If there’s one thing that Ludlow does well, it’s food. Local food. Well, food from the immediate environs of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the neighbouring Welsh counties (Powys, Monmouthshire, et al).
Over the course of a weekend, over 20,000 people flock to the town, which in itself is a feat considering it’s over 40 miles from the nearest motorway.
There are two schools of thought for getting the best out of your Food Festival visit: pre-load your stomach with the biggest cooked breakfast you can manage, or arrive empty stomached ready to sample the free tasters.
Pre-loaders argue that they wander the marvellously-tempting marquees with a sense of proportion and reserve. Because they don’t feel hungry, they don’t buy everything their eyes fall upon and start devouring because their empty stomach is crying out for sustenance. Empty stomachers argue that there’s such a wide variety of food to taste and try, that preloading simply takes away the pleasure of these new exciting experiences.
Dedicated festival-goers, in particular those whose aim is to participate in every [insert-name-of-food/drink-here] trail, insist on arriving empty stomached. There is the sausage trail, where each of the town’s butchers create a new recipe sausage and visitors are encouraged to try them all before voting for the best. And the ale trail invites attendees to stagger round many of the town’s public houses, as well as the drink marquees in the centre of the castle.
The local food tag can get s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d a little when you come across stalls selling zebra, ostrich and even camel burgers, although visitors should remember that Ludlow is based in Shropshire, the home to the Condover Wooly Mammoth. So whilst these animals may not be 21st century Salopian natives, who knows how native they were 10,000 years ago?
All in all, the Ludlow Food Festival is a great experience for visitors. Well, could it be anything else when even the cooking utensils are smiling with joy?
It could only happen in the Welsh Borders. 😉