Christchurch Food Festival attracted big crowds over the bank holiday weekend
SUNSHINE and great food attracted big crowds to Christchurch's scaled-down comeback festival over the weekend.
Thousands attended the three-day bank holiday event on the quay, which is normally held in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Festival-goers could choose from a huge range of cuisine, including Afro-Carribbean, Thai, Mediterranean, Indian, American-style subs, Mexican, Moroccan, German sausages, and the good old British favourite fish and chips.
Those with a sweet tooth could take their pick from fudge, ice cream, New Forest Shortbread, pastries, churros, crepes, cakes, cookies and confectionary.
There was also a good range of beverages, from wine by Bluestone Vineyards and Christchurch's Bodega to Chucklehead Cider, Pothecary Gin, cocktails and iced coffee.
Many of the food and drink producers were local and members of Dorset Food and Drink and Hampshire Fare.
A jam-packed programme of chef demos included appearances by TV celebrity Rosemary Schrager, James Golding from the Pig Hotel group who paired up with good friend Druve Baker, and Alex Aitken from Christchurch's The Jetty restaurant.
A new addition this year was a pop-up eatery run by the award-winning Terroir Tapas and the Larder House in Southbourne in collaboration with Onyx Events.
The menu featured "fire fuelled, farm sourced" food, including produce from Christchurch's Sopley farm.
Dishes from the Farm Food restaurant included charred Sopley sweetcorn with fermented Dorset blueberries or Dorset salted butter, and Poole Bay oysters.
Masterminding the operation was founder of the eateries, James Fowler, a world class chef and bartender.
Also a first for this year was a sheep show, with visitors learning about different breeds of sheep, such as Nobby the Norfolk Horn, and enjoying a live sheep shearing demo.
There was also live entertainment and music on the bandstand and the ever-popular farmer's market.
Launched in 2000, the festival is usually held in the high street as well and has attracted crowds of up to 60,000.
Last year saw the first break in the event's history when organisers were forced to cancel because of the pandemic. Calling it off a second time was "not an option", a spokesperson had told the A&T.
Working with BCP Council and Christchurch Town Council, organisers ensured the festival was Covid-safe and were awarded a We’re Good to Go mark, which signals that a tourism and hospitality business has worked to follow government and industry guidelines.
As in previous years, the event supports the Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust, which promotes healthy eating in local schools.