Calling all young entrepreneurs

The Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival have been succesful in securing funding from Forest of Dean District Council to provide a new area at thie years event.

The new creative space will be a “Teenage Market Tent’ that will offer free pitches to young people who have start up businesses & who would like to try out their ideas, sell & promote themselves at the event.

“If successful, The Forest Showcase will commit to providing this space at the event annually & will create a bursary scheme where new young businesses can have a stand at the event at a reduced cost to encourage them to participate on an annual basis.” said Festival Director Amanda Smith.
“There will also be opportunities for these new businesses to sell at other festivals & hold pop up markets in empty shops in Coleford Town Centre.”

Any young people that would be interested in taking part will need to contact us via email at

Beer & Roving at the Forest Showcase

A family day out at the Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival leads me to ask: What makes a great food festival?

By Joshua Williams

CNV00116“I think we should split up,” I said.
“Already? Why?”
“It can’t be helped,” I comforted her, “It’s the smell…”

Oh, I should explain. We had just arrived in the main courtyard of the Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival. “We,” being my mum and I.
“At least wait for Tim. He’s just getting the dog.”
“Nope, that food just smells too good. I’ve got to get something now.”
The only thing better than fresh air, is fresh air scented with fresh bread, chutneys, cider and hog roast drifting on the breeze. When you’re hungry after a long drive it’s enough to make you neglect your own mother. Tim, my step-dad, arrived and agreed that we should follow our stomachs and meet back in the same spot after we’d had a decent meal to set us up for the day. There was only one thing to do: Get me some food … Sorry, two things: And a beer.

I wanted to save my food-stall taster nibbling for later, though the pastries and steamed puddings and cakes and chutneys and fresh fruits very nearly broke me. I finally came back with a venison frankfurter from Native Breeds and an easy-drinking session pale ale from Hillside Brewery; the perfect way to get the ball rolling, while leaving just enough space for some serious taster nibbling going forward. Tim soon joined me, holding a huge hog-roast burger in one hand, a dark bitter in the other, and sauce all over his chin. He held up the burger, nodded, and, with a mouthful of food, uttered something along the lines of: “ummbaweeboble.”

We could see mum doing her usual: claiming she was on a diet, while simultaneously trying every single taster from every singe stall, and covertly eating enough to fill the Wye Valley twice. As the owner of Bloomfields Delicatessen in Wiltshire, she was combining a family day out with a hunt for new contacts and suppliers, so she had good reason to hit the tasters. But still, you should have seen her eat. She seemed busy, so rather than disturb, me and Tim decided to lighten her work load. You see, she sells local ales and cider in her deli, and being the helpful son I am, and Tim the conscientious husband he is — we went to get us another pint.

Mum found us by the music tent watching a fiddle-led folk band and desperately fighting the urge to break into a jig. As well as a bag bursting with pies and cheeses and veg, and sprinkled with dozens of business cards, she also had my aunty Jan and ten and twelve-year-old niece and nephew. They politely said “hi”, then span around to ask their mum if they could feed the goats now. This turned out to be a common occurrence. They would run up, ask with huge grins if they could go and feed the goats, or make vegetable creatures, or watch the brass band, and then run away again before the “yes” was fully voiced. They had everything they could want. Then again, I thought as I washed down a mini pork-pie with a swig of Loiterpin Champagne Perry and tapped my foot to the fiddle, so did I.
There was something for all of us. By the end of the day I had tasted an unbelievably wide array of food and drink, made more unbelievable by the fact it was almost exclusively produced in and around the Forest of Dean. I had tasted my first ever glass of Champagne Perry, from McCrindle’s Cider, and bought two bottles to take home. I had picked up some much-needed tips watching cookery demos. I had listened to some great local music. I had drunk some great local alcohol. I had probably drunk a little too much great local alcohol. Jan and the kids had taken part in a parent and child cookery workshop, and the kids had learnt how to juggle, and Jan had learnt that the kids could cook for themselves. Mum had had the foresight to buy christmas gifts from the amazing Arts & Crafts tent, including for her six-month grandson. Mum had tasted every item under the sun — or under the marquee at least — and built new contacts (three of whom would become regular suppliers). Mum had bumped into friends and family and danced to the fiddle. And Tim … well Tim had eaten an ungodly amount of food.

So, what makes a great food festival?

Go to the Forest Showcase and find out for yourself.

Thank You!

The Forest Showcase Team would like to say THANK YOU – to our amazing volunteers, Peter, Gill and staff at The The Speech House Hotel for providing the most perfect, friendly setting, Coleford Town Council for their support, County Marquees Ltd , Harts Barn Cookery School , Target Catering, Lawrence and Gloscol, all involved in the Resilience Futures area, our talented and amazing exhibitors and of course all our lovely visitors who enjoyed the day with us. See you same time next year!

Family Food Festival Fun

From tossing turnips to vegetable creatures, chickens and even goats, the Forest Showcase Food & Drink festival is an event with a lot more going on than most food & drink festivals.

It will be held in Speech House Hotel grounds, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire,on Sunday 4th October from 10am and will be opened by TV presenter & well known foodie Mr Gregg Wallace.

The recipe for the weekend? ……..well take over 80 top local and artisan producers, a big serving of stunning hot food, add a dash of real ale and wine, interesting talks, parent & child cookery sessions and lots of children’s activities, top chef demos, stir in a few competitions with lashings of excellent live music, and arts & crafts. Mix all this together to make a lovely foodie family day out.

The Festival has attracted producers showcasing the best in local, seasonal and speciality food and drink. It’s a great opportunity to get a real taste of the best of the area. With tasty treats ranging from handmade scotch eggs, freshly baked artisan breads, locally brewed beers, award winning preserves, farmhouse ciders, cheeses, homemade cakes & pastries and much more.

The main chef demo area hosts great local chefs so everyone can pick up top foodie tips, & we are ‘going Nuts’ with Yvette Farrell from Harts Barn Cookery School following on from our squirrel burger competition last year!, we will also be hot smoking salmon & feeling fruity with VQ Country wines.

Through talks, short films, walks, demonstrations and discussions, the new Resilient Futures strand of the Forest Showcase will highlight how people are collectively empowering themselves to provide for the future whilst also respecting our environment.

After you’ve done your foodie shopping, sit out enjoying tasty hot food, a refreshing drink (or two), with great live music including some of the bands that created such a stir at the recent Coleford Music Festival. The Rumble will be playing as well as our festival favourites the Paris Jazz Cafe Swing Band.

The event will feature children’s activities with entertainment throughout the day, there are also plenty of free food related arts workshops and parent & child cookery sessions. With a selection of arts & crafts on display along with green ideas on composting, a vintage cider press crushing apples, tips on vegetable growing & keeping bees this really is an event worth visiting, so come with empty tummies & we promise you will be full to bursting when you leave.


It’s Competition Time!

This years Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival promises to be bigger than ever before with lots of new ways that people can get involved.

“We are holding two competitions this year that people can participate in” said festival organiser Amanda Smith. “one is to design a new beer that will be launched at the festival, the second is a cookery competition” Read more

10 day Countdown!

Our 10 day countdown!

With just 10 day to go before this year’s Festival here are our top 10 reasons to join us in the Speech House Hotel grounds on Sunday 5th October!

1. Discover, Taste and Shop 

With over 70 local food and drink producers selling their wares, the Festival will showcase the best of the region’s food and drink to take home or to enjoy for lunch! Discover the producers >

 2. whatso3Learn from the Experts 

A packed programme of cookery demonstrations from both local and regionally renowned chefs including Martin Adams from The Tudor farmhouse Hotel, Yvette Farrell form Harts Barn Cookery School & Lawrence Jeffries from Gloucestershire College. See the Chefs>

tasting3. Get Hands On

Workshops from Humble by Nature & Harts Barn Cookery School, everything from grinding flour to making pasta, all free to try out on the day


harvest crown4. Bring the family

Plenty of children’s activities to take part in ..make your own vegetable creature or try some circus skills…..


  wp9dc5ea88_0a_1a 5. Feast with us

Special festival fringe events and menus have been put on by some of our top restaurants and venues around the Forest of Dean festival fringe >


v2thzqgsuf_rosette-badges_large6. Become a Showcase Champion 

Enter our competition & come along to take part in our very first squirrel burger challenge! information on how to enter can be found here >

smoothy bike7. Visit our Healthy Options Tent 

This area is a new part of the festival & is aimed at showcasing some healthier options, including activities that can be taken up as part of a healthier & more active lifestyle

adminupload_5307abdbdc542Puzzlewood%20Main%20Pic8. Enjoy our beautiful setting 

The Festival takes place in the wonderful setting of The Speech House Hotel grounds in the centre of the Forest of Dean. Take a walk in the woods or enjoy lunch by Cannop ponds. See where we are >

musicgallery9. Dance to our music

The Paris Jazz Café Swing Band, play passionate acoustic jazz in the Style of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt plus a Rock Choir and Chepstow Community Big Band. Watch out for spontaneous outbreaks of dancing!

ByUoQZ4CUAA5GK810. Find brand new products & producers 

Explore our Food Hall & find some new producers that are exhibiting for the very first time, we also have some brand new products that will be launched at the event!

Under 3 weeks to go!

Discover and devour the wonderful diversity of food and drink the Forest of Dean has to offer. Join us in Speech House Hotel grounds on 5th October for a day of fun and feasting.
The final touches are being put into place for this years Forest Showcase Food & Drink festival; with sunny weather forecast bumper crowds are expected.   This is the festivals fourteenth year and following feedback from visitors and local producers we are going to increase the width of the Food Hall by 20% plus more outside stands & marquees will be at the event. This should help ease the crowds trying to taste & purchase from our fabulous local producers.
Beat the queues and buy your ticket online before the day so that you can walk straight in.

> Buy tickets online

Tudor Farmhouse Forest Forage fringe Event. Saturday 4th October 2014

raoulWith the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley on our doorstep we are in the perfect location to offer our guests foraging trips with local expert Raoul Van Den Broucke. Raoul lives nearby and supplies the hotel with local produce collected in the Forest and Wye Valley. Dubbed “the Carluccio of the Wye Valley” (Sally Shalam, The Guardian) Raoul has featured on TV’s The Wild Gourmet programme and is an expert on the local flora and where to find it. The crop depends on season and location and ranges from a wide variety of edible and useful mushrooms, wild garlic and sorrel, bitter cress, pennywort, wimberries, sea beat, marsh samphire, edible flowers, wild strawberries etc.We have long been a supporters of using foraged foods in the restaurant, and head chef Martin Adams regularly embraces all the natural flavours that can be found on his doorstep. When you get back to the hotel head chef Martin Adams will provide you with a delicious lunch of foraged goodies.

Foraging only £30 per person or £50 including lunch per person. Meet at the hotel at 9am for a 9.30am start and expect to be back at the hotel for lunch at 1.30pm.  To Book: 01594 833046 

choirSupper with a Choir and a Band Friday 3rd October 2014

Bells Hotel and The Forest of Dean Golf and Bowls Club will be hosting “ Supper with a Choir and a Band ” on Friday 3rd October as one of the Festival Fringe Events. The menu will consist of locally sourced food and guests will be entertained by The Forest of Dean Male Voice Choir and Lydbrook Brass Band.

If you would like to know more about the evening please visit our website or call us on 01594 832583 

Wednesday 1st –  SATURDAY 4th OCTOBER The Speech House Hotel GL16 7ELThe Speech House Hotel Gourmet taster Menu

A special Forest showcase menu will feature local recipes made with seasonal produce. 01594 822607


Wyedean Deli Confidential

Local talent to be proud of: Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival

lawrence & martinInteresting new blog for all who enjoy finding out about our local food and drink scene – we wish WyeDean Deli Confidential all the very best in this exciting new venture