19 | Mar | 10

Richard Johnson

The Most Beautiful Food Festival In The World

Aiken Drum was an odd-bod. What with his hat of cream cheese, and his coat of roast beef, he had what can only be described as the world’s first eating disorder. If I remember the rhyme correctly, Drum (who played upon a ladle, a ladle) had friends who got to eat his clothing. How I wanted to be a friend of Aiken’s. As a young boy I dreamt that we would run away together, and live in a town where the rivers were fat with milk and the hills were moulded from grated cheese.

Well, I’ve found the town. Finally. And it’s not the horizon of my imaginings – it’s on the A49. It’s Ludlow, the foodie capital of England. With a population of only 8,000, this pretty Norman town still manages to support three private bakers. Every Wednesday, a van drives up from the Perigord, packed with truffles and foie gras. And the fishermen arrive with their catches from Cornwall. It’s the sort of place that Aiken could truly kick back, and be himself. And wear his coat of roast beef in peace.

Ludlow also boasts five private butchers, including Chris Carter’s (well, the man is a respected member of the Institute of Meat) and Reg Martin’s. Both use natural lamb gut for their sausages, so there’s no pellet of indigestible plastic at the end of every mouthful. It’s where I had my sausages made up when I wed a Shropshire lass in Ludlow all those years ago. I love the place. That’s why I made this little film. And I couldn’t think of a better place for the first British Street Food Awards.