Nearly 20,000 people flocked to last weekend’s two day Wallington Morpeth Food and Craft Festival.
A winning combination of a record breaking 65 stalls selling top quality locally produced food, drink and crafts coupled with the gloriously sunny and warm early autumn weather, saw 19,500 visitors crowd into the picturesque National Trust estate at Cambo in the heart of Northumberland on October 15-16.
So successful was the event run in association with Taste North East and Made in Cumbria that many producers sold out on the Saturday and had to rapidly restock for the following day.
Emily Johnson, Wallington’s visitor services assistant, said: “It’s great to see that our regional food is so popular and that people are supporting our local producers. The weather was fabulous, there was a wide ranging selection of top quality stalls, great tasting food, some excellent cookery demonstrations and, of course, the fabulous weather.
“I think it would be fair to say that a great weekend was had by all.”
The event which had its first outing in 2006 has grown in popularity with both producers and the public and has now become a firmly established and much loved fixture on the autumn events calendar.
Held on the grassed courtyard in front of Wallington’s magnificent Palladian house, it has grown from just a handful of stalls to the 65 that took part this year – a record for the festival which now places it as one of the largest events of its kind in the North East.
Added attractions at the weekend included cookery demonstrations courtesy of former North East chef of the year David Kennedy of David Kennedy’s Food Social and BBC Masterchef contestant Stacie Stewart of the Beehive Bakery, a children’s food trail, the chance to meet alpacas Minimus, Ochre and Pearson as well as the opportunity to sample a range of dishes preserved for posterity by Wallington’s Georgian housekeeper, Mary Smith, who also made an appearance in the kitchen of the mansion she once called home.
David Kennedy, who runs the acclaimed David Kennedy’s Food Social @ The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle, said: “I was thrilled to again have the opportunity to be showcasing some of the produce at this year’s food and craft festival.
“I have seen the event develop over the years and always enjoy taking part. It’s good fun and always an interesting crowd.
“Over the years this event has introduced me to new suppliers who are now on the menu at Food Social, such as Wallington rump steak, Yellow Fields rapeseed oil and Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes.
“It’s not just the scenery that is stunning up this part of the world, the food producers and suppliers are also among the best you will find anywhere in the UK.
“The diversity and quality we have on our doorstep is amazing.”