Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Royal Bath & West Show by Barber’s Cheesemakers. I’m in my element at events like this – I used to love going to the Yorkshire Show when I lived there as a child. As you probably know by now from previous blog posts, my Dad worked in the meat industry and regularly attended events like this, including the Bath & West Show. In a weird way it felt comforting walking around a show where I knew that at some point, he would have walked too. When I heard the people on the loudspeakers calling out the names of livestock for different attractions and judging, I wondered if he had known and worked with them.
The Royal Bath & West Show was absolutely huge, with lots for me to write about, so I’ll be writing a dedicated blog post about my experience with Barber’s Cheese later this week. But for now, I thought I’d write a post to help set the scene.
The show takes place each year at the Royal Bath & West show ground in Somerset. Tim and I took the train down to Castle Cary in the morning, which took just under 2 hours from London Paddington. There are so many attractions and things to see and do, so I thought I’d write about some of our highlights!
Getting up close with the animals
For those of you who haven’t been to an event like this, people bring their finest animals to compete for ‘Best in Show’ awards, including cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and alpacas. We were there for the final day of the show (the Saturday), by which point the judging had taken place and many of the animals were in the process of being taken home. Still, we got to see plenty of sheep and pigs – my favourites were the kune kune pigs – just look at their little squashed faces!
The show also has a poultry and small animal zone, falconry displays, gun dogs, terrier racing, and sheep shearing. There really is something for all animal lovers!
Watching the dressage
At the show, were able to watch some beautiful horses taking part in the dressage competition – Tim has quite a lot of experience with horses, as he has family in Ireland in the racehorse breeding business. There was also showjumping taking place, as well as heavy horse demonstrations of plaiting and hitching.
There are lots of shops at events like this and I could easily spend a fortune on ‘bits and bobs’ for the house. The food and drink area was superb, with lots of fantastic local Somerset produce, as well as companies from slightly further afield. There really was something for everyone, from delicious meats and pies, to cakes, fudges and fruits.
We made a few purchases at the show (and we couldn’t really carry much more than this!)
We thought this little wooden box to hold eggs, styled like a chicken coop, was just adorable! We’re hoping to have an open farmhouse style kitchen in our first home, so we thought this would fit in perfectly! It was from £19.99 from Horsey Gifts.
Oils and Sauces
We came across a local Somerset company called Fussels that makes a range of oils and sauces, largely from rapeseed, offering some really unusual flavours! We wanted to give them a go, so we bought a big bottle of rapeseed oil, a bottle of raspberry and rapeseed vinaigrette, a bottle of goosegog and elderflower vinaigrette and a bottle of beer and horseradish sauce. See, I told you they were unusual flavours! I can’t wait to try them – I’ll be doing some recipes on here with them. And it was just £10 for the lot!
Isle of Wight-based ‘The Garlic Farm‘ were at the show, offering every kind of garlic you could possible imagine, in raw form through to sauces and condiments. We thought we’d stick with the theme of trying something a bit unusual, so we bought some smoked garlic and black garlic to cook with at home. I think we probably stunk out the train on the way back, as the smoked garlic was loose in a brown bag, so apologies to anyone sitting near us 😉
We’re both dog lovers and wish that we could have one in London, if only we weren’t so busy with work. There were lots of dogs at the show, of all shapes and sizes. And very photogenic, as I’m sure you’ll agree!
The Cheese Awards
And last but by no means least, I have to mention the fantastic cheese awards taking place at the show. I’ll be doing a full write-up about my time at the show with Barber’s Cheesemakers, the cheese awards and taking part in an epic cheese toastie competition. Keep an eye on the blog later in the week for all of that cheesy goodness!