Street food market organisers Blue Collar are back with Cheese Feast 2019. It’s their second weekend food festival focusing on all things cheese. Find out what street food is on offer at Forbury Gardens and what drinks are at the bar in our guide to the Reading Cheese Feast for April 2019.
What is Cheese Feast?
Last year, Cheese Feast was one of the busiest events of the year, with crowds of people gathering in Forbury Gardens to get their hands on melty, cheesy street food. This April it returns with another four day festival of cheese-focused street food, cheese boards and a craft beer bar. The food market is organised by Blue Collar Street Food, who also organise the Wednesday markets in Market Place and summer Feastival events, which are fun, laid-back, all-day eating and drinking affairs. There’s hay bale seating, big benches and a marquee if it does get wet.
Back in the 18th Century, Reading’s gardens were apparently home to an annual festival of cheese products. Giant wheels of cheese were cut up for the town to buy. Blue Collar founder Glen Dinning hopes to bring some of that marketplace heritage back to the public park again with Cheese Feast.
What food can I expect?
Cheese Feast 2019 will see more than 16 street food vendors, some serving up cheese specialities, and some doing cheese-related twists on their classics.
There’ll be lots of regular Blue Collar vendors including John the Greek serving feta souvlaki, Korean-spiced deep fried mozzarella from The Massita and a special menu from Peru Sabor, Blue Collar’s most reliable and most flaming street food stall. Look out for Lomo Saltado beef strip topped with hot cheese bites and grilled ox heart in huancahina, that’s Peruvian chilli cheese sauce.
Other Cheese Feast returnees include Rad Burger, Mingo’s Caribbean jerk halloumi and vegan cheese steaks from Greenbox (I’m not sure what they are, but I guess we’ll find out).
And there’s a few newcomers this year, including melty Swiss cheese from Raclette Raclette and Urban Larder’s quesadillas and cheesy nachos.
Personally, I’ll be making a beeline for Gourmet Cheese Toasties and their oozy sourdough grilled cheese. I’m partial to the parmesan, peppers and chorizo .
And if you prefer your cheese cold, there’ll be cheese boards of Bath soft cheeses and plates of Wigmore, Waterloo and Spenwood cheese available from the main bar.
What’s the full Cheese Feast line up?
The Mac Shack
Mac ’n’ cheese with a selection of toppings
John the Greek
Gourmet Cheese Toasties
Grilled sourdough cheese sandwiches including stilton and bacon, and brie and chutney.
Posh cheesy chips
Chicken and deep fried mozzarella with Korean spice
Grilled ox heart with huancahina (chilli cheese sauce)
Lomo Saltado beef strip served with rice and chips topped with hot cheese bites
Grilled steak wrap and chilli cheese
Chicken breast wrap and chilli cheese
Grilled chicken breast burger with served with chips and huancahina
Deli Vita Pizza
Stone-baked Italian pizza
Quesadillas and cheesy nachos
Feta, cheddar and halloumi wraps
Vegan cheese steaks
Wolf Italian Street Food
Pasta and Italian piadas
Melted raclette with optional charcuterie
Bath Soft Cheeses
Homemade cheese and cheese boards
Wigmore, Waterloo and Spenwood cheese available from main bar
What about drinks?
There’ll be draught beers from Tap Social Movement, the Oxford craft brewery who provide brew training and employment for people serving prison sentences. They’re serving their exclusive summer pilsner, ‘Blue Collar Beer’, an easy-drinking lager brewed by Tap Social for the festival.
There’ll also be a big menu of summery cocktails, Pimm’s, Prosecco, wine and soft drinks at the bar.
Do I have to get tickets?
No, Blue Collar food markets are always free to enter. Just turn up, enjoy the atmosphere and pay for whatever you want to eat and drink. Pull up a hay bale and we’ll see you there.
Cheese Feast is on Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 April, 11am-10.30pm (food will stop serving around 8pm), Forbury Gardens, free entry.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.