Croissants signal Aylsham Food Festival is coming

A town which encourages people to savour locally-produced food has begun baking ahead of its big festival weekend.

Rolling pins were out at Aylsham as food festival organisers headed to the kitchen to make 150 croissants for the annual Big Breakfast.

Volunteers spent Saturday morning flattening, kneading and shaping buttery pastry before consigning the tasty treats to the oven at the local high school.

The croissants, and home-made bread and preserves, are part of the breakfast event which will serve locally-sourced sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Event vice-chairman Roger Willis said the breakfast - in the town hall from 10am to noon on October 2 - also had Sunday newspapers available for people to read as they tucked in to the leisurely all-dayer.

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'Food is more than just fuel. People live busy lives but they should find time to enjoy their food, particularly when it is local and fresh,' he explained.

Last year the event struggled to source the croissants, so Jill Willis, head of hospitality and catering at Aylsham High School decided to have a go at doing them.

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It was a time-consuming task involving chilling the pastry five times during the process - and stretching the dough into the shape of the Eifel Tower, she added.

'Most cooks will rise to a challenge, and learning new skills is what slow food is all about,' she added.

The croissants will be frozen and freshened up on the morning of the breakfast.

Aylsham is part of the Cittaslow 'slow food' movement which promotes a quality lifestyle including local food.

The food festival has been running since 2006 having grown from small beginnings.

This year the regular Friday night sell-out meal prepared and served by high school students includes three soups, and three desserts sandwiching a cheese tasting session by Catherine Temple.

On Friday morning, September 30, there is country market in the town hall, from 8.50am to noon. On Saturday there is a 20-stall farmers' market offering tasters of produce including meat, oil, cheese and cakes from 9am to 1pm.

Ingredients from the market will provide a challenge for local chefs given a Read Steady Cook-style challenge in the town hall from 10am to 12.30pm.

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