This year, perhaps above all others, has been one to celebrate the 'Best of British', with food being no exception! In celebration of the Queen's Jubilee in the little village of Topsham in Devon, 2600 people brought their tables, chairs and good food out onto the streets to celebrate the best of British. The event is known locally as 'Nello's Longest Table' after a community friend, Nello Ghezzo. The result was something remarkable, a combination of true English culture, patriotism and resilience despite the weather, combined with an air of Al fresco Mediterranean relaxation and appreciation for food.
In true student fashion, for the Slow Food on Campus Society, despite our meticulous planning things didn't quite go to plan. Wanting to make the most of the Slow Food ethos we had bought along locally bred free range ruby red steaks to rather ambitiously barbeque by the roadside. After loading and hauling our barbeques to the event (along with the chairs and everything else) by the time we'd got them lit and hot enough, the whole event had finished! However, luckily our friendly neighbouring table lent us their perfectly hot barbeque and all was not lost. Indeed, later on in the evening once our own barbeques had finally warmed up, we were perfectly content toasting marshmallows before enjoying some local Topsham bands.
Food and drink is very important to the Topsham community and the table event helped raise wider awareness to their ongoing campaign to 'eat, drink and shop locally'. Their hope is that the sustainable practices in Topsham can be spread elsewhere throughout the UK. It was as Shane Vaughan, an Exeter Slow Food student said 'an unusual but nonetheless exciting event where we enjoyed great food with many friends... all together in one long table!'It was the ultimate British street party and celebration of food and one which we all hope will continue for many years to come.