Norwich Food Festival

The Bidwells Norwich Food Festival is back in October - bigger and better than ever. Sarah Hardy and Jon Welch take a look at the mouth-watering events on offer this year which should put the city firmly on the country's foodie map.

The Bidwells Norwich Food Festival is back next month - bigger and better than ever. Sarah Hardy and Jon Welch take a look at the mouth-watering events on offer this year which should put the city firmly on the country's foodie map.

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The Norwich Food Festival, now in its second year, promises to be seriously dangerous for the waistline. Although just over a week long, the festival offers everything from gourmet dinners to the launch of a new chocolate, a charity ball and a sausage making contest.

It runs from Friday, October 13 to Sunday, October 22 and also includes food and wine tastings, food trails, cookery demonstrations, celebrity chef master classes and more.

The overall aim of the festival is to raise the city's profile as a first class place for food and eating out. And, on a more practical level, to encourage people to eat more locally-produced food and realise that healthy eating doesn't have to be either expensive or time-consuming.

It's been organised by VisitNorwich, whose destination development manager Michael Nutt says: “Bringing together local farmers, food and drink producers, retailers, restaurants, pubs and cafes, the Bidwells Norwich Food Festival is committed to raising the profile of Norwich as a first class area for food and eating out.

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“We will be working harder than ever to make this event bigger and better, not only for the people of Norwich but also the wider community of Norfolk and surrounding counties.”

Sure, there's a strong celebrity element to much of the festival, with many events being at the top end of most people's pockets, but there are also events for children, lots of have-a-go sessions, Sunday lunches, and do look out for the launch of a new Norwich chocolate truffle from Booja Booja, a specialist chocolate producer based in Brooke, between Norwich and Bungay. It's said to be delicious!

The Moveable Feast is one of the festival's key events and certainly one that many people look forward to. This year it is taking place on Tuesday, October 17 and more than 20 restaurants in the city are participating.

It is expected than 600 diners will enjoy a three course meal, having a starter in one restaurant, a main course is another and their dessert in a third. Tickets are £30 per head and the fun is that you don't know which restaurants you'll be dining at until you arrive at either the Forum or the Assembly House for pre-event drinks from 5pm.

Restaurants taking part include St Benedict's Restaurant, Elm Hill Brasserie, Reeds, Maids Head Hotel, Hong Kong and Bedfords - and vegetarian options are available.

At the end of the evening, a party and fashion show are being held at the Forum where everyone can meet up and swap stories about their dining experiences!

Tickets are available at the Tourist Information Centre, at the Forum, or call 01603 727927. You can also visit www.moveablefeast.com

Key events

Saturday, October 14 - It's the Battle of the Bangers - the best butchers in the region compete to produce a special festival sausage, with the winner going through to the national British Banger competition.

Saturday, October 14 - Inspect a state of the art cookery theatre, courtesy of John Lewis, at the Forum and just dream of owning one!

Saturday, October 14 - Model live farm - meet cute little animals - and young farmers - outside the Forum to learn more about modern day farming.

Sunday, Oct 15 - A children's pumpkin growing competition. Watch the winning pumpkin be turned into a delicious pie by one of our top chefs.

Wednesday, October 18 - Morston Hall dinner - One of Norfolk's top chefs, Galton Blackiston from Morston Hall in north Norfolk, prepares a dinner live at the Hotel School at Norwich City College. See a real master at work - and get to eat it afterwards!

Saturday, October 21 - It's National Apple Day - hundreds of apples are being given away in the city centre to promote healthy eating. Watch out for Norfolk costume characters!

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