Saturday, 10 September at 11:55am
In typical fashion, I’ve accidentally found myself in Brighton during a food festival…and with no camera.
I have, however, brought my notepad and a pen, so I’ve perched myself in a sunny spot under a palm tree behind the royal pavilion and its here that I’m eating a blueberry muffin and drinking my very belated morning coffee.
So far today I’ve wandered the Lanes (lusting over all the lovely antique diamonds) and I’ve perused the offerings at the food festival (which I also lust over) on New Road and Regent Street, narrowly avoiding a rather dangerous encounter with a Cypriot food stall selling only four types of pastries; the savoury options being spinach & feta and halloumi & onion, and the sweet options being a sort of almond custard with cinnamon and an anari filled empanada-like pastry, drizzled with honey and sesame seeds. (I love anari – it should be an incredibly dull cheese, but it makes everything you serve it with, feel special.) All of them were very tempting and oddly enough, they were gluten free as well. There are dozens of stands selling American style cupcakes, old fashioned English tea cakes, freshly spun cotton candy (the staff wear massive bright pink wigs), local cheeses (including some Sussex Charmer, which I’ve bought to take home) and there’s also a man selling organic, biodynamic English fruit wines.
By the way, as I write this, I’ve been eavesdropping on an elderly Australian family who have accidentally made their way to this quiet end of the garden and have been deciding whether or not to negotiate jumping the 6-ft high fence that separates the Royal Pavilion grounds from the art deco bus stop at Old Steine. Thankfully they have reconsidered and have taken my recommendation of walking to the other side of the garden and taking the exit onto Church St. I love how Australians behave like 25 year olds, even when they’re 65!
Many of my favourite pleasures of Brighton are food-based; Montezuma’s chocolates, the fudge cake at Chockywockydoodah, the mountain-sized summer salad and the eaton mess at Bill’s on North Road and fish & chips with a can of coke on the pier. As I’m here on my own today, its unfortunate that I’ll probably avoid indulging myself with a single one of these decadences, but I may wander my way back up to Regent Street to buy one of those beautiful Cypriot pastries.
Saturday, 10 September at 2:35pm
I’m sitting in Pavilion Gardens, at the front of the palace, rather than the back this time, nibbling on my spinach & feta pastry and listening to the electric sitar player. At one point, I thought it would be terribly romantic if I fell in love with the sitar player and lived with him in a ramshackle flat in Brighton while he busked & gigged and I ran a yoga commune or taught at a Waldorf school or something, but this fantasy stopped the moment he stopped for a smoke break with his friend the Rastafarian (who you also sometimes see playing his steel drums in the Pavilion Gardens) and started whinging about the Council in the truly whiniest voice you’ve ever heard. Love is a fickle thing, and my loyalties immediately returned to my lovely boyfriend…even if he does work in insurance.
Sunday, 11 September at 12:10pm
The Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival continues until 4 October and there are plenty of foodie events between now and then, although the Big Sussex Market, which I’ve been at, will finish on Sunday 11 September at 6pm. Its a beautiful autumn day and all the major Brighton restaurants have food stalls, there are loads of local suppliers of food and drink, and there’s a whole pavilion for Mexican Independence Day. So, eat & drink your way to Jubilee Square and then watch some Mexican dancing or wander into the Pavilion Gardens and listen to the brass band (or the electric sitar player!) whilst enjoying a glass of prosecco from the Hotel Du Vin stand. Just hurry up and go…now!