The Stratford Food Festival, put on by organisers, Showplace, on the 14th and 15th September was a great success at the new Stratford Racecourse venue with high numbers of visitors, more exhibitors than ever and massive interest in the event’s celebrity performers.
Paul Hollywood of the Great British Bake Off fame proved to be a very good choice as celebrity draw for the event, Sunday in particular was much busier that the second day of last year’s Festival and Paul’s demonstrations were totally sold out.
More than 130 exhibitor stands offered a fantastic variety of different food and drink. The addition of a local exhibitors’ tent was also very popular as visitors crowded in to see what was on offer from Stratford and other local Warwickshire towns which included wonderful artisan breads, quality cheese, chocolates, jams, preserves and sweets.
The cookery theatre proved to be a strong draw well before the Paul Hollywood road-show swept into town and other stars of the Festival included Indian cooking experts Moushumi Moran of The Cardamom Pod and Anita Sharma James, Seren Evans-Charrington of Bubbling Stove historical recipes, the chefs from Ettington Park Hotel and The Encore restaurant, The School of Artisan food and Saturday’s guest celebrity Sophie Michell who was attending as part of an initiative with the Sense deaf blind charity. The celebrity themes of healthy eating and baking proved to be a winning combination enjoyed by visitors.
With live music, activities for the children and lots of lovely food and drink on offer the event really did offer something for everyone. Subsequent comments from exhibitors and visitors have been extremely encouraging, complementing the volume and variety of food stalls representing local and national food businesses, the popularity of the celebrities and the quality of the event’s organisation.
As the organisers look forward to 2014 they will be looking to further differentiate the event and build on this year’s success.