Christmas Crush – Padstow Christmas Festival in brief.

Padstow Christmas Festival 2015…what can we say except WOW!

The team behind this celebration of all things food and festive excelled themselves this year.  I wouldn’t have thought it possible for us to have been busier than last year but we were…much, much busier.

Thursday, normally a relaxed run in to the festival, launched with a bang from the outset with vast queues forming at the festival marquee eagerly awaiting the metaphorical cutting of the ribbon!  It proved to be a brisk day for us but it was as nothing compared to the crowds that descended on Padstow on the Friday!

I’d like to think that it was the promise of me leading the Christmas carols for the first time that drew the crowds to us on Friday evening (thank you to all who attended and joined in by the way) but I suspect it was the mild weather, mulled wine and the fabulous fireworks that pulled people in.  Quite simply we were mobbed – I’ve never experienced a day like it at BinTwo.  It was busy (off the scale really) and, despite doubling our staffing levels, we couldn’t always serve everybody as quickly or as well as we would have liked.  More on that later.

Saturday was as busy but without the massive surge of people that we saw on the Friday evening.  A hugely entertaining day on all sorts of levels only enhanced by the presence of our good friend Mark Hellyar from Chateau Civrac running an impromptu wine tasting at BinTwo.  Mark hit on the excellent idea of asking some of our favourite big named chefs from the festival to match a recipe to his wines.  Clever lad.  I’ve pasted the links below – there are some cracking matches in there.  Give them a go!

Rick Toogood’s Mussels, clams and lemon grass broth matched with Chateau Civrac Wild White 2014.

Paul Ainsworth’s Ox cheek casserole matched with Chateau Civrac 2006.

Emily Scott’s Flourless orange and almond pudding matched with Chateau Civrac Late White 2012.

Andy Appleton’s Risotto Primavera matched with Chateau Civrac Wild White 2013.

Nathan Outlaw’s Brill with brown shrimp and griddled leeks matched with Chateau Civrac Wild White 2013.

The Sunday was merely as busy as we would expect on a regular Saturday on August bank holiday weekend so nothing much worth mentioning really…

So what did we learn from this, the busiest weekend in the 12 year history of BinTwo?  I’ve been mulling it over and have come to two conclusions:

Firstly we need to find some way to be able to offer a basic bar service out on the terrace next year to reduce the crush inside which, at times, led to a human traffic jam of epic proportions.  Although the ingenuity of people to squeeze into impossible gaps within our cosy shop was impressive to behold…but not to be repeated.

Secondly the weekend served as a reminder that our customers, yes you dear reader, are a truly fabulous bunch.  As I’ve written in a previous post about our opening hours, when BinTwo is in full swing it feels like we’re hosting the coolest house party in town.  Lots of different groups, individuals and couples walk through our door and before long they all become part of the family – budging up to make room for newcomers; talking, laughing and generally enjoying a great time together.  Genuinely, from the bottom of my heart, it’s a joy to watch and be part of.  At times over the festival weekend, when we were at our busiest, there would have been every reason for our customers to become impatient.  But, great bunch that you are, you could see what was going on, you could tell that we were working at our limit and you redefined what patience and good humour means.  I guess that’s why you’re our sort of people.  Thank you.

There were only two exceptions where customers displayed what frankly amounted to pretty rude behaviour directed towards our rather lovely staff.  I mention it only because it serves to throw into sharp relief how very lucky we are with the overwhelming majority of you – when we get someone who’s less than pleasant they stand out like a particularly nasty spot on the end of an otherwise lovely nose.

So to those of you who seem to love our little place – well the feeling is most definitely mutual.  Thank you for your continued custom, your good humour, your support and for being very much our kind of people.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Mike