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20,000 descend on Taste Cumbria food festival at Cockermouth

Food lovers from all over the country flocked to Cockermouth for this year’s Taste Cumbria festival.

Taste Cumbria photo
Amber Smith, right, tries a sausage prepared by Zoe McClean

After a chilly but dry Saturday, torrential rain yesterday morning failed to dampen the spirits of the festival goers as more than 20,000 people enjoyed demonstrations, workshops and food stalls which celebrated the very best of Cumbrian produce.

James Martin, presenter of BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, did cooking demonstrations to a packed audience on Sunday.

He had the crowds in stitches as he told jokes while cooking delicious food including lamb and plaice.

Celebrity chef Simon Rimmer was also popular on Saturday and Simon Rogan’s pop-up restaurant at Dovenby Hall was a big hit.

A jazz night with food writer Jay Rayner at the Trout Hotel Marquee sold all of its 130 tickets.

Nick Lawler, owner of Lorton’s Winder Hall, did cooking demonstrations with children from schools around Cockermouth on the Saturday and on Sunday he cooked meals using ingredients he found from the various stalls.

He said: “I am just loving it. I love the fact it’s a real community event. I like it when we do things that bring people together.”

There were a variety of stalls on the Main Street featuring local food producers and businesses including Shills of Station Street, J.B. Banks and Son Ltd, both of Cockermouth, and Shaw Meats of Wigton.

Colin Le Voi, of the Quince and Medlar on Castlegate, had to go back to the restaurant on Saturday afternoon to cook more produce as they were running out at their stall.

Louisa Le Voi, his wife, said: “It’s been really successful.

“We have sold a lot more than we expected.”

Gareth Kemble, who co-owns Carvetii coffee roasters in Embleton with his wife Angharad McDonald, did a coffee demonstration at the Riversmeet Community Resource Centre on Saturday.

They only just started their wholesale business in November and their stall on the Main Street was constantly busy throughout the weekend.

Gareth said: “The whole thing is brilliant. People are so interested.

“It’s amazing. I just love people stopping and chatting away.”

There was also food stalls and fairground rides at the Bitterbeck car park and demonstrations and tastings at the Kirkgate Centre.

Jennings also had a beer festival with a wide selection of beers, ciders and perries to choose from, as well as music from local musicians including Cockermouth’s Sid Wright.

Margaret Davidson, 62, of Sycamore Road, Maryport, said: “It’s excellent. I went last year and I think there is more variety this year.”

James Cassidy, 64, of Eskdale Crescent, Workington, said: “It’s pretty good. It’s interesting to see how many stalls are here and what ingredients are in Cumbria.”

Joanne Conners, 44, of Culgarth Avenue, Cockermouth, said: “It’s a shame about the weather but the atmosphere is nice but it’s always nice.

“Cockermouth always does get a good reception even with the rain.

“Folk always turn up in Cockermouth.”

More photos in today's News & Star

Have your say

@Melissa Harrington
Have you aired your opinion and constructive suggestions to the organisers?

Posted by Bijou on 4 October 2012 at 23:19

Don't get me wrong I loved the food festival I love the od the businesses were great n prices I found reasonable, but I'm sorry it's not right that people come to it that are rude to local people isn't right. I saw a poor man on crutches on his own n people were knocking into him, pushing past, not letting him through n he was very unsteady on his feet and he looked rather saddened by it all. Nothing against the food festival itself I'm meaning some visitors

Posted by mum on 4 October 2012 at 07:39

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