A taste of what town can offer

Jean-Chriostophe Novelli uses Alnwick Rum during his cookery demonstration at Alnwick Food Festival as part of the Dine in with Novelli night at the Northumberland Hall on the Friday night.
Jean-Chriostophe Novelli uses Alnwick Rum during his cookery demonstration at Alnwick Food Festival as part of the Dine in with Novelli night at the Northumberland Hall on the Friday night.

TASTY treats and culinary capers were the name of the game as Alnwick’s food and beer festivals rocked the town last weekend.

Thousands of visitors – from home and abroad – descended on the town centre to celebrate the wealth of local food, drink, arts, crafts and more that was on offer.

Jean-Christophe Novelli presents a cheque for �1,040 for the Gazette's Jam Jar Army, which is raising money for HospiceCare North Northumberland. Photograph Bruce Jobson.

Jean-Christophe Novelli presents a cheque for �1,040 for the Gazette's Jam Jar Army, which is raising money for HospiceCare North Northumberland. Photograph Bruce Jobson.

With more than 80 exhibitors in the Market Place and Bondgate Within, 31 beers and six ciders in the fifth Alnwick Beer Festival in the Town Hall, and celebrity guest, four-star Michelin chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, the whole weekend has been hailed a huge success.

Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, said: “I think it was a great event and it is fantastic to see the Market Place filled with all these stalls. Jean-Christophe said to me that he will be back because the people are so nice and the event is so well organised.

“When we do things like this they have to be of a high standard and we have got that right here. The festival director, Karen Larkin, has done a fantastic job.

“And Jean-Christophe took the time to speak to not only market traders but to business people and other shops and that is what it is all about.

“I love it, I just love it all. We have got a jewel here and we should make this our dream for the rest of the year, as this is the way forward for the town.”

Festival chairman Philip Angier added: “We were blessed with good weather for all three days of the festival, especially the Sunday. The town was buzzing for the whole weekend. We are still assessing all of our reports. However, I am confident that we exceeded our target footfall of 25,000.”

Entertainers including a mesmeriser, living statue, jugglers and chefs on stilts added to the weekend’s atmosphere while smart car, one of the festival’s sponsors, gave test-drives in their electric and petrol vehicles.

Evening events, including an intimate Dine in with Novelli night, were additions to the programme this year.

See Northumberland Now for the chance to win a set of knives, worth £300, donated by Jean-Christophe Novelli.