The second Lichfield Food Festival, which took place on Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1 September, attracted thousands of people to the city.
From nine master chefs who cooked up a storm in the Lichfield Garrick, to a special Farmers’ Market, through to the Best of Local Brewing event, foodies from across the region were spoilt for choice over Lichfield Food Festival weekend.
Adrian Jackson, Artistic and Executive Director of the Lichfield Garrick, said: “Lichfield Food Festival was a huge success. It was great to see the theatre so packed with around 6,000 people visiting over two days. As well as browsing the food producers’ stalls in the Studio and Theatre Bar, festival-goers enjoyed the ten free cookery demonstrations by local and regional chefs on our main stage.
“It was a pleasure to be involved in the festival and great to see so many people enjoying all the different elements of it.”
Local retailers and restaurants also saw a boost in trade as thousands of people flocked to the city for the popular event.
Restaurants and cafes on the World Food Trail, that offered £10 set menus, were packed with diners. Many festival-goers also followed the Ale and Wine Trail, sampling wine and ale for £3 a glass at drinking establishments across the city.
Tippers on Europa Way hosted three free cookery demonstrations, featuring celebrity chef Rachel Green on Saturday 31 August.
The three demonstrations saw the Kill it! Cook it! Eat it! chef expertly prepare a number of delicious dishes on the Falcon induction range cooker, which attracted audiences of up to 100 each show.
Amy Tipper said: “We are once again pleased to be involved in the Lichfield Food Festival. Rachel Green gave three fabulous demonstrations in our purpose built kitchen, showcasing the Falcon Induction range cooker. We were thrilled to see so many people in the showroom.”
Lichfield Arts’ Best of Local Brewing event in the Guildhall’s Guildroom was a popular attraction over the weekend. A steady stream of people sampled and bought Real Ale and cider from a range of local producers, including Backyard Brewery, Woody Cider and Quartz.
Throughout the festival weekend, Lichfield City Council’s special Farmers’ Market packed out the Market Square, surrounding city streets and Three Spires Shopping Centre, with just over 70 stalls offering a wide variety of produce, including a tasty choice of hot food, pies, cheese, olives, fudge, cakes, locally sourced fruit, and much more. There was also a selection of craft stalls and children’s workshops, which meant there was something to suit all tastes.
Rachel Clive, Lichfield City Council’s Markets Officer, said: “The extended Farmers’ Market over the weekend was a great success with its choice of multi-cultural flavours and blended well with the General Market on Saturday. It was exhilarating to see Lichfield City centre so alive and buzzing and I would especially like to thank the Three Spires Management for allowing the city council to site stalls in the shopping centre for the first time as part of this event.”
Emporium art gallery hosted Fruity Tooty - a food sculpture contest – on the Saturday which was judged by chef and expert margarine sculptor Simon Smith.
Then Sunday saw the judging of the Cupcake Competition. There were 31 entries into the contest, which included celebration cupcakes and monster-themed cupcakes for the younger bakers.
The cupcakes were tasted and judged by the competition sponsors, Vicky Woolston and Lizzy Braine, Managers of The Kitchen Shop on Market Street in Lichfield.
They awarded the first prizes to Sophie Langham (age 4 to 11 category), to Alice Lainingham (age 12 to 16 category) and to Rachel Grassby (age 17+ category).
All three winners received vouchers to spend in The Kitchen Shop as well as Lichfield Garrick theatre tickets. Eleven-year-old Sophie Langham won two tickets to see the festive pantomime Snow White and the Magic Mirror, and Alice Lainingham and Rachel Grassby both won two tickets to see Masterchef Simon Smith at the Garrick on 10 October.
Vicky Woolston, Manager of The Kitchen Shop, said: “The standard of baking and decoration was really high, and we were really impressed with the creativity of all the bakers. Well done to the winners and runners up, and many thanks to everyone who entered the competition.”
Lichfield Food Festival was organised by the Lichfield Garrick and Lichfield District Council – in association with chef Simon Smith, Lichfield City Council and Lichfield Arts. It was sponsored by Midlands Co-operative, Tippers, Three Spires Shopping Centre and The Kitchen Shop.
Adrian Jackson added: “I’d like to thank all the organisers who worked really hard to present an even bigger and better festival. A big thank you must also go to our fantastic sponsors and to all the local food producers, chefs, restaurants and bars that took part in Lichfield Food Festival, making it such a success.”