MORE than 20,000 people are expected to flock to this weekend's Dartmouth Food Festival — now in its 15th year — which promises to be the biggest yet.
They will be able to watch demonstrations by an array of chefs, including several celebrities, taste plenty of samples and browse the array of producer market stalls and enjoy the activities taking place.
The food festival takes place between this Friday, October 20, and Sunday, October 23.
Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston will be opening the festival alongside South Devon's own celebrity chef Mitch Tonks.
Some 100 producers will be taking part, around 75 per cent of them from Devon, offering a wide selection of scrumptious food and drink and buy direct from the growers, makers, bakers and brewers. Stands selling breads, cheeses, meats, drinks, wines, beers, chocolate, flapjack, cake, chutneys, oils and much more will be available from 10am each day.
Taking over the town from the South Embankment, through the heart of the Royal Avenue Gardens, to the old Market, the festival there are stalls a plenty, something to suit everyone taste, from Bad Boy Chilli Mash, Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka, Café Alf Resco, Taco Shack and Miso Tree.
The festival plays host to over 20 chef demonstrations from TV Chefs to other talented, inspirational figures and local food heroes.
2016 also sees the return of Mitch Tonks from Rockfish and Dartmouth's own Seahorse restaurant, one of the original ambassadors. Mitch describes the festival as having "a party atmosphere from start to finish." Mitch has become one of the most respected and knowledgeable seafood people in the country and an acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author in the process.
Romy Gill MBE, one of the few female Indian chef/owners in the UK, having opened Romy's Kitchen Restaurant in September 2013 in Thornbury, is taking part.
TV's Matt Tebbutt is also set to return. He and his wife Lisa, has transformed the former Foxhunter pub at Nantyderry into an acclaimed restaurant, winning AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales in 2004. Tom Parker-Bowles, Mark Hix, Simon Hulstone from Torquay's Micheln starred restaurant The Elephant, Matt Norton among many others, including local chefs will be whipping up a taste storm.
Susy Atkins, who appears regularly on BBC1's flagship cookery programme, Saturday Kitchen, and speaks at food and wine festivals around the UK, will be returning. She says: "I love Dartmouth and I totally volunteered to be part of it. The South West is so great at promoting its best produce and I've made it my personal business to try and promote drinks more. I be hosting some drinks seminars at Browns Hotel which I love."
The Guardian newspaper describes the festival as One of the Top Ten food festivals in the UK. The Telegraph says it is a 'heady mix of celebrity chefs, parties, food markets, tasting shacks and demonstrations.'
The festival is free to attend and with over 120 hand-picked exhibitors and 40 new exhibitors.:: As well as welcoming food experts and producer's from around the South West, the festival is also working to take even more care of our environment, The organisers have set themselves the target of being 'plastic bag free' by 2018.
A spokesman said: "We're encouraging all our exhibitors to ditch the plastic as much as they can this year and our idea of the jute bags sprung from that!
"So we enlisted well-known, local and respected artist Becky Bettesworth to help us on our quest and design the theme of our 2016 merchandise and we are so pleased with the beautiful results!
"Becky has adapted her ever-popular Dartmouth image especially for the Festival and the results are spectacular. The design will appear on jute bags and Tea Towels which will be available to buy across the Festival days."