderful trinkets, treats and treasures. An overwhelming festive feeling welcomed you once inside the exhibition hall making it great fun for individuals, couples and families. The Lincolnshire Kitchen catered for those needing some tips this Christmas including how to cook the perfect chicken (Nick Bradley from Sunnyside Up Farm Shop) and each chef had recipe cards to give away at the end – a practical souvenir to take away and use this Christmas! Local choirs performed in the Food Walk whilst guests enjoyed lunch from an array of Lincolnshire based food and drink vendors. Santa’s workshop was free to explore for children where crafts and activities were available including making Christmas tree pizzas and melted snowman biscuits. The Showground was draped with fairy lights, Christmas music filled the room and everyone had a smile on their face whether a guest, exhibitor or staff member; it was a superb atmosphere and a joyful event.
After a long and busy week at work, I was keen to set off early for Lincolnshire Food & Gift to beat the crowds and arrive early with Kieron. This would allow plenty of time to peruse the stalls at our leisure and grab a spot of breakfast (I opted for a gingerbread and chocolate muffin from Bails Barista while Kieron enjoyed a flat white coffee). Upon our arrival at the Showground, we handed in our prepaid tickets and received a guide which included a map, list of exhibitors and timetable of events for both days. This was really handy to have in your pocket! The map in particular was useful as we could see the layout of the stalls across the Epic Centre and Exhibition Hall with the Food Walk in between the two, and it ensured no stalls would be missed.
The first stall we reached immediately grabbed my intention as I saw a variety of cakes and biscuits beautifully gift wrapped. Shortcakes Bakery provides traditional hand made cakes and I thought it rude not to sample them! I chose a mint aero rocky road slice and Kieron picked a mince meat slice. We then went on to explore Duffy’s Fine Chocolate, The Immaculate Collection’s flavoured almonds, Sarah’s Bushel Boxes’ hand crafted crates, Apidae Honey, Jack Straws Baskets and Verbatim Art. The selection of exhibitors at the event were fantastic with a wide variety of food, drink, furniture, art, clothing, accessories, festive decoration, books and local charities all at our fingertips.
When it was time to grab a bite to eat, Kieron and I sampled Hot Rocks’ wood fired pizza and Toppings Pies’ pork sandwich. I have to say I was really impressed with Kieron’s pork sandwich as Toppings Pies had used a unique pretzel bread bun, fresh pork, crispy stuffing, rich apple sauce and dripping. Kieron said it was quite a sandwich! My pizza was also very tasty and piping hot when served. We were also lucky enough to get a free sample of Doughnotts’ vegan doughnuts which were amazing! There were two flavours to choose from: red velvet and chocolate cookie. The red velvet sample was the perfect texture with soft dough complete with sticky icing and red velvet topping. I could easily have eaten another dozen of them…
All in all, Kieron and I had a superb day at the event. We were delighted with the number of stallholders and the variety of goods on offer to us and spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the stallholders. It provided some unique gifts for our loved ones at Christmas along with a few treats for ourselves. My favourite discovery of the event was Toppings Pies. With a wide choice of flavours, Toppings Pies offer high quality pork pies, hand crafted quiches and gourmet hot pies. As they’re based in Doncaster which is just 20 minutes away from me, I’m sure Kieron and I will be sampling many of their products over the next few months. We devoured their beef pie at dinner time following Lincolnshire Food & Gift 2017 and it was delicious. There’s something wonderful about a hot pie, veg and gravy on a cold winter night!
Top Tips for Lincs Food & Gift:
• Tickets are cheap and available to purchase in advance online at the discounted rate of £5.00 per adult. Entry on the day cost £6.00 per adult. For the time, effort and money put into the event by the Lincolnshire Showground team, this was definitely a bargain!
• Save room for food! I purposely abandoned breakfast that morning as I had a feeling there would be lots of tasty treats to enjoy. With most food stalls offering free samples and a large variety of lunch options available at affordable prices, I recommend making the most of the local Lincolnshire food.
• Think carefully about who is driving as there are also plenty of opportunities to try alcoholic beverages including craft beers, ciders, ales, wines and spirits. I think I’ll be driving next year so Kieron can experience a few more Lincolnshire beers!
• The event site itself is brilliant as everything is indoors in the warmth. I would advise wearing a coat or jacket as there were a couple of draughty spots. I felt ready for Christmas wrapped up in a trench coat and scarf.
• A pair of boots are the perfect footwear for the occasion as the parking was on a field which turned a little muddy towards the end of the day due to the high volume of traffic. Once off the field, gravel paths lead you to the event doors and you are indoors for the day.
Did you attend this years Lincolnshire Food & Gift fair? Have you visited previously? I’d love to hear all about your favourite discoveries from the event and your experiences.
Christmas is coming!