Peter Sidwell @forestshowcase

Peter-Sidwell-LoRes-87652-199x300We are very pleased to announce that Peter Sidwell will be joining us at this year’s Forest Showcase.

Peter Sidwell has been a chef all his working life, he has developed over the years a simple, fresh and inovative way of cooking that focuses on the importance of ingredients and making sure it is cooked the right way to make sure it is at its best.

Peter is a popular speaker for live events and regularly hosts demonstrations at events such as BBC Good Food Show, Ideal Home Show, and The Cake and Bake Show.
Peter’s first TV series, Lakes on a Plate, was shown on Channel 4, and more recently he has appeared as co-judge and presenter alongside Mich Turner in Britain’s Best Bakery, on ITV1. . It was among ITV’s top 5 best performing daytime shows and nominated for a ‘Best Daytime’ National TV Award.

Pete has travelled the world cooking, talking and demonstating his approach and we look forward to seeing him in the Cookery theatre at the Forest Showcase on Sunday 2nd October 2016.

Battle of the Boar!

Wild Boar – A taste of the Forest!
The Battle of the Boar Challenge Competition!
A fun ‘Have a Go’ competition with prizes!

The Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival are launching a new competition this year. ‘The Battle of the Boar Challenge’ is a cookery competition to find a healthy boar dish with a taste of the Forest!

Each dish will be made from wild boar meat, all ingredients will be supplied by the event & it is up to those taking part to add their own flavours, herbs & spices & secret ingredients?!.

4 Finalists will be chosen from all of the entries received & they will be invited to the Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival which will be held in The Speech House Hotel grounds on Sunday 2nd October 2016, where they will prepare & cook their recipes in the Cookery Theatre. The wild boar dishes will be tasted & judged by Lawrence Jeffries & Yvette Farrell from Harts Barn Cookery School in Longhope.

The entry fee is free but please feel free to make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.The entry forms are available to download from the website or contact us for further details 07980 357 747

Prizes include vouchers for Harts Barn Cookery School, a meal for two in the Speech House Hotel, Forest Showcase aprons, & of course the accolade of winning the cookery competition to be held at the Forest Showcase 2016. There will also be free entry to the food festival for all competition entrants.

Some of the areas best chefs will also be providing cookery demonstrations in the cookery theatre which this year is sponsored by Hales of Drybrook & Esse so there will be plenty of wild boar dishes available for those curious to find out what wild boar meat tastes like and to pick up some top foodie tips!

PForest Showcase annual food event.revious Finalists in The Extraordinary Burger Challenge

Burgers made with Squirrel meat.

Calling all young entrepreneurs

YE jpg.jpgFollowing successful funding from the Forest of Dean District Council Economic Development Fund the organisers of the popular Forest Showcase event held each October at Speech House are in search of budding young entrepreneurs who have a desire to launch a new business this year.

Project leader Nick Penny told us “There are no boundaries to the type of business idea we will consider for this scheme, the essential ingredient is a sound concept and a young person (or group) with the drive and enthusiasm to take that idea forward and turn it into a product or service that is ready to be launched at the event in October. We have a number of local business mentors ready and waiting to work with the group of youngsters and support them through the following months to in order to be ready for the event which will be held on the 2nd October at Speech House.”

The funding from the District Council will allow the Forest Showcase team to deliver some training sessions focusing on key business skills, as well as the necessary infrastructure to create a ‘teen marketplace’ with its own identify at this year’s Showcase event. Young start-up businesses will be given free pitches within the teen market this year. “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.
Initially, individuals or groups of youngsters are invited to get in touch with Nick with details of their product or service and their plans for the next 12 months. Nick can be contacted by emailing

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