Tasty launch for Norfolk Food Festival

Preparations for a month-long festival to showcase the best of Norfolk's food and drink got off to a scrumptious start as it was officially launched at a celebratory reception.

About 70 supporters of the 2011 EDP Bidwells Norfolk Food Festival, including local producers and business people, attended the event at the EDP's Norwich headquarters on Thursday.

It saw the festival committee, sponsors and corporate partners treated to a feast of local food and drink, all provided by members of the Produced in Norfolk co-operative.

The spread included a selection of Mrs Temple's cheeses, dozens of mini cup cakes from Sheringham-based Buns of Fun, sausages from Swannington Farm to Fork, apple juice from Whin Cider and some Portwood asparagus. There were also strawberries and fruit preserves from Peter Dickie at Woodberry Farm.

It was a taster of the many mouth-watering products which are set to be celebrated throughout September during the Norfolk Food Festival.

Those at the launch were also given the chance to find out more about the event, which is in its seventh year, and how it benefits the county's agricultural, food and drink, and tourism industries.

EDP editor Pete Waters said: 'With over 1,000 events, promotions and offers in 2010, we have the critical mass to turn this into the culinary equivalent of the Norfolk and Norwich Arts Festival and this will be entirely to the advantage of local people and local businesses.'

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Archant Anglia managing director Johnny Hustler added: 'Farming is vital to the economy of this region and anything that highlights its importance is a good thing.'

The festival, which expanded to become a month-long spectacular last year, will run from September 2 to October 2 and organisers hope to make it a destination festival which will draw visitors to the county from across the UK.

Mr Waters added: 'This year the festival is spread across five big weekends, in north Norfolk, Norwich, Swaffham, rural Norfolk, and Aylsham.

'The simple idea is that visitors can enjoy a break here in September and take their pick of how they want to enjoy Norfolk food, in Holkham on the coast, among the shopping and culture of the city, in the bucolic beauty of the Brecks, on a touring visit around the countryside or in Citteslow, Slow Movement, Aylsham.

'There's something for everyone.'

Popular events including the Moveable Feast, Tallest Jelly Competition and Battle of the Bangers, as well as the annual EDP Food and Drink Awards, have been confirmed for this year's festival.

Festival chairman Richard Woolliams: 'It's easy to get involved. All you have to do is hold a Norfolk food-related event in September, use the festival logo which is downloadable from the website, and we will promote it for free – in the EDP, our festival guide, on our website.'

To find out more about hosting an event, visit www.norfolkfoodfestival.co.uk, email Deborah@lexiamedia.co.uk, or go along to the food hall at this year's Royal Norfolk Show.

victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk

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