Food fest treats in town this weekend

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Loxleys general manager Jonathan Lea and Stratforward marketing and events manager Tor Wilkes, help get the food festival off to a flying start. Photo: Charlie Budd

TASTEBUDS at the ready – there will be all kinds of everything on offer this weekend as Stratford Food Festival bursts into life once again in the town centre.

The feast of culinary delights will be found in High Street, Henley Street and Bridge Street this Saturday and Sunday, 21st and 22nd September.

On the menu this year is the opportunity to browse the 120-stall food market which showcases local and regional food and drink products.

Visitors can also get their teeth into the free hands-on workshops at Bell Court on Sunday, such as wine tasting and kids pizza making.

From 10.30am both days, talented chefs will be showing off their skills at the Cookery Theatre, this time situated in Bridge Street to cut down on road closure disruption (see separate story to the right).

The Fourteas kick off the demos by revealing how to make the perfect scone.

Also on the list are Stratford’s widely acclaimed, one and only Michelin star holder, Paul Foster of Salt, the head chef at Stratford Hotel du Vin Phil Hase and The Woodsman’s head chef, Jon Coates  – the recently opened restaurant in the newly-restored Falcon, now known as Hotel Indigo.

A special ‘farm to fork’ event is also taking place at the tent on Saturday lunchtime, where Loxleys’ chefs will take a journey of one of the restaurant’s much-loved dishes, its chargrilled lamb cutlets, by teaming up with Adam Lucock from Barry the Butcher, where they buy their meat – and their local farmer.

For the full demo schedule go to www.stratfordtowncentrefoodfestival

.co.uk

Back by popular demand, the taste trails will once again provide festival-goers with the opportunity to sample some of Stratford’s finest eateries, at venues such as Turquoise Kitchen, La Marina Tapas Bar, The Corner House,  No 44, Arden House, El Greco, The White Swan and many more.

This year’s ale trail is bigger than ever before, giving people the opportunity to try 1/3 pint ale samples for just £5 at a host of venues up to 10pm on Sunday, and even keep the souvenir ale trail glass.

Bake Off fans will be delighted to learn the festival includes a prize-winning cooking competition.

Bakers of all ages are encouraged to enter their cakes – cupcakes for under 16s and celebration cakes for over 16s – to The Shakespeare Hospice stall, opposite Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Saturday.

Ahead of proceedings getting under way, specially-invited guests at Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar in Sheep Street were served a champagne-accompanied spread on Friday, 13th September, to celebrate this year’s festival.

Among the guests were some of the Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) businesses taking part in the food festival, with the hearty meal helping build their strength in preparation for the busy weekend ahead.

Among those tucking in were Jasmine Reeves from Paxton and Whitfield, Adam Lucock and Zenios Loucas from The Fourteas, who will all be carrying out tasty cookery demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Jasmine, manager at Paxton and Whitfield, said: “At our stall, we’re going to be showcasing some custom cheeses like truffle brie that we wouldn’t necessarily have in the shop at this time of year.

“I’ll also be giving a demo on British fondue at the stage on Saturday at midday which is exciting.”

Adam said: “I’m looking forward to being part of the festival again, particularly the farm to fork event where I’ll be teaming up with Loxleys chefs.”

The festival, organised by Stratforward and sponsored by Loxleys, is one of the town’s most popular events, attracting thousands from near and far.

Regular sponsors Loxleys are also giving people the chance to win the use of a new Citroen car for a whole year as the main prize of its giant raffle, with all proceeds going to charity Molly Olly’s Wishes.

Loxleys general manager, Jonathan Lea, said: “For five

years we’ve sponsored the food

festival and have seen it grow

every year.

“The festival shows people what Stratford has to offer as a dining experience. It helps, not just us, but everyone to raise their profile. This year we wanted to increase our involvement even more by hosting a raffle in aid of Molly Olly’s Wishes which touched the hearts of everyone that works at Loxleys.”

Stratforward marketing and events manager, Tor Wilkes, said: “The food festival champions local food and drink and showcases Stratford’s vibrant food and drink scene. We’re extremely grateful to our members for taking part and supporting the festival, for the generosity of our wonderful sponsors Loxleys and to all the stall holders and members of the public who help create the brilliant atmosphere.”

The next big food themed event in town is Stratford-upon-Avon Feasts, a restaurant fortnight on 4th-20th October, where there are some very special offers and events. More details of these will follow in due course.

 NEW VIEW ON ROADS

TOWN centre businesses have been given advance warning of road closures lined up for this year’s event – which are reduced in comparison with previous years.

A spokesman said: “We are doing all we can to keep the traffic flowing around town. This year we have only closed Bridge Street and High Street so traffic can flow along Waterside, Wood Street and Union Street – unlike last year. Henley Street and Meer Street will be closed in the day as normal too.

“There will be signs to reassure that only these streets are closed. We really hope that our impact on locals and the businesses will be as little as possible.”

LSD Upmarket will only close Waterside on the Sunday to set up and clear down from 7-9am and 5-6pm.