Get on the trail of our finest food and drink

Jen Julian from Carluccio’s, Steve Bradshaw from La Marina Café Bistro, Dee Horne from Boston Tea Party, Matt Homans from the Keys and Kitchen, and Beata Craven from the Church Street Townhouse. (Submitted photo)

THIRTY restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs are gearing up to take part in the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival later this month.

The event, which runs from Friday, 23rd to Sunday, 25th September, is set to attract thousands of visitors from across the country.

The festival will incorporate the popular Taste and Ale Trails, which allow 200 daily ticket holders to enjoy free samples from businesses across the town.

As part of the Taste Trail, which runs from noon to 4pm on the Saturday and Sunday, food fans can visit local eateries including Boston Tea Party, Wildwood Restaurant, Carluccio’s, Huffkins Bakery, La Marina Café, and Paxton and Whitfield for a free mini-taster.

For £3 a ticket, visitors will be given a Taste Trail Map with a list of places to visit then can enjoy a stroll around town to sample a selection of tastebud-tickling treats.

The Ale Trail, which runs from 2pm to 8pm on the Saturday and Sunday, will give thirsty punters the chance to visit town centre pubs such as The Bear Freehouse, Church Street Townhouse, the Keys and Kitchen, the Dirty Duck, The Lamplighter, the Pen and Parchment and the White Swan Hotel where they can swig a sample of selected tipples.

Tickets are £5 and include a free commemorative Festival Ale Trail third of a pint glass along with a map of the Real Ale Trail with a list of beers and descriptions.

Marilyn Herdman, landlady of the Keys and Kitchen, said: “The amazing Ale Trail brings in people from all over the world to drink in our side street pub, to see our quirky back garden, savour our unusual ales and lagers from around the world —without this they would never find this little gem.”

Jen Julian, manager of Carluccio’s, added: “We are really excited to be part of the Taste Trail this year. It’s a fantastic platform to showcase our fresh, high-quality, authentic Italian food in turn giving us the opportunity to discuss our love for food with a few sneak peeks of our new menu.”

Taste and Ale Trail tickets can be reserved on the Stratforward website at and from the Stratforward site office on Waterside on Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th and Sunday, 25th September.

TV chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, will be the star turn at the Waterside Cookery School on the final day of the festival, which will also include demonstrations from Stratford’s own culinary talent, workshops for adults and children, and a new Local Producers’ Area on Waterside on the Friday and Saturday.