Food lovers in their thousands descended on Christchurch for the 18th Food Festival held in the town. Both the High Street market and the Festival Village on the Quomps were packed with people eager to try the huge variety of food and drink on offer.
New for this year was a section in Church Street dedicated to start-up food-related businesses being given the chance to show their wares to the general public perhaps for the first time.
The Festival Village played host to a special marquee for Dorset Food and Drink suppliers. The popular Kids’ Kitchen also moved to be part of the Festival Village on the Quomps giving children the chance to try their hand at cooking either on their own or along with a parent or grandparent.
The Lovett Demonstration Theatre welcomed back such Festival regulars as Lesley Waters, Alex Aitken and Luke Matthews while TV chef Dean Edwards returned to the Festival for the third year running. Some of the sessions had to be revised due to chefs who had been booked having accidents but the spots were filled by Jennifer Williams from Naked Jam and Loren Coote from Sandbanks Hotel at the last minute.
The winner of last year’s The Apprentice, Alana Spencer, took to the stage on both days of the weekend and entertained the crowd with demonstrations of some of her Ridiculously Rich cakes as well as stories of her experiences during filming of The Apprentice and her work with Lord Sugar since her win.
Sue Harmon-Smith, Chairman of the Food Festival Organising Committee, said: “This was another amazing Festival weekend. Once again we were so lucky with the weather and I’m sure we attracted the biggest crowd ever this year. Both parts of the Festival seemed to be full of people all the time and many of the traders reported having their most successful sales of any venue – some of them even sold out of all of the stock they had brought with them.
“As always we are so grateful to everyone who helps to make this event run so smoothly. We have a wonderful committee, most of whom work in a voluntary capacity, and also a great bunch of volunteer stewards who are an enormous help. And of course our thanks must go out to all of our sponsors without whom we would not be able to offer the Festival to the general public for free.”
Events in restaurants, cafes and pubs continue until 21 May and the Highcliffe Revival Food Festival takes place on the weekend of 20 and 21 May.