Matthew Bunch on Local Sussex produce
PUBLISHED: 11:58 19 July 2010 | UPDATED: 11:51 28 February 2013
Sussex Life's resident foodie on the best of local and seasonal fare...
Sussex Lifes resident foodie on the best of local and seasonal fare...
Quite simply, I love this time of year. Food is at its most abundant as everything seems to have arrived into season, ready for harvest and perfect for eating. Although our appetites tend to shrink during the warmer months we can still gain great satisfaction from the array of delicious produce available to us at the moment, and food at this time of year is ideal for creating lighter yet truly scrumptious summer dishes.
I always find my diet taking on a distinct Mediterranean influence around this time, with vegetables like aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes playing a significant role in many dishes I cook. The intoxicating scent of fresh basil instantly transports me to a barbecue on a hillside in Greece where the basil grows wild next to the house.
So much food in season at the moment lends itself wonderfully to lazy picnics in the park, with lots of fresh flavours and cool textures to make ideal accompaniments to barbecued meat and fish.
I find it quite an exciting time of year for the senses in general and one event that I have found myself attending more frequently since living in Sussex is the Chilli Fiesta at West Dean Gardens, near Chichester (6-8 August). Its a real carnival atmosphere and if, like me, you are a slight chilli-obsessive then this is an event not to miss!
Not only do you get to experience the beautiful gardens of West Dean, but there is the chance to sample chillies in a fantastic assortment of products as well as plenty of drink to cool you down, if not purely from glancing at the world's hottest chilli (Naga Jolokia).
It really is a great day out, and there are lots of Sussex food producers in attendance as well as the chance to sample some tasty delights from all over the UK and the world. For me it successfully captures the essence of summer in this country and all in a delightful setting in the Sussex countryside.
My final words here are really quite simple make the most of what is around us and experience as much as you can of what I think makes summer so glorious (with or without the sunshine!)