Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival | #ThisGirlEats

I’m so happy summer is finally here ☀️ We’re still getting the odd thunderstorm but, c’mon, this is England, what do you expect?! The fact that the weather is staying warm and the sun is showing its face is enough for me!

This time of year makes us want to get out there (especially when, like me, you haven’t got a garden!). Sitting indoors watching telly seems a waste, but “doing stuff” often costs money and the summer can leave you really strapped for cash. When something free pops up on your doorstep you should make the most of it, and that’s what we did with this local food festival!

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The Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival, held on the waterfront, welcomed visitors across the May bank holiday weekend. From fairground rides to old-timey bands, there really was something for everyone, but the real heart of the festival was, of course, the food. For a free – yes, free – festival, it definitely didn’t disappoint! It was, for a foodie like myself, a haven of unique stalls, “try before you buy” tasters and plenty of places to stop for lunch. We tried a few different stands that I’d love to give a little shout-out to (but I really could’ve tried a little bit of everything!).

The Cosy Eskimo
We liked this one so much we visited twice! Our first pitstop was a milkshake which my partner’s son had his eye on, and when we asked what he wanted for lunch an hour later, he wanted more of The Cosy Eskimo – this time, for their mouth-watering bubble waffles stuffed with Nutella and fresh banana. The women working the stand were so friendly and chatty, despite the hot weather, and I’d definitely recommend visiting The Cosy Eskimo if you’ve got a sweet tooth – but get there quick, because this was one of the busiest stalls of the day!

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The Larder
Don’t get me wrong, everything smelt and looked divine, but I wanted something different, something I wouldn’t usually choose. I don’t eat steak, like literally never, ever, but there was just something about the Philly cheesesteaks on offer from The Larder that tempted me. Perhaps it was the ginormous gherkin on top, who knows?! Tender steak, gooey cheese and sharp pickle, with loads of extra toppings on the menu – although I got messy enough with what I had! Totally delicious, a real hands-on affair.

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Spanish Homemade Paella
My boyfriend was torn between Greek souvlaki and Spanish paella for AGES, both reminding him of holidays far, far away from Chatham! Eventually, after some pain-staking decision-making, he opted for the Spanish Homemade Paella – and what a choice! Affordable for a festival, they served up a huge dish of paella with succulent chicken, a crazy variety of seafood stirred through smooth rice. Not only was it really, truly yummy, but filling too – a brilliant choice as something that tastes authentic and won’t break the bank.

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The Kent Cider Company
Let’s be honest, you had me at cider. The Kent Cider Company was, for me, the stand-out bar of the festival. It was vibrant, friendly and energetic, and had a huge list of ciders to choose from with some weird, wacky, wonderful flavours. We tried a few between us, including pear, mango and rhubarb (the mango was my favourite, zingy and sweet like fruit juice!). They accepted card too – which turned out to be a little dangerous, actually!

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We had a really lovely afternoon checking out these stalls and chatting to local businesses about what they do; their passion for food and drink was wonderful. Please, go support small, local businesses if you can – your community always has something to offer!

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