All done in the best possible taste at castle
Su Carroll previews the delicacies to be found at Powderham Food Festival next weekend.
Our cover picture shows two men lined up for a duel... armed not with pistols or rapiers but with the very best charcuterie that the Westcountry has to offer.
In the left-hand corner is newcomer Peter Woodham-Kay wielding a coppa ham from Good Game, which only began producing cured meats and sausages commercially in January. They use only salt and the Exe Estuary air to dry their meat.
In the right-hand corner is a man who is already a champion in the meat world – Peter Greig, of multi-award winning Pipers Farm Butchers and one of Rick Stein's Food Heroes with a salami.
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The two men aren't serious rivals, though. Peter G has been offering support to Peter W-K since Good Game set up. There's plenty of light-hearted banter between the two as they prepare for this year's fabulous Powderham Food Festival at the 600-year-old stately home beside the Exe Estuary.
Pipers Farm makes traditional spiced beef from a Henry Vii recipe alongside oak-smoked cured hams. A new addition is the chorizo salami which goes on sale this week, made with traditional native saddleback pork.
There are over a hundred producers taking part, but the Powderham Food Festival is more than just a collection of stalls. It prides itself of providing a fascinating array of speakers to entertain.
This year's theme is Pickling, Potting and Preserving – perfect for autumn – and will include Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh, BBC TV's The Spice Men (see panel, left); Gardeners' World favourite Toby Buckland who has a nursery at Powderham; Sophia Griffiths from the Institute of Food Science & Technology who will talk about Space Food; expert advice in a question time: Are your jams in a pickle are your pickles in a jam?; Annette Cole of BASC who will host a game cookery demonstration with Ian Grant of the Deer Park Hotel, Honiton with cookery demonstrations by Ben Bulgar of the Magdalen Chapter Hotel, Exeter and Kirsty of Kirsty's Kitchen.
For Good Game, it's the chance to show off their wares in an historic setting – the perfect spot to talk about meat preservation and curing.
Steve Williams set up Good Game with Peter Woodham-Kay and "spiritual guru" Jim Kingston (who runs Topsham Wine) when it came to them as a bright idea when they were taking part in a Topsham to Morocco old banger rally in a £100 Ford Cavalier.
"I'd been involved in food for a long time," says Steve, "and had spent time in the Middle East where I really missed pork products.
"On the rally we began talking about setting up a sausage company. I'd always made sausages, but we began doing it as business. We make sausages, cure hams and bacon and make salamis, pork coppa ham, chorizos and a venison bresaola.
"We use no artificial nitrates and we dry them in Exe Estuary air. That's all. It's something special and different."
Good Game, as you would expect, source all their meet locally and choose wild game from Dartmoor and Crediton as well as rabbit they shoot themselves.
That's music to the ears of another exhibitor at Powderham – Annette Cole of The British Association for Shooting and Conservation.
On the day Annette will be offering tastings of game food and enlisting the help of children to make rabbit sausage rolls.
"Even if they're not very taken with the idea of eating rabbit, once they've made them, they're always really keen."
With Deer Park Hotel, Honiton, chef Ian Grant, there will be a cookery demonstration using pheasant.
Events like this are a great way to engage people with game, says Annette.
"People are becoming more interested in eating game, but it's not rising as fast as we would like. At the moment 35 million game birds are put down every year. They could make for healthy and cheap meat."
Toby Buckland, popular Gardeners' World presenter, won't have to travel far for the show – his nursery opened two-and-a-half years ago on the Powderham Estate.
"I'm looking forward to the food festival," says Toby. We will have a nursery stand and lots of gardening stuff. "I'm going to talk about having a more productive plot and I'll be talking about getting people to try old flavours – things we don't grow so much any more. We've got some really good stuff in the Westcountry that is so simple to grow. It's a good growing environment. Things like sorrel, samphire, peach trees, nectarines – all you need is a container against a wall to grow some kinds of fruit trees."
Powderham Food Festival, which is sponsored by local company Helpful Holidays, takes place next Saturday at Powderham Castle, near Exeter, from 10.30am to 5pm. Admission is £5 for adults, under-16s free. Full details at powderhamfoodfestival.com.