Tasty local produce, interactive chef demonstrations and eye-catching street entertainment proved to be a recipe for success at this year’s Alnwick Food Festival, as large crowds flocked to the event, with some traders selling out on opening day.
The celebration of food and drink was staged in and around the Market Place on Saturday and Sunday, featuring more than 50 stalls – including some of the region’s best street-food vendors and producers with a range of goods, such as delicious cheeses, meats and jams.
While the weather was mixed, with numerous periods of rain, the culinary showcase still proved popular and organisers were delighted with how this year’s offering went.
And this year’s accompanying Alnwick Beer Festival – organised by Alnwick and District Round Table and held in the Town Hall – was just as popular, as punters sampled a range of beer, cider and gin, in aid of locally-based good causes.
Food festival chairman Philip Angier said: “Alnwick Food Festival was one of the first to be established in the North East, and 13 years on we are proud that it is still one of the best.
“The weather was blustery and a bit cold compared with previous years, but our loyal following didn’t disappoint. Some traders sold out completely on Saturday. Many others reported takings over the weekend above their expectations.
“We have been receiving lots of good feedback and visitors staying in the locality have commented on the friendly welcome, the quality and variety of the produce on the stalls and the historic setting – that sounds like the recipe for a great holiday experience.”
New to this year’s festival was a series of interactive Talk and Taste sessions in the Northumberland Hall, featuring food/drink experts who shared their passion for their craft, but with plenty of opportunity for the audience to get involved and take away some goodies.
These sessions featured Michael Oswald, of Earth and Fire; Bev Stephenson, from North Chocolates; Amina Begum, of Mivesi; and the Alnwick Cocktail Hour, hosted by mixologist Sophie Hall and supported by The Dirty Bottles, The Treehouse, and Taste of Northumbria.
As well as food and drink, there was plenty of other entertainment on the menu, including live music; face-painting; Barnacre Alpacas; birds of prey; clown and entertainer Charlie Carpenter; and fancy-dress company Make it Magical, while Bari Tea, on Narrowgate, held a tea festival.
Meanwhile, the regular Saturday market set up in Bondgate Within and was attended by a number of local charity organisations,
The festival finale was a charity cream tea in the Northumberland Hall, in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland, which has day-therapy centres in Alnwick and Berwick.
Summing up the festival, marketing and promotions officer, Mel Corn, said: “This year’s Alnwick Food Festival certainly packed a punch. Despite the weather, the event was well supported by the local community and those visiting in the area.
“Tourism plays a big part in Alnwick so it was fantastic to receive great support from the business community and local community groups as we all seek to raise the profile of the town.
“Some of the smaller independent businesses went the extra mile in helping to promote the food festival, and showed what we can achieve when we work together. I look forward to building on those relationships for our general market and to growing our socialmedia presence for future events.”
The food festival will be back next year, staged on September 22 and 23.
For more details about the festival, visit www.alnwickfoodfestival.co.uk