Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Luvley Ludlow

I got to hit the road at the weekend. I'd been doing London based jobs for so long that I'd forgotten what it feels like to buckle up and rev off down big roads and onto smaller, lesser known lanes. Beth from the Ludlow Food Festival called me up a couple of months ago, longing for me to bring Jimmy to their new Spring Event. It was to be beer and bangers based - say the word banger to me and I'm there. I love sausages so much that I once got a job in sausage promotion for a rather unsavoury individual purporting to be the only black farmer in Britain. He turned out to be a omplete charlatan but the bangers were addictive.

I rumbled up the M40, collected some ice cream in Stratford and then headed West from Kidderminster. The Ludlow lot had rallied round and found me a lovely couple to stay with in Hopton Wafers. We got on like a house on fire and I lapped up all the Slow Food ex-HQ news with fascination. It seems that all is not right in the upper echelons of the Movement.

I remember when I first heard about the Slow Food Movement. I was in Tuscany on my old stomping ground about five years ago and I had just had an epiphany that food would be my future. My friends fed me stories about this revolutionary occurence that was rippling through Italy and beyond. Magic, I thought, I want to know more. Since that time it has grown hugely and has become embedded in the language along with those other ambiguous terms; 'sustainable' and 'locally sourced'. The notion of 'Slow' now comes with extra baggage and I regualarly find myself in discussions with hardcore food people about its merits and relevence.

In Ludlow there is outrage because someone has pledged cash to the Movement on certain conditions, one of which was to have the HQ moved from Ludlow to London. Despite a majority voting against this, Mr Petrini sanctioned the move. Outcry! It's all far more convuluted than this but what it has served to bring about is a deep-rooted local scepticism about the values of the Movement.

I smell a revolution...and surely, the whole point of Slow Food is tied up with a localised reclamation of food production and selling. Yes, it's nice to be affiliated with the broader group but it's not about being sheep-like at this stage. Ludlow - I'm intrigued to see what your next move will be.

Anyway, Choc Star was warmly received - perhaps one too many orders for 'vanilla cornets' for my liking but hey, the truffles went down well. By Saturday night I had moved from my position by the castle to the punk gig in the Ludlow Brewery. I loved it. I love the way in the country you get everyone coming out to play together rather than sectioning off into appropriate groups. There were scruffy kids and committee members, middle-aged ex-punks and tweenie cider drinkers.

I left Ludlow on Sunday afternoon, laden with flagons of beer, Welsh perry, marmalades, bangers, chocolate bars and a promise to return in September. I hope to get back there - it rocks. Shropshire is special.

1 comment:

Shania said...

Oh great! The first image you have provided on this post is really mouth-watering. How I wish I can also eat that (sigh)