Exeter fills its boots at the 11th Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink!

Exeter fills its boots at the 11th Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink!

By Abigail Leighton-Boyce

01 May 2014

Exeter’s foodies were delighted once more with the return of its highly regarded Festival of South West Food & Drink. Championed by Exeter born and bred, award winning professional chef Michael Caines MBE, the Festival continues to showcase some of the very best and delicious produce the region has to offer.

Mr Caines who continues to work closely with the Festival as its Founder and Organiser said: "The festival showcases two wonderful spots in the city - Exeter Castle and Northernhay Gardens - for people across Devon and the South West to enjoy the wonderful culture of farming, food producers and tourism. It is right that we celebrate here in Exeter all that's great and all that's wonderful about the region."

The event, held over 3 days and 3 nights from 24th to 27th April in the majestic setting of Exeter Castle’s courtyard as well as Northernhay Gardens, attracted some 16,000 visitors who enjoyed a wealth of food related stands, demonstrations, workshops and activities. Many stand holders have reported excellent sales, making this year’s festival a resounding success for their business.

Over 100 local producers attended throughout the event to sell their wares in the Food Pavilions, alongside the festival teepees where demonstrations were hosted by artisan makers. Those who attended were treated to hands on workshops to master the process of making handmade sausages, cheeses and cured meats and much more! Meanwhile Michael Caines, Lesley Waters and other celebrated chefs and restaurateurs took to the stage in the festival’s Cookery Theatre to share with us their considerable culinary skills and recipes. Families too had plenty to choose from as dedicated children’s areas focussed on both entertaining and engaging little ones with the aim of giving them a better understanding of where their food comes from.

The Festival kicked off with the first of its 3 After Dark Parties on Thursday 24th with live music from Mama Stones house band plus special guest vocalists from 6:30 ‘til late. Party-goers feasted on delicious hot street food from a variety of stalls and supped on local beers, ales and wines.

With Taste of the West’s latest survey showing an increase both in the growth and optimism of local producers, next year’s festival whose dates have already been released (24th – 26th April 2015) is set to be even better; a fitting showcase of our buoyant region and its bounty. 

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