CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has been one of Britain’s most successful consumer movements rescuing British beer from what seemed, in early 1970’s, like certain oblivion as the onslaught of keg beer hit British pubs. Real beer is still threatened now by the closure of traditional pubs unable to compete against cheap booze in super markets and the social consequences of the smoking restrictions. But is still with us and the diversity is greater than ever.
At the Ludlow and Marches Food and Drink Festival, a festival with a strong real ale tradition and a beer trail, a new organisation was launched in September, Taste Real Food. www.tasterealfood.com Its aims are very similar to those of CAMRA, to inspire and educate about real food, to arrange visits to local real food producers, to organise tastings and seasonal meals and to campaign to draw attention to special local foods and drinks, rare breeds and the diversity of our fruit and vegetables. We value and celebrate diversity and support the rich variety offered by local and regional food producers. Like CAMRA Taste Real Food welcomes ?everybody from all walks of life.?
There were enough people there from Faversham in Ludlow for the festival to decide to launch a Faversham Branch of Taste Real Food to celebrate our rich local food heritage and to raise awareness of the many small local food producers whose craft ? growing, catching, smoking, cooking, brewing, butchering and filleting ? contributes so much to the quality of our lives.
Taste Real Food is an inclusive organisation and one not burdened by the connotations of Slow Food, with the inevitable echo in the UK of slow, meaning poor, service. One of the things we?ve learnt from the Responsible Tourism Movement is the importance of organisations reflecting the local culture and local priorities. Taste Real Food comes with the same predisposition, genuinely local, reflecting local concerns and connecting with CAMRA a movement which brings together all those with a love of real ale and the traditional British pub with all its regional peculiarities.
One of the most successful traditions of the Ludlow and Marches Food and Drink Festival is the Sausage Trail ? adults and children judging the offerings of local butchers, everyone can participate and all kinds of people do, 4,000 every year. The conversation in the queues is half the fun. In Ludlow in one of the local offices this year I heard a local man describe the sausage trail as ?the best two hours? of his year; there is a real sense of community that comes from participating. That is the inclusive spirit of Taste Real Food.
Join at www.tasterealfood.com