The Good Life Experience 2017
A weekend of eating crab covered fries, falling face first in the mud (after one too many whiskey cocktails - a Pickleback was my weapon of choice), and getting gloriously smoky sitting round a campfire whilst making new friends. Even that just sounds like a perfect weekend to me. But there was even more…
On Friday night I had the treat of attending one of The Good Life Experience feast's in the aptly named 'FEAST' tent with Mike Keen and (the absolutely gorgeous) Olia Hercules. Gloriously juicy chicken, cooked on the 'Candelabro' (pictured) for 6 hours with the pineapples steadily coating them in a sweet, sticky glaze.
Olia's flatbreads were out of this world and a definite hit on our table. Not even our bench collapsing (not from our weight after a weekend of eating, this was the first evening) and the power going out could dampen our spirits in the cosy little tent. Candlelight came to the rescue from The Good Life Experience team, as did more alcohol, and a sneaky second helping of food.
Having already headed straight for an alcoholic beverage as soon as I arrived, I quickly stumbled across Forager’s Gin who were ready and waiting to serve me a DELICIOUS G&T topped with a slice of apple. However, on Saturday when I realised the foraging talk was by Chris Marshall, founder of Forager’s Gin I was somewhat concerned it might just be a bit of a sales pitch. I was foolish to think such a thing. Listening to Chris talk was as refreshing as his G&T's.
Eschewing traditional ways of doing business Chris works on the basis of 'if it feels the least like a business, then it's probably the right way to do it'. His gin production is limited to what he is able to forage, reflecting the flavours that grow around them in Snowdonia. And of course, working in harmony with the environment and rebuilding a deeper connection to nature. He's not interested in working with large corporates and supermarkets, but building relationships with suppliers. If you're looking for a sustainable, tasty gin, Forager's is the one.
The Wild Bushcraft Company had a fantastic venison spit-roast on the go, all sustainably sourced and then hand-butchered ready to eat. A great alternative to a hog roast for an event - and definitely an interesting talking point.
Gill Meller also rustled up quite a spectacle cooking his mussels by placing them onto a board, covering them with hay and then setting it on fire (below). Using a few embers and the heat of the burning hay, the mussels were cooked to perfection. What a lovely way of cooking outdoors and serving food in a different way.
There was plenty for veggies and vegans too at The Good Life Experience. A great talk took place with Joanne O'Connell & Tom Hunt in the Speaker's Corner discussing trends, seasonal eating and meat replacement products. Plenty of vendors were on board too, with lots of delicious vegetarian options including Persian street food, tasty toasties, pizzas and delicious nourishing salads and smoothies.
There was plenty to purchase from the Market Place but my favourite picks include Old Faithful who predominantly make beard oil. Everything smelt so good, I purchased a bottle of Hammam Moisturising Serum which is already doing wonders for my skin. Their whole ethos and story is just lovely, definitely one to support with all natural products.
NIX & KIX have created a vegan, 100% natural soft drink with no refined sugars. I went for a cucumber and mint with just a dash of cayenne. The perfect hangover pick-me-up.
TINCT had products you just wanted to hold and touch and feel and never put down. Their handbags, wallets and purses are manufactured using Italian vegetable tanned leather sourced near Florence. The raw hides come from Sweden, Denmark and Belgium all of which are known to have high ethical farming standards. They're super tactile products, and as they age they take on your character from your daily use. Super gorgeous!
If you’re interested in the music that was pretty great too. British Sea Power were fab with two giant bears joining them for the performance. Norman Jay utterly finished me off with his DJ set on Saturday night - but in a very good way.
Can't wait for next year!