Gallery: Ludlow Food Festival

20,000 people flocked to the hugely popular Ludlow Food Festival this weekend.

Visitors from across the UK drank in the atmosphere on three sun-soaked days at Ludlow Castle.

Festival boss Phil Maile said: "It's been a fantastic year and we'd like to say a big thank you to all of the people who made our 20th anniversary an occasion to remember.

"We are a not-for-profit organisation and we receive great support from the town, from traders and from the general public. It's been a remarkable achievement to develop the festival over the past two decades and we're looking forward to many more successful years."

The event featured a top line-up of chefs, a series of workshops and 180 artisan exhibitors.

There were a series of demonstrations and among the most popular were ones by Tim Anderson and Jason Hodnett, who rose to fame on TV.

Tim Anderson became BBC TV MasterChef's youngest ever winner at the age of 26. 

Meanwhile, Great British Menu star Jason Hodnett, who is based at The Raven, in Much Wenlock, also wowed crowds, just months after impressing an audience of millions on TV.

About 300 people travelled to the festival on board a train pulled by the Oliver Cromwell locomotive - the very last steam engine to run on British Rail-managed tracks. The train, which set off from Bristol and was carrying passengers from as far afield as London. pulled into Ludlow station on Saturday afternoon to enable visitors to join the crowds at the festival.

The festival focused on the best producers from Ludlow and the Marches, giving them a chance to meet new customers.

ITV This Morning chef Marcus Bean was also in attendance.

See also: Interview: Marcus Bean

He said: “Ludlow Food Festival is a really important event for the UK’s artisan food scene. It features a selection of brilliant chefs and producers and gives people the chance to get up close and personal with people they see on TV or with producers whose food they buy from local delis or farm shops.

“It’s been going for 20 years now and it really has blazed a trail.”

The festival also featured a series of taste workshops, which were organised by Slow Food Ludlow.

The award-winning Café Mor, from Pembrokeshire, whose motto is 'Love Food, Love Beach, Love Sea, Love Life' shared special seaside dishes. Their chefs took workshop participants on an edible journey from the splash zone at high tide by serving dishes ranging from sea beet and feta wraps to steamed mussels on bladder wrack.

See also: Interview: Jay Rayner

Simon King, of Ludlow's French Pantry, teamed up with Jerome Harlington, of Trailblazing Wines, to explore different ways of using duck in French farmhouse cooking. The dishes were be matched with wines from some of the smaller Bordeaux vineyards.

Danielle Hadley told visitors how her passion for coffee began when she worked as a barista for Rick Stein. A finalist and a judge in the national UK Barista Championships, she explained how she had experienced every aspect of the coffee industry before leading people through a masterclass in coffee preparation.

Meanwhile, restaurateur and chef Bill Sewell, of All Saints, in Hereford, shone the spotlight on great bacon from Tudge Farm. The family farm, just outside Ludlow has been rearing Berkshire pigs for over 10 years. Their bacon is made using a traditional method of dry curing and then smoked on site over oak shavings.

The Slow Food Forgotten Foods Project also helped to identify foods which are in danger of disappearing. Experts spoke about Pedigree Welsh Pork, Shropshire Prune damsons and Herefordshire perry.

Comedy actor John Challis, best known as Boycie, from Only Fools and Horses, was also among the crowds. He said: "I've been coming to Ludlow Food Festival for a few years now and it's a real highlight of the year.

"The people come to have a great time and I enjoy mixing with the crowds and signing autographs for them. I'll be performing in Shropshire again soon, at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on November 16, and I can't wait."

Event operations director Beth Heath said she was delighted with the festival and said it’s 20th anniversary couldn’t have gone any better.

She said: “We had great weather, great crowds, superb exhibitors and wonderful chefs and demonstrators.

“We’re lucky that Ludlow has been at the forefront of great local food for the past two decades and we’ve worked really, really hard this year to make sure our 20th anniversary has been a weekend to remember.

“It’s been a great weekend and the planning will start soon for next year’s 21st.”

Add your comment