May 27, 2017
TODAY: Big crowds expected for Burnham-On-Sea Food Festival

Burnham-On-Sea Food & Drink Festival makes a welcome return to the town centre today (Saturday, May 27th) with more than 130 stalls and scores of free displays and attractions on offer.

The tenth festival will open at 9am and run through the day until 4pm, providing a day of entertainment with tractors, livestock, buskers, demos, workshops and scores of food stalls to explore in five indoor venues and a large outdoor market.

The food and drink producers will be offering staples like cheese, bread, chutneys and meats alongside cakes, chocolates, wines and pies.

The outdoor market will be full of street-food traders offering jerk chicken, low and slow BBQ, Japanese noodles, Russian kebabs, vegan treats and more.

We spoke to the festival organisers and got a round-up of what to expect on the day and some of the highlights.

The competition hub will be The Cookery School in Princess Street. The Great Burnham Bake Off, sponsored by The Retreat Caravan Park, opens for entry drop-offs at 9am.

To celebrate the tenth festival, the organisers are bringing together the past winners of the Great Burnham Bake Off. The 'Champion of Champions' challenge is a chance to find the definitive best of Burnham's bakers, recreating their trophy-winning recipes from previous triumphs.

And for those newbies who have never entered the Great Burnham Bake Off there is a great debut challenge - Bake us a tenth birthday cake! A junior & senior class, both will be judged on taste, appearance and trueness to form.
Come and see the cakes, bakes and breads on display in the Hawksmoor Cookery School on Princess Street centre until 2pm when entries close and judging commences. The trophies and prizes will be awarded at 4pm when it's oven-gloves off for our competitive bakers!

All visitors to the festival will have the chance to vote for their favourite trader and could win a years subscription to Somerset Life magazine. Collect a card from one of the friendly stewards and post your vote for Best in Show at one of the five indoor venues before 3pm.

There will also be chefs, a cookery school, entertainment, a cookery school and more - we'll have more through the week.

Festival co-organiser Sarah Milner Simonds said: "This is our tenth festival in Burnham-On-Sea and we are back once again with some 'ill behaviour'; animals in the street, tractors on the pavement, smoke in the air and the most wonderful local produce for the fire in your bellies."

"It makes us insanely proud to know that so many of you have a taste for the brilliant food and drink made and grown around our lovely town and a healthy appetite for more. We hear often from stall-holders how much they enjoy the vibe here - interested shoppers, hungry punters, a great social and very supportive group of traders."

At the Fresh Ideas Demo Stage at Burnham Baptist Church in College Street, sponsored by Burnham's KDS Interiors, six popular cooking talents will each bring something they know that audiences will enjoy.

"We have children's cookery authors Kate Morris and Sally Brown cooking up flavours from around the world - which led to them to develop the CBeebies show "I Can Cook"."

James Simpson of Somerset Charcuterie will give a taster of his Charcuterie Course; while others include Matt Brooks, head chef at The Railway Inn of Sandford; Steve Fowell, SW regional winner of School Chef of the Year 2017, pictured right, of Mendip Green First School, sharing his ability to create inspiring food for just over £1 a portion. It will all be hosted by BBC Somerset's Claire Carter from 11am.

Hawksmoor Cookery School, above, will provide a hands-on workshop all day starting at 11am and then 12.30pm, 2pm and 3:30pm at Somerset Skills and Learning Centre in Princess Street for visitors to experiment with some exciting, punchy flavours and bring out the best in early summer vegetables.

"As a group, you will create a zingy peanut, lime and ginger dressing for a rice and carrot noodle salad; a Japanese influenced dressing for spiralised courgettes; and a creamy vegan chocolate mousse," said a spokesewoman. "You will then make your very own version of the nation's favourite dip, hummus."

"There will be lots of opportunity to taste, adjust, share and discuss - and all the recipes are available to take home afterwards." Suitable for adults and families with children aged 7+.

There will be plenty of entertainment at the festival too. The Ritz Social Club are hosting an Acoustic Stage in Victoria Street for the first time. Some of the regular performers from the club are stepping outside and providing some laid-back tunes for the afternoon.

Starting off at around 12 there will also be a performance by 'We Three' who are a fantastic local country trio, then for a taste of something different the 'Ritzy Glitzy Line Dancers' will perform, followed by 'Reg & Dave' with a mixture of Blues Americano.

There will be lots of seating around the festival, buskers, tractors from Smart Agri children's rides, a traditional Punch & Judy show, pictured below, (featuring Mike's Pork sausages!), a face painter, entertainers and children's play area co-ordinated by St Andrews Church. There are also giant tractors, lambs from Levels Lamb, ducks and chickens.

Celebrating and encouraging new traders is really important to the festival and this May the tea have picked two bursary winners. Homemade by Queenie & Clan are a new preserves company based in Cheddar and will be on the High Street. Harriet's Kitchen is by far the team's youngest trader to date; Harriet is aged just 7 and will be making smoothies to order in the Methodist Church.

Festival co-organiser Sarah Milner Simonds said: "It makes us insanely proud to know that so many of you have a taste for the brilliant food & drink made and grown around our lovely town and a healthy appetite for more. We hear often from stall-holders how much they enjoy the vibe here - interested shoppers, hungry punters, a great social and very supportive group of traders."



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