Crowds Flock To The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival In Suffolk Last Weekend
Food lovers from across the UK flocked to Snape Maltings in Suffolk this weekend for what is seen as one of the leading food festivals in the UK. Shoppers were spoilt for choice with over 80 stalls offering everything from Suffolk grown melons to local brie and from goat meat burgers to smoked fish. With more visitors than ever before, many producers reported an increase in sales compared to 2012 with the Artisan Smokehouse saying they sold as much over the weekend as they did at the BBC Good Food Show.
Katherine Manning of local dairy Marybelle said:
“Having just won the Great Taste Supreme Champion, beating nearly 10,000 entries from across the UK, being at our local food festival gave us a fantastic opportunity to meet our customers, hear their feedback on our products and our new packaging range. We also love getting to see what other wonderful products are made in the area. It is most certainly a date that we never miss and see it as the focal point of our calendar. The event is so well organised and attended and it just gets better year after year.”
Once again the Festival drew an amazing line up of chefs to entertain the crowds with live demonstrations and book readings from TV celebrities like Valentine Warner and Thomasina Miers to gardener-cooks Sarah Raven and Bob Flowerdew. The Festival also provides a platform for local chefs including Madalene Bonvini-Hamel from the British Larder and chefs from many local restaurants and hotels.
Thomasina Miers founder of Wahaca and winner of Masterchef 2005 said:
“The food scene in Suffolk is remarkably strong - it makes me come back every year so that I can see how it has changed in a year. This last one has seen four new food markets, one new greengrocer, one deli, one village shop and four bakers open in East Suffolk despite the recession. We always have the most incredible fresh produce to work with not to mention all that fresh fish caught on day boats. Suffolk is very special with it's fantastic quality and diversity of produce and so many affordable and vibrant farm shops - it's a unique, vibrant and wonderful food scene.”
This year there were some fun and quirky additions to the weekend including the Adnams Gin Experience (tastings and talks), the Bread Zone (hands-on workshops and tastings and a competition for amateurs), The Aspall World Pickled Egg Championships judged by Valentine Warner and to round off the weekend the very First International Pigeon-Plucking Championship created by local chef and restauranteur David Grimwood of the Froize Inn. Together with hands-on workshops from foraging to sausage making and children’s cookery classes the weekend offered something for everyone.
The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival has been strongly supported by Adnams since it’s first year in 2006. Liz Cobbold, Head of Marketing says:
“The East Coast food scene in Suffolk is buzzing and while we’ve been involved with the Festival we have watched brands grow from small beginnings to national award winners. It is a chance for us to meet many of our customers and celebrate the best produce in the region.”
Fen Farm Dairy from Bungay were new to the Festival this year selling raw milk and brie. Dulcie Crickmore says:
“Attending the Festival was a big confidence boost for us as a new business and it was quite overwhelming to receive so much positive feedback. Most of our produce is sold through distributors or through the honesty box at our farm gate so it was lovely to be able to meet customers face to face, have a good chat and hear their opinions first hand. Not to mention meeting other like-minded producers, chefs and food-lovers.”
The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival continues until October 13th with over 80 fringe events including farm walks, behind-the-scenes tours of producers like Emmetts of Peasenhall and Pump Street Bakery, workshops and talks and some smaller festivals including Eat Aldeburgh, Waveney Valley Food Festival, the Woodbridge Shuck Shellfish Festival and the Framlingham Sausage Festival.
The full programme for the weekend is available: www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk
The Fringe Festival runs until 13 October - the full programme is here: www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk/fringe-events/
Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival 2014 will take place over the weekend of 27-28 September with the Fringe Festival continuing until the 12 October.