Triumph for Taste Cumbria Food Festival 2011

The biggest ever Taste Cumbria Food Festival which took place in Cockermouth this September has been declared a triumph for the region.

Weeks of Cumbrian rain gave way to a remarkably warm and sunny weekend, resulting in the Lakeland main street of Cockermouth packed with over 20,000 visitors from both in and out of the county, as they came together to enjoy two days of food-related family events and activities.

The ever popular and entertaining Hairy Bikers headlined, appearing in one of a number of venues around the town including The Saints Rooms, Christchurch and The Kirkgate Centre, which were used by organisers SK Events for cookery demonstrations, presentations and expert masterclasses.

The Bikers, who prepared a variety of dishes including a Cumbrian Rose Veal Involtini, for capacity audiences, were joined by a stellar line-up of chefs including Matt Tebbutt, Stefan Gates, Tom Kitchin and Ravinder Bhogal who gave a number of live demonstrations, watched by fans and foodies alike.

Main street in Cockermouth was the centre of the event, being transformed into a huge open air food market sponsored by Four Seasons Foods, with many of the town’s business and the region’s producers selling their delicious wares from over 60 stalls, along with Booths Supermarkets who constructed a pop-up replica of one of their stores for the weekend, sampling many different products and selling cheese, meats and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Across the Derwent River, Memorial Gardens was the location for the popular Beer n’ Bangers Marquee, which featured several Cumbrian Breweries including Cockermouth’s own, Jennings who also gave tours of their brewery plus Workington’s Mitchell Krause, pulling pints for visitors against a backdrop of regional Cumbrian musical performers.

Taste Cumbria Food Festival 2011image

Katie Read of West Cumbria Tourism (centre) with celebrity chefs Stefan Gates, Tom Kitchin, Ravinder Bhogal and Matt Tebbutt at this year’s Taste Cumbria Food Festival, Cockermouth.

Junior chefs were well catered for in the interactive children’s area, with lots of messy fun keeping them entertained during festival weekend, including bread-making classes run by Carrs Breadmaker of Silloth.

Amazing

Festival visitor Dawn Boyes commented:
“The festival is amazing! Went all day yesterday finishing with the Bedrock Gin Cocktails. Started this morning with afternoon tea from Punch Bowl Inns and Malaysian cookery with Norman Musa … who can ask for more! What value!”

Liz Hampston added:
“It’s been a superb weekend, lots of great chefs and Taste Cumbria food stalls. The town was brimming full of locals and visitors, enjoying the atmosphere and great weather again!”

Recently listed as one of the best food festivals in the country by The Guardian, Taste Cumbria festival is part of a three-year programme to promote Cumbrian produce to a nationwide audience, and funded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), Defra and the EU. The festival is organised and managed by Cumbria Tourism and SK Events.

Quality

Katie Read, West Cumbria Tourism Manager, Cumbria Tourism commented:
“It’s been another phenomenal weekend for Cumbria – a triumph! 
I’ve lost count of the number of visitors that I have spoken to who have travelled considerable distances to be here at the festival – including Cardiff, Chester and Newcastle.

It’s massively satisfying to know that the word is spreading far and wide about the quality of Cumbrian food and drink and that visitors want to come and stay for a few days and experience what we have to offer. The town has been buzzing all weekend with people enjoying our regional hospitality and I hope that many will return time and time again. Here’s to Taste Cumbria 2012!”