I love a good book. My commute on the train from Cheltenham to Bristol Monday to Friday has helped me get some valuable reading time done without any distractions. I’m currently reading ‘The Goldfinch’, I know, I know I’m totally behind what’s trending but if you haven’t read it, I’d definitely recommend.
This week Cheltenham welcomed the likes of John Cleese, Dame Judi Dench and Heston Blumenthal, among others to this years Literature Festival. There are always plenty of events, speakers, book signings to suit all tastes; as well as treats for foodies – a fact I only learnt this year.
As I said, I do enjoy a good book, however I probably enjoy a nice meal more. I can’t convince my fiance to wear a full-on tweed suit on our wedding day but I can convince him to come to the Literature Festival with me when there is food involved. Alan and I decided to book up one of the events that included a scrumptious three-course meal. The meal was with MasterChef winner, Thomasina Miers, who showcased dishes from her new cookbook. If I’d known the Literature Festival did these kind of things, I would have made the effort to go a lot sooner.
The Imperial Gardens (aka Beer Gardens, as more familiarly known by Cheltonians) and Montpellier Gardens are packed full of large tents housing all the different events going on. The festival brings so many people to Cheltenham, it can make for awful evening traffic but the town really comes alive and there is a great, buzzing atmosphere.
Our three course meal was in the Spiegeltent, a gorgeous venue with soft lighting and cosy red velvet booths.
We were seated with two other couples, one of them actually being someone I catch the train with everyday. It was a lot more sociable than just being seated together and great to have different opinions about the food. Having said that, the opinions were pretty unanimous, we all loved it.
We sipped on our glasses of wine, got to know our fellow booth sharers and waited for the food to appear in front of us. With a stroke of luck, we were seated at the table that got the food first.
The starter and main dishes were a dream. The starter was really fresh with smooth avocado and crunchy pancakes topped with perfectly cooked prawns. The mains had the perfect amount of chilli. The beef melted in your mouth, with the rich gravy bringing it all together.
Between the main and the pudding, Thomasina was interviewed by celebrity MasterChef winner, Emma Kennedy. Giving us an insight into how she got into food and the opening of her restaurant chain, Wahaca.
The meal was finished off with one of my favourites puds, a slice of treacle tart. Lovely, although my mum’s is better.
We left feeling satisfyingly full, with a new fondness for mexican food and a promise to make sure we went to more Literature Festival events next year.