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Taste Cumbria is foodie festival sensation

Sunshine, delicious food and top celebrity chefs saw thousands of people flock to Cockermouth for the Taste Cumbria food festival this weekend.

Taste Cumbria chefs photo
From left, chefs Steven Doherty, Paul Rankin and Peter Sidwell

The festival – run in association with Cumbria Life and supported by Cumbria Life magazine – saw approximately 30,000 people enjoy glorious sunshine over the weekend.

Italian chef Aldo Zilli charmed the crowds during his cooking demonstrations on Sunday, which saw him make delicious dishes including fettuccine with sardines. He said: “The food up here is amazing. The vegetables, meat and fish - there is nothing you can’t find.”

Well-known Irish chef Paul Rankin, former star of BBC1 show Ready Steady Cook, had the crowds in stitches as he told jokes while cooking delights including beef and salsa verde.

Two-Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan’s pop-up restaurant at the Lakeland Livestock Centre was also packed to capacity, as he brought a taste of his award-winning L’Enclume restaurant to Cockermouth.

Brigham chef Peter Sidwell, executive chef at Peter Sidwell@Rheged and judge on ITV show Britain’s Best Bakery, presented demonstrations on Saturday. He said: “The weather is beautiful and I have walked around the stalls and it just never fails to please me. We are blessed with some wonderful ingredients in Cumbria. It’s just a great county to cook in.”

There were a variety of stalls on Main Street featuring local food producers and businesses, including the Quince and Medlar, J.B. Banks and Son Ltd, both of Cockermouth, and Lakes Distillery, near Bassenthwaite.

Several producers ran out of stock by lunchtime on Saturday and had to leave to get more.

Angela Walsh, owner of The Coffee Kitchen, on Challoner Street, said: “We have had loads of people from both outside and inside Cockermouth showing interest. The festival is great for promoting businesses and the town as well.”

Gareth Kemble, who co-owns Carvetii coffee roasters in Embleton with his wife Angharad McDonald, said: “I think what makes it so special is that it brings together local producers. The setting is perfect as well and I am so impressed with the organisation.”

There were food stalls and fairground rides on Market Place.

Jennings also had a beer festival with a wide selection of beers and ciders to choose from, as well as live music.

Victor Penrice, 74, from Whitehaven, said: “It’s been great, I am enjoying every minute of it.

“Everyone is friendly and there is plenty to see.”

Kerry Charters, 33, of Elizabeth Street, Maryport, came with her husband Chris, 30, and eight-year-old son Jack. She said: “It’s nice to see local companies here. The festival brings lots of people to the town which is great.”

Marie Whitehead, of CN Events which organised Taste Cumbria, said the festival broke even this year.

Have your say

as a wheelchair user I was very disappointed at the poor access on the pavement side of the stalls. The gap between the kerb and the stalls was too narrow for wheelchairs or pushchairs. My husband had to park me on the pavement and leave me there while he looked at these stalls.The roadside stalls were easily accessible.Next year please leave a wider gap or place the stalls against the kerb

Posted by jane surgeon on 1 October 2013 at 12:29

Had an excellent day there with my family, not sure what stalls Boskone was at but I had no more than a few minutes wait for any stall. I thought moving the hot food stalls to the market place was an excellent idea, a real nice atmosphere round there.

Posted by dave the rave on 1 October 2013 at 08:57

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