Durham County Council has launched a virtual event in the run up to Christmas to support local traders that would have usually appeared at its popular food and drink festivals in the region.
Live until 24th December, Durham Festival of Food and Drink celebrates all the excellent food producers and drinks companies that exhibit at the Bishop Auckland and Seaham events. They are profiled on the event website with some traders providing behind the scenes videos of their business to give an insight into the changes they have made and new practices that have been put in place during the pandemic in order to keep operating.
Around 250 traders participate in Bishop Auckland and Seaham Food Festivals, with more than 40,000 visitors sampling the food and drink on offer last year. The virtual event will give people beyond the region the chance to discover these tasty companies and enjoy what Durham’s thriving independent food and drink scene has to offer.
Cllr Joy Allen, the council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “These companies have shown tremendous resilience in order to keep trading during these testing times with so many events being cancelled due to the pandemic. Many have had to reimagine their businesses and evolve in order to survive. This has not only safeguarded their own business but also contributed to the local economy too.
“We are committed to continuing to support County Durham businesses through these unprecedented times. Our virtual food festival will be an opportunity for traders to reach new customers, while also supporting the region’s longer-term economic recovery by strengthening County Durham’s reputation as a culinary destination.”
With the standard of the region’s products so high, it’s no wonder that celebrity chefs will be supporting the online festival with a mix of recipes and helpful tips for local food enthusiasts to try for themselves at home. These include Great British Bake Off’s Jane Beedle and Karen Wright, and BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and ITV’s Munch Box’s Joe Hurd.
Jane Beedle, a garden designer, made the final of the ‘BBC Bake Off’ in 2016 by consistently impressing the judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. Since then Jane has become a regular on our screens on ITV’s Lorraine, John and Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen and many more. She also now runs her own cookery school in Kent.
Competing in the Great British Bake Off in 2018, Karen Wright was inspired by a local patisserie and can knock up profiteroles, Religieuse buns, tartes au citron and even foot long eclairs to rival any French bakery. Since appearing on television, Karen has been busy demonstrating at food festivals all over the country impressing the audiences not just with her bakes but also with her engaging style and sense of humour. She also holds classes, both online and in person, as part of the Bake with a Legend line-up.
As a proud Yorkshireman with Italian heritage, Joe Hurd’s interests in cooking were inspired by these influences from day one. Joe’s cooking style is unfussy, accessible and always about the flavour, and he’s passionate about sharing his knowledge of traditional Italian recipes, ingredients and cooking techniques with home cooks.
Along with recipes, advice and demos from the celebrity chefs, with many more to be announced, there are exclusive Festival offers and discounts from traders on a wide range of food and drink in the run up to Christmas, making festive shopping even easier.
Residents can also get involved by submitting their own recipes to the Community Recipe Book. This virtual resource, located on the festival website, will be a chance to share favourite family recipes and dinner party secrets that never fail to impress.
The Durham Festival of Food and Drink traders are also planning ahead for the return of the region’s 2021 event calendar and its popular live food festivals.
Find out more at www.durhamfestivaloffoodanddrink.co.uk.