You'll have seen the marquees and tipis going up in The Quarry ready for Shrewsbury Food Festival this coming weekend (June 24th and 25th). Here's what to expect from the festival, now in its 10th anniversary year!
The Quarry will be transformed into a foodie paradise at the weekend, bustling with activity as top chefs spill their secrets on the demo stages and in special 'cook-a-longs' (always our favourite) and visitors lap up the huge variety of goodies on offer!
This year, for the 10th anniversary of the Shrewsbury Food Festival, organisers are promising more than 200 food, drink, home and garden stalls, plus street food trucks, bars, chef stages, cookery schools, live music stages, free kids’ activities and a 'field to fork' area.
We're delighted to see some of our My Shrewsbury magazine contributors in the lineup too. Our brilliant food writer Anna Christoforou (of Anna's Kitchen Table) will be doing demos on The Shropshire Distillery stage on Saturday at 2pm. You may have seen (and hopefully attempted) some of Anna's user-friendly Cypriot recipes in our magazine - the 'Summer Sides' in our current issue are a big hit at BBQs!
Also on the demo stage on Saturday at 5pm is My Shrewsbury cartoonist and baker extraordinaire Tat Effby, also known as 'The Caketoonist' on Tiktok, where her hilarious baking videos have been viewed over 40 million times. Her Mars Bar Ice Cream Cones video alone has 5.4 million views. You can read more about Tat's journey into influencer territory (after getting rejected by The Great British Bake Off multiple times!) in our interview HERE. You might know Tat from her Final Bell and Round the Bend cartoons in My Shrewsbury magazine as she's also a talented illustrator.
They will join the other top chefs in the lineup for The Shropshire Distillery Talks and Demonstrations Stage and the Shire Collection’s Chef School, including multi Michelin Star award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, Festival Head Chef Chris Burt, Stuart Collins, Rob Gibson, Suki Pantal, James Sherwin, Carla Ernst, and Ben Hall. Expert beer-writer Laura Hadland, who you may know from her Shrewsbury Sunday Beer Tours, will be leading a beer tasting.
Beth Heath, the festival's aptly named 'Director of Fun', said the aim is to champion best local independent producers and businesses, serving up the finest food and drink.
She adds: "Shrewsbury Food Festival is a day out for everyone – foodies, families, and fun seekers. We’ve created a dedicated area for kids where everything is free to try, including circus skills in the big top and a 400ft obstacle course – leaving the rest of the site a haven for grown-up festival fun! You can shop ‘til you drop in the home and gardens area, enjoy live music on the hill, watch chef demonstrations, follow cook alongs, and peruse all the amazing food and drink stands.”
Kids can meet Highland Cattle and Saddleback Pigs in the Field to Fork area, and find out more about where food comes from - or get stuck in and learn some skills at the Kids Cookery School.
It's not all about food. The festival also gives important opportunities for local bands to develop their following, appearing on the Start Tech live music stage throughout the weekend.
Saturday’s lineup includes Longden Calling, Hot Rox and Fee Fee & The Sentiments. On Sunday acts include Chasing August, Dirty Rockin Scoundrels, and Lucas D and the Groove Ghetto. There will be family entertainment from Get Your Wigle On at the bandstand.
Bursaries have been awarded to selected fledgling businesses to exhibit at the event. One of the places has been taken by Hammonds, a sustainable Shropshire muesli brand.
Chef Stage sponsors, The Shropshire Distillery, will be revealing a new apple and cherry liqueur that is currently in development. It will be available to sample at their gin and cocktail bar.
Look out for the Food Festival themed scratch cards produced by Shrewsbury’s Darwin Centre, available in the shopping centre and at the festival, featuring prizes from The Darwin’s businesses and discounts to Shropshire Festivals’ events.
If you buy tickets online rather than at the gate, you'll save up to £2 and you can also pre-book your cook-a-long and other activity slots. Festival tickets start from £15.50 (adults) and £9.50 (child), or £49 for a family of four.
For the full lineup of chefs, activities, exhibitors and bands, visit www.shrewsburyfoodfestival.co.uk.