The Portsmouth Seafood Festival

The Portsmouth Seafood Festival

Portsmouth Seafood Festival

Portsmouth Seafood Festival

Portsmouth Seafood Festival – NEW!

The weekend of 24 and 25 June 2017 welcomed a new Seafood Festival to Portsmouth, hosted at Gunwharf Quays. I popped along to see what it was all about, they promised “a family event celebrating and promoting Portsmouth’s historic links with the sea and seafishing” and I believe they achieved that, it was truly very good!

Portsmouth Seafood Festival – wide variety of dishes to try

Although there were a lot of people there it felt very relaxed and intimate. The exhibitors included a good array of food and drink suppliers. The food outlets varied from a Pop Up Fish Market hosted by Portsmouth’s Fish Market Viviers; an area cooking scrumptious looking seafood dishes that had been BBQ cooked by master outdoor BBQ chef Cornelius Veakins and his team  ; a Caribbean stall serving dishes such as jerk prawn and chicken stew; another tempting us with moules frites. I lunched on a delicious fresh crab street food dish, by Claw; I was also very tempted by a plaice with bubble and squeak dish which I spotted being devoured by a young couple; there were plenty of other choices and of course you could get fish and chips too!

Portsmouth Seafood Festival – Billingsgate Seafood School education demonstrations

While the visitors mooched around they were also entertained by the Billingsgate Seafood School. CEO CJ Jackson and her colleague Ron ran a regular programme of demonstrations (with guest chefs including John Atkins–Fullers Inns Executive Chef) on preparing and cooking seafood dishes, exploring the nattily named ‘Sea to Plate’ journey.

Portsmouth Seafood Festival – food and wine pairing

Portsmouth Seafood Festival cookery theatre

Portsmouth Seafood Festival cookery theatre

It was while CJ, Ron, and John demonstrated one of John’s signature dishes, Sea Bass with Black Pudding, Bacon, and Chilli, that I was asked for my comments on pairing wine with this dish. As WSET graduates and followers of my blogs know, I needed to quiz John on the taste and flavour profile of his dish. I learnt that the dish was mild in chilli and umami, plus low in acid, but rich in salt and strong in flavour. So discarding the myth that only white wine goes with fish, a red wine would most certainly work well too.

Of course we can still have white wine but a strong flavoured one so as not to be overwhelmed by the black pudding and bacon (supplied by local butchers Owton’s). So popular choices of Sauvignon Blanc and oaked Chardonnay, no problem standing up; but Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz will accompany it well too. The choices are endless, such as the wine I opened last night, a very tasty Okuzgozu/Malbec enjoyed on a recent Turkish tasting we hosted, that will do nicely thank you!

Portsmouth Seafood Festival – wine, rum, beer, gin …

The assortment of dishes available was suitably matched by the wide variety of drinks offerings. My friend and I opted for a Mojito prepared by the Rum Club, there was also a Prosecco Bar offered by The General Wine Company, plus stout, cider, lager, gin and more.

Portsmouth Seafood Festival – music too!

So we had food, drink, education, and of course music. The Portsmouth Seafood Festival included a variety of local acts and artists, including folk, and jazz. A truly complete afternoon’s entertainment.

Highly recommended by me for a visit next year – watch this space


Want to understand more about food and wine pairing in a relaxed and fun way, explore our food and wine pairing lunch here

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