If your recollection of all that Easter overindulgence becomes a bit hazy by the time May rolls around, then the Christchurch Food and Wine Festival is always a great excuse to jog your memory! This lavish annual event celebrates good food and drink in a carnival atmosphere which takes hold of the town from the high street, into Saxon Square and into the Quay.
2021’s Festival Market and Festival Village over the weekend of the 1st to 3rd of May will take place, as always amidst Christchurch’s most beautiful backdrops – the colourful high street and the picturesque riverside park – as the setting for an abundance of food stalls, exhibitions and events.
Now in its 19th year, the Festival certainly doesn’t rest on its laurels. The street market stretches the length of the high street selling food, ingredients, cakes, wines, liqueurs and more. In 2017 Saxon Square staged the Festival’s very first barbecue event by Broil, who demonstrated the art of outdoor fire while encouraging visitors to work on their grilling skills.
The Festival Village occupies the whole of Christchurch Quay and is home to the Lovett Demonstration Theatre, where celebrity chefs including Masterchef winner and Lorraine resident chef Dean Edwards, TV chef and festival patron Lesley Waters and 2016 Apprentice winner Alana Spencer demonstrated their culinary skills in 2017. The event line-up for 2021 is yet to be announced. The Village also hosts a local beer festival, kids’ kitchen and lots more stalls to keep you entertained and full!
Something for afters
While most of the festival is completely free, guests can make it into even more of an occasion with tickets to the evening entertainment programme. In 2017 there was a Perfect Hoedown Throwdown on Friday evening, with entertainment from Celidh band Black Sheep accompanied by great food, of course. And on Saturday evening Dean Edwards demonstrated some of his signature dishes before the revellers settled down to a supper and entertainment programme.
You won’t leave the weekend hungry for more as the Christchurch Food Festival is actually part of a bigger celebration taking place in eateries all across the town from 1 to 21 May, offering plenty more events, food and drink deals and entertainment to whet your appetite.