Bristol Balloon Fiesta – food made fabulous

Balloon Fiesta from aboveWe were honoured to be chosen as the hospitality partner for this year’s Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

This popular event, first held in 1979, takes place each August on the 850 acre Ashton Court Estate.

In the months running up to the event we worked closely with the event organisers to develop bespoke menus, tailored to the different customers, that made the best use of the bounty of local produce we have available in the South West, especially at this time of year.Cheddar Valley Strawberries

Fosters were responsible for delivering catering in three main areas at the event; The Pavilion at the top of the launch field where we served up to 800 balloonists and their teams three square meals a day, including a pre-flight breakfast available from 5.30am, lunch and dinner, plus cakes and barista coffee from Clifton Coffee.

Orange and polenta gluten freeIn the member’s marquee and hospitality pods, adjacent to the launch field, we catered several events and ran the Rope & Tether café. Here the menu included a ‘build your own ploughman’s’ and market fish with lemon & pink peppercorn salt, skin on fries & pea mayo, which proved extremely popular.Fish and chips balloon fiesta

Last but not least, we kept the hardworking event organisers fed and watered with nourishing meals three times a day serving “better crew food than we are used to on this show”.

To launch the event, the sponsors and their guests were invited for drinks and canapés, including crispy confit duck, cherry & orange croquette on pea puree, beetroot and Chase vodka cured salmon gravlax, dill cream cheese on a blini, and Cerney goats cheese and crispy brioche with honey and red wine roast fig & confit onion.Cerney goats cheese fig

The canapés were followed by small bowls of truffled macaroni, Wookey Hole cheddar & cauliflower cheese with gremolata, hoisin & sesame glazed Somerset pork belly, snow peas & egg fried rice, and Severn & Wye kiln smoked salmon, Cornish new potatoes, broad bean, pea & mint salad.Kilm smoked salmon new potatoes

The bijou pudds included a chocolate & salted caramel pot with popping candy, passion fruit mousse topped with Alphonso mango, and raspberry mousse topped with Sharpham Park spelt & coconut crumble.

The lucky guests were then treated to a prime view of the legendary Nightglow, which went ahead in spite of the breezy conditions, with over twenty balloons illuminated in time to the music.
Nightglow balloons
The organisers were certainly happy commenting that “the food was brilliant on Saturday, thank you” and “your team are a credit to you”.

On Sunday night, when all the teams had recovered their balloons, pilots and passengers, we held a Survivor’s Dinner for 300 or so balloonists, where they celebrated their achievements over the course of the festival with a delicious two course dinner. A great end to a successful fiesta.

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