Spirit of Harborough festival, May 2017

You may already have read all of the individual posts from the places that we visited when strolling around Market Harborough for the Spirit of Harborough festival. This is just a quick wrap up to look at the event as a whole.

The Spirit of Harborough festival is a new event for 2017, set up to be a celebration of the finest locally produced wine, beer, gin and cider. Over the weekend there are a number of activities taking place such as taste tours, tastings from local brewers and tours and demonstrations from local producers.

We embarked on the “Taste Harborough Mini Taste Trail”, which started out at “The Square” in the town centre, where a pop up stall was available for you to collect your map and booklet (£3 per person) to take to the various outlets to receive your samples. The first sample was on the stall itself, a genuine Leicestershire pork pie, which was a delicious start. We studied the map and then plotted our route around the town.

Our next stop was the indoor market, where we strolled around the stalls and then sampled some tasty cakes from  – we also ended up buying a box of gin and tonic cupcake bites to enjoy later (we have a plentiful supply of doughnuts but it’s nice to have other cake-y offerings).

We then strolled along the River Welland and down to The Oat Hill, to sample some local vodka and beers from the Langton Brewery (just to the north of MH).

This was a lovely pub which we would like to come back to one day, and it was lovely to sit out in the beer garden sampling the beers and vodka. There was more taste touring to do, so we crossed over the river and then down to Beerhouse, who were hosting Market Harborough Brewery for the day. They didn’t have far to travel, situated as they literally across the road from Beerhouse.

Down in the “back room”, we met Ivan from the brewery, who took us on a little tutored tasting of five of their bottled beers. More details on that here.

Our next stop was Emerson & Wests, a delicatessen and bakery who had some sweet and savoury treats to sample, including the lesser known Harborough Cheesecake, a baked cake with a pastry base, curd and sultanas. I also stocked up on a few beers from Langton Brewery as well as a little something else for Mrs MOFAD 🙂

We had to make some tactical decisions, because not all outlets were open all day. Tip for next year – get everyone to offer their wares for a longer period to stop this from being necessary. We gambled on The Angel Hotel, who had some sausages and meatballs on offer to try. I’m not sure that they really entered into the spirit of Spirit of Harborough though, since they just had a couple of plates of food in the reception area, and they had just about run out of sausages. A bit of a token effort really, no-one to engage with about the food.

Our final stop was much better, Duncan Murray Wines. They hold regular tastings each Saturday, so they really knew what they were doing. We tasted Brynne Vineyard Phoenix, a white wine with “an English hedgerow and cutgrass nose, leading to a smooth, soft, citrus fruit finish.” We then had a couple more beers from Market Harborough Brewery, as well as some different ones from The Langton Brewery. There was also time for a bit more shopping…

Our tour was over, so we retired to Square Cafe Bar for some lunch. We then headed off to the final stop, Farndon Fields farm shop. We went by car as it was on our route back to the camp site. Sadly, they had run out of free samples (more bad planning) so we had to make do with a wander round and a spot of shopping instead:-


We had a lovely time exploring Market Harborough. The good weather (the threatened rain never materialised) really helped things. I hope that this festival goes from strength to strength. Given time and with more producers on board, it could grow to rival Ludlow (our favourite town food/drink festival).

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