Fun and cookery are on the programme for this year’s Aylsham Food Festival. Organisers Slow Food Aylsham are promising everything from the traditional Gala Dinner and Big Slow Breakfast to a percussion band where everyone’s invited to join in, plus cooking demonstrations from top local chefs. The Festival is now in its 8th year and will take place from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October, which will include Aylsham’s FARMA-accredited Farmers’ Market on Saturday 5th.


Headline sponsors of the 2013 Festival are home appliance manufacturer AEG, together with local stockist J B Postle. AEG is loaning its mobile Cooking Academy vehicle for the duration of the Festival and this will be situated, courtesy of the National Trust, at Blickling Hall.  The vehicle, which provides state-of-the-art cooking demonstration facilities, will be manned by top chefs from the area, including the Festival’s Patron Steve Thorpe, head of the Hotel School at City College Norwich. A shuttle bus, courtesy of Aylsham Care Trust, will run between Aylsham and Blickling Hall throughout Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October.


Additional cooking workshops, for young children, will held in the Town Hall on the morning of Saturday 5th, these run by members of Slow Food Aylsham.


Following the toe-tapping success of street entertainment provided by Norwich Samba Band at last year’s Festival, organisers have invited percussion duo Bang On! to provide some rhythm where the public can participate. Bang On! were semi-finalists in ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and also appeared at the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012. They will be encouraging everyone to join in the fun at free workshops on Saturday 28th September at Aylsham High school and a week later in the Town Hall from 12.30pm – all instruments will be provided – and then really set the town alight at around 3.30pm with a grand finale performance in the Market Place. You don’t need to have any musical training to enjoy this unique experience, just come along and enjoy yourself!

aeg-mobile-academy2Two competitions will form part of the 2013 Aylsham Food Festival. The first, dubbed the Snail Trail, will require entrants to discover Slow Food Snails (no, not real ones!) in shop windows around the town. Entry forms will be available in Digbys sweet shop (formerly Le Bon Bon) in Red Lion Street or from the Slow Food website


Cooking comes into the second competition, The Lunchbox Challenge. Open to all ages, entrants will be asked to produce an item of food which will fit into a typical lunchbox and must include at least some fresh fruit fruit. Entry forms from Food Lovers Café in Penfold Street or from the Slow Food website.

Anyone-for-teaOther events in the Aylsham Food Festival weekend include Aylsham Country Market in the Town Hall on Friday morning and the Gala Dinner at Aylsham High School Friday evening. Saturday will see the FARMA-accredited Farmers’ Market in the Market Place until 4pm. The Market will be joined by a pop-up shop from Woodfordes Brewery while the EDP will be bringing their publicity vehicle. An evening with Norfolk-based country music band Rig-a-Jig-Jig follows and rounding off the Festival will be the traditional Big Slow Breakfast in the Town Hall on Sunday 6th. Also on Sunday, St Michael’s Church will have its Harvest Festival celebration.

There’s more about the Festival and where to obtain tickets for various events on the Slow Food Aylsham website, and you can also follow on Twitter: @AylshamFoodFest


Slow Food Aylsham is a not-for-profit membership organisation, a branch of the international Slow Food movement. In addition to AEG and J B Postle, support for the Food Festival in 2013 is coming from Broadland District Council, the National Trust, Norfolk Arts Fund and Creative Arts East.

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