Aylsham turned up in its best bib and tucker for the 14th annual Food Festival presented by Slow Food Aylsham.
The three-day showcase festival attracted hundreds to Slow Food’s traditional celebration of all that is good about local fare, supported, with their exceptional enthusiasm, by local producers, chefs and businesses.
In one of the sunniest and warmest October weekends on record – only marred by a cold, blustery Saturday – the festival opened with An Evening with Richard Hughes at Aylsham High School when chef director of the Assembly House in Norwich, Richard Hughes, and his wife Stacia Briggs entertained some 60 diners after a beef and ale pie supper, with anecdotes about Richard’s career in hospitality and catering.
On the Saturday, visitors to the Farmers’ Market were cheered up by the spirited musical act Banana Ukulele Band, who, resplendent in their yellow banana costumes, wove in and out of the town hall entertaining stallholders and shoppers with some close-harmony singing and dancing.
Inside the town hall, local chef Derrol Waller demonstrated his cookery skills and prepared three dishes including a warm apple and cheese salad, while stallholders Cromer Kitchens, Crush Foods, Ferndale Cheeses, Love My (formerly the Fudge Company), honey producers Apitherapy, Norfolk Food & Drink, and the Quakers, did a brisk trade.
The wine and cheese tasting event at the Heritage Centre featuring wine expert Brian Sullivan from Harper Wells on Saturday evening was a sell-out.
And those who over indulged would have found the traditional hangover cure at the Big Slow Brunch on Sunday at the town hall where the “all-you-can-eat” Full English and Continental buffet were enthusiastically savoured.
The previous weekend, as a “fringe” warm-up to the food festival, local cider maker David Warren, his wife Jenny and daughter Rosie put on a demonstration, display and tasting of home-grown cider as well as their own cider vinegar, juice and chutney. Scores of cider fans converged on Aylsham Town Hall to watch the apple pressing and enjoy a selection of the products.
Slow Food Aylsham extends its thanks and good will to all those who attended and supported the festival and would encourage those who didn’t to look out for next year’s event and make room in their diaries.