When we noticed that London-based writer Stephen W. Thomas had announced on Twitter that he's going to be blogging about the food at this year's Festival, we got in touch to ask him for his top Glastonbury food tips. And here they are:
One fact that I often love to quote about Glastonbury is that, for the duration of the Festival, a tented city with a population matching Sunderland's lives and breathes in the fields of Worthy Farm. Though they may be there for the music, this city requires the same sustenance as any other – and as a result of this Glastonbury has become home to what I'd claim is the most exciting temporary food culture in the world. Every cuisine you could imagine is represented – for one extended weekend.
This year I'll be blogging as Glastronomy, and undertaking a challenge to eat from a different vendor for every meal. I say 'challenge', but experience tells me that there are enough vendors to rotate across a month or so if I wanted to. Here are half a dozen of my favourites from previous Festivals:
The Goan Seafood Company – Back when I was a student, the takeaway at the end of my street had accidentally come across a gastronomical delight – masala fish and chips. The Goan Seafood Company has long been making similar delights on purpose, and in recent years have become a Festival staple. Smart punters pop down in the morning for their top notch kedgeree. Very smart punters eat it with a healthy dose of the green chilli sauce that was never quite intended for pre-noon consumption.
Breadies – Missing from 2011's Festival, Breadies are large bread bowls that can hold any gloopy food you might like, from curries to All Day Breakfasts. It sounds like a practical away of saving on food containers – except that they're inexplicably served on polystyrene plates. As pointless developments in the food world go, Breadies were amongst the most shamelessly trashy.
The Tor Rugby Club – An annual tradition at the Festival, the local Tor Rugby Club raise money each year through the sales of their fajitas from a large van near the Pyramid Stage. Why should you eat here? Because I'm fairly confident we're the only way the club will be able to afford their new kits next season.
Lemonberry – Scattered around the Festival site are several red carts selling lemonade. For fifty pence more, the generally quite curt staff will blend in some fresh strawberries to create possibly the greatest soft drink in the history of mankind. Here's the strange thing – don't go when it's quiet. If there's a queue, the blending part is rushed, and satisfying chunks of strawberry are left swimming in the frothy red lemonade.
Pauline Fowler's Growler – For all the variety on offer, breakfasts at Glastonbury can sometimes feel a little repetitive. Everywhere serves bacon and sausage baguettes – regardless of whether the same stall's lunchtime fare will be burgers or noodles. Pauline Fowler's Growler, one of the perennial Glastonbury favourites, offers the sort of twist on this that only seems to make sense in a Festival context: a bacon burger stuffed with chips and melted cheese.
Pieminister – One of the bigger food brands at the Festival, Pieminister's creative pastries have a loyal following. Here's a tip straight from one of the vendors at their Borough Market stall: have your pie turned upside down before the gravy is poured over it. The lid tends to hold more flavour than the base, and doesn't get nearly as soggy towards the end of your meal.
Every year there are new places to explore – I can't wait to start my food adventure this year. Just remember: don't settle for the burger vans by the main stages; there are delicious meals (literally) just around the corner.
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