Country Mouse at Aldeburgh Food Festival

It’s all very well travelling, in the spirit of reduced carbon footprint, by train to the Aldeburgh Food Festival, but I wish I had taken a large 4X4 with a trailer to hold all the produce I wanted to take home. I knew the tomato sauce made by the former Rhodesian SAS soldier would be top class, and Parravani’s ice cream tasted especially good when I learnt that the business began in 19th-century Norwich with a cart visiting nearby villages.

The Maple Farm stand was like an organic still life and, presiding magisterially over all, was the energetic Countess of Cranbrook, queen of local food campaigns.

But how does one of our finest food events sit so comfortably at Snape Maltings, Suffolk’s answer to Glyndebourne? By introducing the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, of course. Using a pumpkin as a bass drum, cucumbers as flutes and carrots carved as whistles, the 10 Austrians performed to extraordinary effect.

One piece sounded like quizzical ducks and another could have been a family of mice asking the Clangers for directions, but there was something deliciously Monty Pythonesque about a deadpan Teutonic accent announcing a piece that ‘includes aubergines being vhipped and beaten’. If music be the food of love, there was only one place to be last weekend.