Disclosure: I paid in full for my ticket and everything I ate and drank. All words, images and opinions are my own.
The Independent Birmingham Festival is a fantastic showcase of some of the incredible businesses on the IB card, from food and drink outside, to crafts and clothing in the market hall. Held at the gorgeous Aston Hall, the event is a Summer highlight.
But what did I eat and drink, I hear you cry? Um…LOTS.
Predicting queues later in the day, we started at Meat Shack. Dave went for menu staple the Dutch Piggy, which comes dripping with Dutch cheese, american cheese, streaky bacon, lettuce, onion, ketchup and chipotle mayo. I couldn’t resist the festival special of the IBK, which was topped with kimchi, giving a sharp, umami taste alongside the filthy burger goodness. I started well, and this was one of my highlights of the day.
40 St Pauls
40 St Pauls were serving up delicious gins, obviously, including two kinds of Gin Slushies. I tried both, for the purposes of research. The Elderflower version seemed to be struggling to be actually slushed, and was mostly liquid with some ice in, but it was tasty and refreshing none the less. The Rhubarb and Custard version had better ice structural integrity and was sweet and yummy.
From Laghi’s Deli, we chose the Gnocchi Mess to share. Apparently born from a mistake, like Eton Mess, this dish was homemade gnocchi smothered in bolognese sauce and cream. I hope more mistakes like this happen at Laghi’s, because it was delicious. The gnocchi was pillowy perfection, and the sauce was rich with plenty of tomato flavour.
I’ve tried the Halloumi Fries from Street Chef many times, but I’d eat halloumi all day long, so I couldn’t resist. Salty, not squeaky, perfectly fried cheese, with gentle heat from the chilli dip. What more do you want?
If you told me the gin slush wouldn’t be my favourite drink of the day, I’d have laughed at you. But somehow, the offering from the Vanguard topped it. Their Mead Slush was an absolute triumph. Added mango made this thing taste exactly like a Solero icecream, except boozy. The mead kick kept things sweet without being too sticky and sickly.
quarter horse coffee
Quarter Horse Coffee had soft serve coffee on offer, which is one of my favourite things to eat. Espresso is mixed through ice cream, making a delicious frozen latte-esque treat. The dusting of coffee on top was a little excessive on this occasion, making it a bit yucky feeling in the mouth, but after I’d knocked some of it off, I got on much better and found it as delicious as usual.
Because I’m marrying a Northerner, I eat a lot of pie these days. I know Pietanic‘s Jay from my days working at The Custard Factory, and naturally Dave is now obsessed with him and his food. The chances of us being at the same event as Pietanic and not eating the Cheeseburger Pie are pretty much zero. As always, flaky pastry, creamy mash, rich gravy and good zing to cut the richness from the red cabbage topping. Delicious.
and the rest
Because I’m a basic, I couldn’t resist some glittery festival face paint. I loved this cute little design, although slightly regretted my life decisions after a lack of buses meant a walk along Broad Street and five minutes standing outside Morrisons waiting for my lift home. The revellers loved me, and I ended up looking like a celebrity in disguise with my baseball cap pulled down as low as I could. Classy work as always. I’m still finding glitter in my flat a week later.
Glitter aside, I didn’t make it into the two market halls, but I did enjoy lounging in the grass listening to some live music. Check my vlog for some highlights, particularly the truly babesome, Call Me Unique.
Basically, the festival was absolutely aces. Joe is a super human and he always pulls off these events with the absolute best of Birmingham. I’m already excited for the next one.