September 23 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Saturday, May 3, 2014
They came in their thousands to watch, to listen and, for some, to learn about the intricacies and relevance of the eel to modern day life.
To learn? Well maybe for a handful but for the rest it was a glorious way to spend a part of a Bank Holiday weekend and Ely, as always, proved to be a perfect host.
The traditional eel parade – celebrating its 10th anniversary- wound it ways through the city in a cavalcade of colour, wondrous outfits and, for those less nimble, on motorised wheelchairs.
Part of the finery of the day was provided by the assorted town criers as the handmade eel led the procession along what has become familiar as the ‘eel heritage trail’
The day was not without its banter, as Mark Broadbent showed when he tweeted later a “true fact- I have just set the record of 12.4m at the world eel throwing championships.”
One bemused follower on Twitter inquired: “What/who did you throw?” to which Mark valiantly replied it was “a stuffed mock eel”. Quite.
Four days of revelry actually got under way on Friday with the launch of the eel food safari which runs across the weekend, including Monday.
A variety of Ely’s restaurants, cafés and food venues have embraced the eel theme and are offering special festival dishes/menus using eel or providing creative twists on the eel theme.
Which explains why cafes and restaurants are serving up such delicacies as handmade eel decorated biscuits, handmade fudge with colourful wiggly eels, smoked eel scotch egg, and even a large eel shaped sausage was in at least one butcher’s window.
The creative team at Tea for Two have come up with the ingenious eel shaped sausage roll
And Samovar Tea House will be serving up eel’s tea which has sea grass as the key ingredient.
But no weekend is complete with local eel catcher Peter Carter who has been on hand to tell you the history of eel catching.
Ely Food and Drink Festival – running as part of the weekend- is on Palace Green under the gaze of Ely Cathedral.
The festival is supported by the well established flower, food and craft market, and a regular feature in Ely on bank holiday weekends showcasing some of the best local produce and crafts in the area.