If you enjoy good local food and like to experience how it’s cooked and served, Aylsham is the place to be during the first weekend in October. The market town’s third annual Food Festival, presented by Slow Food Aylsham, will start on Friday 3rd and continue through to Sunday 5th with a variety of events for food lovers, young and old.
Aylsham’s award-winning High School will host a sumptuous opening dinner on the Friday evening with a menu devised, prepared and served by students. The dinner has been dubbed 50 Years of Fabulous Food, reflecting the school’s foundation in 1958. The dinner is open to all, with tickets at just £30 per person, to include wine, while entertainment will be supplied by former pupil Barry Lee and local group, also comprising former pupils, Attention to Detail.
Saturday kicks off with Aylsham’s bi-monthly FARMA-accredited Farmers’ Market in the town square, while young children (5 – 11 year-olds) will be introduced to the joys of cooking at two Workshops in John of Gaunt Primary School. Tickets for the Workshops, costing just £2 and likely to be in great demand, are available via Aylsham Fun Barns. Meanwhile, adults and children can learn tricks of the trade at a drop-in Cooking Theatre in the Town Hall. Top local chefs will be demonstrating their skills and preparing their favourite dishes in a series of free presentations running from 10am to 3pm – there’s no need to book. Local pig breeder, John Kenny, will also be on hand to show how he came to win ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish award in 2007.
Saturday will round off at Aylsham Fun Barns with a Barn Dance in aid of Slow Food Aylsham and featuring the live band, Bric-a-Brac. Tickets, at £4 or £14 for a family of four, available from the Fun Barns.
The Slow Food Big Breakfast, now something of a legend in Aylsham, is the culmination of a weekend of food and will be held on Sunday morning in the Town Hall. A traditional English breakfast is offered – although there is also a vegetarian alternative – at a cost of £4 per person (£14 for a family of four) and tickets will be available from the Fun Barns or at the Slow Food stall in the Town Square every Saturday morning during September.
The Aylsham Food Festival is run entirely by volunteers, mainly from Slow Food Aylsham, and any money made is ploughed back into the following year’s event. It’s aim is to celebrate the wonderful diversity of excellent produce the area has to offer, plus the creativity that goes into preparing it.
Tickets for all events (except the Cooking Theatre where there’s no need to book) are available from the Slow Food Stall in Aylsham town square every Saturday in September or the Fun Barns (01263 734108).