It’s time to tuck in to the very best food and drink has to offer, following the official launch of the EDP Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.

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The showcase, which celebrates the county’s culinary credentials, got off to a scrumptious start at the Assembly Rooms in Norwich on Friday night.

More than 260 invited guests celebrated the launch of the festival, which is being run in association with Norfolk County Council.

The event was a taster of the many mouth-watering products which are set to be celebrated for the next six weeks during the festival, which is now in its eighth year.

Canapes offered a tasty tease of what can be expected during the festival, with local food such as Fielding Cottage goat’s cheese, Little Melton yoghurt, Fruit Pig black pudding, last year’s Battle of the Bangers’ winner Archer’s, a new soft drink called Formula 72 and pink fizz by Adnams.

Popular events during the festival include Saturday’s North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival at Holkham Hall, the Moveable Feast, Battle of the Bangers and a Tallest Jelly Competition.

All sorts of restaurants, tearooms, chefs, producers and entrepreneurs are running events and special offers during the celebration to help get the message across that our region’s food really is glorious.

And this year, the festival has been extended, so it can take in the Aylsham Food Festival from October 5 until October 7.

The festival has four patrons: Vanessa Scott, Galton Blackiston, Richard Hughes and Chris Coubrough.

Richard Woolliams, chairman of the EDP Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, said: “It’s great that this year we can say that we are keeping it very local with all four patrons well known in Norfolk and sharing a passion for Norfolk and its food and drink industry.

“I am delighted that they are all participating in this year’s festival from helping to set up and run some of the festival weekends to individual events and cookery demonstrations across the county.

“Our festival keeps growing, and our message is reaching a wider audience and we hope this year more than ever that we will be able to entice people to visit Norfolk and just see how great our food and drink offering really is.

“So lots to enjoy – from a Mad Hatter’s tea party to the Ultimate Picnic on the top of a wind turbine – you can’t say we are not adventurous!”

Ian Mackie, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “As a council we are committed to improving Norfolk’s economic well-being, particularly at this time, and supporting our vibrant food and drink sector through events such as this also draws many visitors to our County.

“It is highly appropriate that the success and reputation of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is growing year on year, as it can honestly be said that here in Norfolk we helped revolutionise the history of agriculture.

“Norfolk County Council – and by extension everyone in Norfolk – remains directly involved in farming and food production. The County Farms Estate extends to over 16,000 acres across the county and is farmed by more than 145 tenants, with hopefully more to come.”

He added: “We are pleased to join forces with a range of partners at the fantastic free day out on Sunday, September 9 – which combines the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival in the new exhibition hall at the Royal Norfolk Showground with a family fun day which begins from around 10am.

“This event also hosts the finish of the ‘Grand depart’ or the first day of the Tour of Britain – with riders including Olympic and Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins, and his team GB colleagues including Mark Cavendish, due to arrive at the showground mid afternoon.”

To keep up to date with what is happening throughout the festival, vist www.edp24.co.uk and www.norfolkfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk

Make sure you get this month’s EDP Norfolk magazine as well for more about the festival

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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