Norwich and Norfolk Food Festival

The third Norwich and Norfolk Food Festival begins next month and also aims to raise awareness about the region’s great foodie experiences.

You can't keep food out of the headlines these days. The desire to improve the nation's eating habits is seemingly a national obsession as we worry about our health - especially the weight of children - and the state of the farming world.

Here at the EDP, we constantly strive to write about local produce, and the recent EDP Norfolk Food awards put the spotlight on many of our great producers and fabulous restaurants.

The third Norwich and Norfolk Food Festival begins next month and also aims to raise awareness about the region's great foodie experiences - whether it's our produce or the delicious restaurants we have on our doorstep. Many of the planned events are free and are meant to be fun, with children appreciating, we hope, where their food comes from and the importance of quality ingredients.

One key event is a visit by John Williams, the executive chef at the Ritz in London. His master class will run all day at City College on Saturday, October 13, with John demonstrating how to create a series of dishes - and then people get to have a go at recreating his dishes by themselves.

Another highlight is a battle of the banger sausage competition, also on Saturday, October 13, at Theatre Plain (between the Forum and Theatre Street) where entrants have to set up a stall then cook and hand out samples of their particular sausage for the public to taste and judge.

Sponsored by Colman's Mustard, the competition is open to the region's butchers. Richard Wells, chairman of Anglia Culinary Suppliers, is organising the competition. He said: “Last year's competition was fantastic fun and over 200 people entered. Again, we want this to be a true test of the best, so we need as many butchers to be involved as possible.”

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The winner, who will be announced at 4pm, will receive a Royal Brierley crystal mustard pot engraved with the Colman's logo and the winning sausage will feature on the menu of several Norwich pubs and restaurants during the festival.

A new event is the Lunch Hour Food Festival. Michael Nutt, from VisitNorwich which organises the event, says: “It's perfect for workers and shoppers in the city centre. There are free lectures and talks, special Food Festival sandwiches from delis and sandwich bars and set lunch menus specialising in local produce. Look out for lunchtime offers from participating restaurants including Rare and Mackintosh's Canteen.”

There's a chocolate demonstration on October 16 at City College where all us chocoholics will be drooling over the amazing works of art, and on October 15 celebrity chef and wine lover Keith Floyd appears at Norwich Playhouse to talk about his work - be warned, it's only for those aged 16 and over!

Children are sure to love the model farm outside the Forum on October 13 where they can cuddle ducks and more, while the tallest jelly contest on October 17, again at the Forum, sees schools competing to find the most impressive creation.

Mr Nutt adds: “Now in its third year, we are proud of the reputation the Bidwells Norwich and Norfolk Food Festival has developed in such a short time, and the enthusiastic support and involvement of the Hotel School is fundamental to the festival's success. To have the expertise and panache of the Ritz at the food festival this year will only add to that, with the Hotel School's events among the highlights.”

The third Norwich and Norfolk Food Festival starts on October 12 and runs until October 21. Full details are available by visiting the website or by calling 01603 727979.

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