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Largest food festival in Norfolk returns to Holkham

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The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, which takes place in The Walled Garden at Holkham, on September 3 and 4, puts artisan producers at the heart of what it does.

Now in its 13th year, the largest food festival in Norfolk has two great awards available to its talented stall holders to win.

The first is a £1,000 Mentorship Award from Norwich-based Kettle Foods, the show’s main sponsor.

The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is returning to Holkham Hall in September. (56952353)
The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is returning to Holkham Hall in September. (56952353)

All stall holders are eligible to apply for the award which gives the winner exclusive access to the company’s key players who can help with business plans, marketing ideas, product development and more.

Past winners include Candi Robertson of Candi’s Chutneys and Sarah Pettegree of Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies.

The second award is a new one from Lynn-based Barsby Produce who are looking for the festival’s best new product.

The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is returning to Holkham Hall in September. (56952356)
The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is returning to Holkham Hall in September. (56952356)

The company will promote and sell the new goods, through its extensive supply chain, providing the producer with a robust route to market.

Stall holders can enter for either or both awards on the festival’s website and both winners will be announced at the opening ceremony at The Arthur Howell Cookery Theatre at 11am on September 3.

Festival committee member Ben Keeley, of Barsby Produce, said: "We are delighted to offer this opportunity, it is a great way for artisan producers to get their product out there, and we are looking forward to receiving lots of entries and tasting them."

holkham hall (Holkham estate) (56143701)
holkham hall (Holkham estate) (56143701)

The line up at The Cookery Theatre, always a highlight of the festival, is shaping up with both new and established names appearing on the high tech stage, which is hosted by local foodie Andy Newman.

Sara Matthews kicks off the entertainment on Saturday morning with ideas for a plant-based breakfast feast, while you can also expect a couple of decadent puddings from Scott Taylor of The Harper in Langham.

Fran Hartshorne of The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe works her magic with fish, Michael Chamberlain of The Victoria at Holkham is preparing Estate venison, Abbi Saunt of Creake Abbey always creates incredibly colourful dishes, and Gary Steward of The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market is thinking small plates.

Appearing on both days are the ever chirpy duo, festival chair and Wells chef Chris Coubrough and his great friend, legendary butcher Arthur Howell. Basically, you need to

expect the unexpected with them and it is always great fun and somewhat chaotic.

The festival, which attracts 12,000 visitors over the two days, has 65 artisan producers who sell everything from gin to chocolate, beer to chutney, and bread to cheese, with a real accent on quality.

There are several pop up concessions selling dishes as diverse as mussels, wood fired pizzas, Thai dishes and artisan coffee, so you won’t go hungry, while the festival bar, run by Malt Coast brewery, is the place to hang out for a cool beer or festival-inspired cocktail.

There are lots of activities for children, including story telling sessions and live music, and the festival is very much a dog friendly event with treats available for them, too.

North Norfolk Living, a well known local lifestyle magazine, is its media partner, and the Festival takes place by kind permission of the Earl and Countess of Leicester.

Entry is free and car parking is available at £5 per vehicle and opens from 10am to 4pm on both days.

The festival is run by local foodies who all volunteer their services to support this family-friendly event which is a firm favourite in the culinary calendar.

Facilities and attractions at the hall, an 18th century Palladian style mansion, are also available including shops, a cafe, exhibition, cycle and boat hire and a high ropes course. There are many lovely estate walks and cycle ways, and Holkham beach is regularly voted one of the best in the country.

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