Great Yarmouth Food Festival a taste sensation

Great Yarmouth Food Festival in the Market Place.September 2013.Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth Food Festival in the Market Place.September 2013.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

The Great Yarmouth food festival was such a taste sensation it could take place over three days when it returns next year.

Great Yarmouth Food Festival in the Market Place.September 2013.Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth Food Festival in the Market Place.September 2013.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

Great Yarmouth Borough Council, organisers of the recent event, said the festival in historic Market Place exceeded all expectations and has spurred them on to make 2014’s bigger, better and even more full of flavour.

Great Yarmouth Food Festival in the Market Place.September 2013.Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth Food Festival in the Market Place.September 2013.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

The festival, part of the county-wide Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, featured 25 stalls, local produce sales, live cooking demonstrations and free tastings.

Trade was so good on the day some stallholders completely sold-out – fresh bread and herring was gone within a few hours and Yarmouth ale makers Lacons had to make two trips back to the brewery to restock their stall.

Lacons account manager Jo Chater said: “We have done absolutely fantastically. We sold just about all of our presentation boxes that we had; there was only one left. And there’s been fantastic feedback from the general public.”

Copland Family Bakers, based at the Market Place and at Gorleston High Street, also sold out, with most of their specialists breads snapped up before noon.

“I had an oven-full in the morning,” said owner Richard Copland, who manned the stall.

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“I was worried, I thought I had made too much – but I could have sold double.”

Candi Robertson, of Candi’s Chutney, based at Foulsham, near Fakenham, said the level of trade in Great Yarmouth was similar to larger events, such as the North Norfolk Food Festival, at Holkham Hall.

“It has been amazing,” she said.

“I have done some big events this year and this has been on par. I came with nearly 300 jars and I have got 11 left. That’s all through sales – and all new customers.

“I’m gobsmacked. It’s been a pleasure to be here. The customers have been amazing, the weather has been fantastic.”

And an indication of the impact such a successful food festival could have in the long run, Leigh’s Fine Cheeses and Pies, based near Haverhill, in Suffolk, had such a good day they have decided to sign up for the town’s regular Wednesday market. Their presence will be the first specialist cheese-seller at Yarmouth’s market for some time.

Laura Goodman, events organiser for the council, said: “There was a lovely buzz and it goes to show that if we put different items on the market people do buy it.”

Welcoming the news of the festival’s popularity, councillor Michael Jeal, the borough council’s cabinet member for tourism and business services, which includes markets, said: “The Great Yarmouth Food Festival is a chance to taste top food and drink from local producers – and the public certainly grasped the opportunity with both hands this year.

“Over the last few days, we have been swamped with messages of thanks from traders, many of whom did a roaring trade on the day and want to come back next year.

“Due to this demand, we are looking at a three-day festival, taking in a busy Saturday. It is a fantastic showcase for the borough’s culinary offer and the Market Place.”