Food festival organisers are expecting their biggest ever weekend this Easter with three anchor events – the Big Sussex Market, Live Food Show and Children’s Food Festival – taking over New Road, Royal Pavilion Gardens and Jubilee Square – for an epic two days of great food and drink.
The Big Sussex Market on Good Friday 29 and Easter Saturday 30 March will see stalls featuring 80 local growers, producers and restaurateurs selling a huge range of great food and drink. The event regularly attracts 40-50,000 foodies to the heart of Brighton, and with the addition of the free Children’s Food Festival outside the Royal Pavilion featuring composting activities from PHS Wastetech, food bravery challenges from Wagamama, and a host of other fun foodie things to do for the little ones.
Live Food Show stage sponsor, Discover The Origin – an EU project celebrating protected designation of origin food and drink – will be returning to the festival for the second year to showcase geographically unique produce such as Parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, alongside Port, Burgundy and Douro Valley wines.
“Top chefs from across Brighton & Hove and surrounding Sussex including Andrew MacKenzie of Drakes, Sam Metcalfe of Sevendials and Jeremy Ashpool of Jeremy’s Restaurant will be preparing some of their favourite dishes on the Live Food Show stage”, says show host Andrew Kay.
“We’ll also be challenging them to produce a five-minute dish using produce from Discover the Origin. This was incredibly popular last year and we saw some very unusual creations including Parmigiano-Reggiano sushi!”.
Over the weekend there will also be the finals of the Great Brighton Ice Cream Competition which has been running in association with Rockinghorse and Boho Gelato across local primary schools, and also the finals of the Brighton Bake Off which has seen local businesses baking for charity. The Live Food Show stage will also feature Mixology Group’s Mini Mix Off cocktail competition with four local bars going head-to-head for cockail supremacy, and the festival’s new Extreme Food Challenge which will allow members of the public to sample some of the weirdest things its possible to eat!
The foodie fun continues on Bank Holiday Monday 1 April with the festival returning to Royal Pavilion Gardens for the Alice in Wonderland themed Easter Egg hunt raising money for Rockinghorse, followed by a free World Food Trail in the afternoon.
“The food trail features some of Brighton’s favourite restaurants including Terre á Terre, Pub du Vin, La Choza, AguaDulce and V-Bites, and will allow participants to enjoy complimentary tasters from the menus”, says festival director Nick Mosley.
“The last port of call on the trail is the Brighton Fish Festival outside Moshimo in Bartholomew Square, where a host of stalls, demos and free children’s activities will be on offer to raise awareness of local fish and seafood, and issues around sustainability.”
The festival also see the welcome return of Make Your Case and Bitter & Twisted, the punk wine and beer tasting events. Hosted in the Dome Room of Hotel du Vin these are complete evenings of sampling, including food, and are a huge amount of fun for the audience and presenters. Dr Belinda Kemp of Plumpton College will also be running a Supertasters afternoon at myhotel in Jubilee Street to give wine lovers an interesting perspective on the science of wine and taste.
The Sussex Gourmet Bus Tour will also run in April with a packed day of exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of local food and drink producers, including the award-winning Ridgeview Wine Estate at Ditchling.
The festival’s close event is the Churchill Square Farmers Market Live Food Kitchen which runs alongside the weekly farmers market. Featuring chefs from Sabai Thai Gastrobar and AguaDulce plus Tina Horvath of Cantina, there’ll be lots of treats for the eye and the stomach.
“With the support of the Montefiore Hospital, we’re also launching the 2013 Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards at the festival”, says Nick Mosley.
“We’ve added a host of new categories, plus a new voting and judging process, so we’re expecting them to be bigger and better than ever before”.
Now entering its 11th year, the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival is a twice yearly celebration of great local produce. The festival promoted over 350 businesses and organisations in 2012, and attracted well in excess of 170,000 to the wide range of events and activities hosted in April and September. In line with the festival’s social objectives, all of the anchor events are free entry to allow everyone to enjoy good, local food and drink.
The festival brochure will be available across Brighton & Hove from early February or you can see all the events online here.