Hampshire Food Festival Gets Underway

Farmers, producers, restaurants, pubs, cookery schools, attractions, country show and town centres showcase the best of local food and drink during next month’s Hampshire Food Festival which runs July 1st-31st.

Held at numerous venues across the whole county, The Hampshire Food Festival celebrates the food and drink produced, reared and grown in the county with over 90 different events: farm open days and walks; brewery, vineyard, orchard and lavender tours; celebratory lunches and dinners; butchery and fish filleting demos, cookery classes; jam, chocolate and cheese-making; milling and baking; cider pressing; trout and venison farming; foraging; beekeeping; cookery competitions; tastings and much more.

Antony Worrall Thompson will be cooking simple dishes using Hampshire produce at The Festival Place Food Event in Basingstoke over the weekend of 16th and 17th July. Atul Kochhar and his Executive Chef Jitin Joshi create an Indian barbecue on the terrace of Vatika overlooking Wickham Vineyard (9th & 23 July). Laverstoke Park Farm hosts the Field to Fork Show incorporating the National BBQ Championships (July 30th and 31st). Vegetarian food writer Rose Elliot will be demonstrating seasonal dishes at Winchester Discovery Centre (15th July).  Pylewell Food & Drink Festival near Lymington includes a line-up of 10 top Hampshire and London chefs (July 23rd & 24th), and The New Forest & Hampshire County Show (26-28th July) showcases everything agricultural for a great family day out.

The Hampshire Food Festival, now in its 11th year, is organised by county food group Hampshire Fare and attracted over 215,700 people in 2010. The Festival’s success has been recognised with a Gold award at The 2010 Beautiful South Awards organised by Tourism South East and it was the winner of the South of England Enterprise category in The 2010 Countryside Alliance Awards.

Everyone who takes part in this year’s Hampshire Food Festival also has the chance to win a luxury spa break with dinner at the fabulous 5* Chewton Glen in the New Forest. Ecover and Hampshire Fare are also offering one lucky winner and their guest a stay at Tylney Hall near Hook and a cookery class at Newlyns Cookery School whilst their home is cleaned for them! If someone in your house hates washing up, you can nominate them to wash up for Antony Worrall Thompson at the Festival Place Food Festival on 17 July! Or enter the free prize draw to win a £100 ‘Local Flavours’ hamper with the Southern Co-operative.

James Martin has given his support to this year’s Hampshire Food Festival by writing the programme foreword. James said:

 “Do take part in this year’s Hampshire Food Festival to meet the local producers, explore the countryside and enjoy the best of Hampshire’s food and drink. I have lived and worked in Hampshire for the past 17 years and I am passionate about the amazing diversity of produce the county has to offer... one thing’s for sure, if its great food you’re after, then join in the Hampshire Food Festival!”

See the full programme of Hampshire Food Festival events and competitions at www.hampshirefare.co.uk, Alternatively, pick up a free programme from Hampshire libraries, farmers’ markets and participating venues or call 01962 846509 for a free programme to be posted to you.