“We’re so excited. This year’s food and drink festival is jam-packed with sensational and varied food producers, chefs, street entertainment, master classes, cookery demos and unusual events. There really is something for everyone, whatever age and whatever foodie preference.” Cath Dutton, founder of Kendal Festival of Food is speaking in her office, surrounded by boxes of brochures, flyers and wrist-bands. She’s been working 24/7 with Stacy Hurley to get this annual feast organized. “The awful floods of late 2015 devastated Cumbria, but we have a resilient spirit and Kendal Food Festival 2016 celebrates that, as well as the phenomenal food and drink that the North of England is famous for.”
Kendal Food Festival 2016 is in its 7th year; I’ve been coming for 5 years and it just gets better and better, whilst still retaining its original ethos of showcasing local food and drink producers and talent. Some of the highlights I’ve especially enjoyed from previous years include The Fabulous Baker Brothers, who did a hilarious cookery demo double act, Smoky Jo’s introduction to smoking food at home and Aiden Monks’ Lovingly Artisan sourdough bread masterclass. Smoky Jo’s are back this year in the Best Of Cumbria Theatre in Kendal Town Hall.
Throughout the weekend of March 12th and 13th 2016, there will a veritable cornucopia of events. Looking through the Kendal Food Festival brochure I’m hoping to attend The Best in Northern Cheese with Andy Swinscoe of The Courtyard Dairy and Cooking with Duck with Chris O’Callaghan of Linthwaite House. He’s going to be using a famous local speciality, Grasmere gingerbread in his demo. Mike Bevans, owner of the hotel said, “I’m delighted we can support the festival. It’s a great opportunity for Chris to showcase his talents and it will also hopefully inspire budding chefs and create positive publicity for this area.”
As a blogger with a strong interest in cuisine in the UK and around the world, I often take photographs of food and drink in markets, during meals and at cookery lessons. I’m sure to pick up some useful tips at the Food Photography workshop with Jenny Heyworth from Aspire Photography. Catherine Connor, MD of Aspire told me how thrilled she is to be attending this year’s festival. “It’s a fabulous foodie event and brilliant that it’s in our own backyard. It attracts hundreds of photographers, bloggers, journalists, families, celebrities and food lovers, not just from Cumbria and the North West, but around the country. We’re proud to be a part of this increasingly popular festival.”
NEW for this year is the Edible Garden at Wainwright’s Yard, where we can learn more about growing our own fruit and vegetables as well as food for health and well-being. The Family Festival Village returns with some fun events for children, including Sculpting with Ice Cream, Create a Cress Head and the Kidz Kitchen. Join the battle of the bakers at the Bring a Bake competition in the AGA showroom and watch out for the Strolling Gardeners, the Farm to Fork Roadshow (there will be lambs!) and the Festival Jester demonstrating his circus skills out and about.
Of course, the festival is renowned for the many stalls that line the streets of Kendal town centre, selling everything from scrumptious bakes and chocolate treats to artisan breads, organic meat and poultry, regional cheeses, craft beers and spirits, tasty preserves and oh, loads more. Marian Graveson, of Blue Moose Kitchen, says, “This will be my third year at Kendal Food Festival and it really is one of the best festivals in the country. There are lots of reasons why I love this weekend: we always have fun, even if the wind is blustering the stall down the street!
Blue Moose Kitchen Brownies
“It’s very well-organised and there is so much to see and do. I’ll be selling everything from Gingerbread Men kits, cookie mixes and 5 varieties of brownie mixes, including local favourite Kendal Mintcake. Then there’s the Hot Chocolate. I’ll be giving out samples of my handmade mix during the festival; perfect if the weather is a bit chilly.”
The other BIG attraction is Northern Spirit on Saturday night. The brochure invites visitors to, ‘Join us for a celebration of some of the region’s very best spirits; sample a selection of regionally crafted vodkas and gins as well as some of Scotland’s best whiskies.’ Looks like a great way to celebrate a weekend of superb food, drink and much, much more.
Whatever the weather there’s always something to see, do, eat and drink at Kendal Food Festival.
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Just writing this has made me hungry! Can’t wait for the weekend – just going to be tough to decide which events to go to 🙂
Good to see the Linthwaite Hotel here AND Scottish whiskies!
Only the best John!
Ooooh this all looks so delicious. Definitely worth booking a weekend in the Lakes to come up for this festival 🙂
Do hope you come here Helen – it is a really great weekend and yes, you could also explore the lovely Lake District whilst you’re up in the NW. Perfect combo!
Wonderful blog piece captures the spirit of the festival. It’s such a fantastic event for families, foodies and photographers!
So agree Catherine. Hope to see you there and looking forward to the Aspire Food Photography session.
I am so looking forward to being at this event, it is one event in the year where we can go around and savour all the different foods and flavours and we always managed to come home with something for tea that is different and tasty. I have offered to help this year so looking forward to that as well.
Great blog, Zoe. Sounds like Kendal has a super weekend in store!
Yes, it’s going to be great isn’t it Sandra. Such a diverse selection of events, producers and displays. Good to hear you are helping – we’ll look out for you when we’re there 🙂
It certainly does Diane. Hope you get to visit sometime over the weekend 🙂
Thank you so much for an incredible article – it made a great read. It’s fab to hear such wonderful praise from seasoned foodies like yourself, Blue Moose Kitchen, Catherine Conner and Linthwaite. I can promise we never take these compliments for granted. This year is a perfect example of how much we listen to our visitor feedback. The new Edible Garden at Wainwright’s Yard and evening Northern Spirit event are both direct results of listening to what our hugely loyal following of foodies told us they wanted. Can’t wait to see the reaction!
Thanks again Zoe. Be sure to pop by the box office to say hi over the weekend!
PS Great pics too! 🙂
Delighted that you like the article Stacy. You and Cath have worked so hard to make this event the ongoing success that it is and I am sure it will be a wonderful weekend. I’ll most definitely call in over the weekend 🙂
Good to see Aiden Monks from last year. He taught me how to make sour dough bread at Lovingly Artisan 🙂
Yes, Aiden makes seriously good sourdough doesn’t he. Maybe you will make it for yourself one day!
Well done Wezzie Gezzie. Choosing a headline photo from Ginger Bakers, who were sadly flooded out and had to leave their bakery. Maybe an acknowledgement of this in the article, or even a more apt photo?
Yes, Carlos, it’s good that the Westmorland Gazette featured Lisa’s business 🙂 She’s got a stand at the Food Festival and her scrumptious Ginger Bakers cakes and bakes are selling like … well, hot cakes!