Art Plumstead’s 3rd Pickle Festival took place a little later than in previous years but with the same keen sense of anticipation. Each entry was judged against the same criteria as before – appearance, recipe, texture, taste, favourite pickle and favourite chutney – but this year entrants were allowed to include a 20 character description of their pickle or chutney, to be written on a label provided by Art Plumstead for the benefit of anyone who didn’t see the recipe beforehand. Andy provided a stash of bread and cheese to accompany the competition entries.
As usual, anonymous peer voting was used as the fairest means of obtaining a valid result. There was a mixture of previous entrants and first-timers pitting their culinary skills against one another. Plenty of beer was consumed to accompany the food on offer, with seconds and thirds being sampled to allow the tasters to make an informed decision. The favourite chutneys and pickles proved so popular that some jars were scraped clean.
By the time the first, second and third entrants were announced, there was barely a scrap of cheese, biscuit or bread left and the protective cellophane over the Art Plumstead tablecloth was liberally spattered with the remnants of over 20 jars of pickle and chutney. It had been another sumptuous night of community feasting at The Old Mill, based on the Annual Pickle Festival at the Dog and Bell in Deptford.