Monday, 2 April 2018

The Big Cheese Festival, Brighton - review

Unfortunately cheese festivals in Brighton have largely been a miss with one thing or another making it a disappointing day out for ticket holders.  We heard bad things about Cheese Fest last year but The Big Cheese Festival had assured everyone their event would be different and we were invited along to review it last month.

I think it could have been really good but they were scuppered by the snow with many exhibitors and traders cancelling so a rather minimal festival remained which would perhaps have been OK had people known about it.  Their Facebook page said everything was going ahead as planned with the majority being set up and ready.  This didn't seem to be the case and we arrived to find a largely empty Hove Lawns with the funfair having just two rides and only a handful of cheese stalls with samples and cheese available to buy.  The hot food stands too were short in supply with just a few selling cheese related goods and therefore resulting in very long queues.

We battled through the crowds around the few cheese stands in order to sample what was on offer but samples were disappearing as fast as they could replenish them.  We had to wait a while to try some tasters and purchased just one wedge of delicious (but expensive) cheese for £8 before heading to the covered marquee to check out the entertainment included in the ticket price (around £22 per head).  The twins were mesmerised by the lights on stage but we found the atmosphere rather lacking with a DJ at the side of the stage and we were still pretty cold inside so we left shortly after.

Had we paid for tickets, I would have been most upset at having driven all that way for half an hour in the cold with very little cheese on offer.  I had been hoping for raclette and fondue among other things and envisaged being able to take photos of oozy, delicious cheese but instead was left disappointed.  I do feel sorry for the organisers as the weather is of course out of their control but I think perhaps more could have been done to curb expectations of ticket holders (some of whom apparently travelled miles to attend and booked hotels) who left feeling very hard done by.

Luckily, the place we found for lunch just a short walk away saved our day out (and made the most of our expensive parking) as we discovered a wonderful Turkish cafe with delicious food and fantastic service in a nice cosy atmosphere.  Check out my review of Constantinople here.

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