Summer's here and it’s not just the vegetable patch that’s full to bursting with delicious and seasonal foods to feast on.
Away from the garden there’s plenty of other fresh produce to tempt the taste buds.
Food and drink festivals have really taken off in the region and new events are springing up all the time. The period between July and early September is a particularly busy time, with this summer’s headline events offering everything from banquets to the chance to drink your way around the region, stalls stacked high with local produce, farming displays, community collaborations, foodie films and celebrity chef demonstrations.
So make space in your diary and read on for Taste’s guide to summer 2013’s best comestible celebrations:
Cumberland Arms Summer Beer Festival
James Place Street
The Cumberland Arms’ biggest beer festival to date with over 100 bottled, keg, cask and real ciders on offer at the pub with possibly the best view in Newcastle back up the River Tyne towards the Millennium Bridge.
A family fun day is planned for Saturday, there will be music on the terrace, a barbecue on Sunday and the wacky and wonderful Riley’s Fish Shack will be there all weekend.
See their website at www.cumberlandarms.co.uk
Brocksbushes Summer Fair
10.30am-5pm both days
Brocksbushes has developed over the last 25 years from just one acre growing soft fruit and a farm shop open for a couple of months every summer, to a thriving rural retail centre selling a huge array of local produce, a tea room and over 40 acres devoted to pick your own from the middle of June to the end of October.
There’s no charge to attend the fair and visitors are promised the chance to pick strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and black and redcurrants fresh from the fields, children’s activities, performances from both the Prudhoe Community Band and The Haydon Bridge Calypso Steel Band on Saturday and Irish dancing on Sunday. There will also be the chance to taste and buy a delicious range of foods and gifts from the shop. See www.brocksbushes.co.uk
Newcastle Food Festival
This week-long event will have a true international flavour, with traders from around the world descending on Newcastle to bring an array of produce typical of their region. Expect everything from exotic meats such as impala and crocodile to tasty Spanish paella, rich flavoured coffees, German specialities, cheeses, jams, chutneys and even a rare breed hog roast. See www.marketplaceeurope.co.uk
County Durham Food Fair
Durham Market Place
The fair will be the climax of the week-long Dine in Durham festival of food.
This unique event will give everyone from cooks and diners to local restaurants and cafes in Durham access to the diverse range of high-quality producers whose products are available all year round in the county.
July 20-August 31
Lindisfarne Castle Summer Supperclub, Holy Island
5pm-10pm, except August 31 from 6pm
Pop-up feast host Anna Hedworth is joining forces with the National Trust to take her popular Supperclubs (which have been held in locations as varied as wine shops and a shipping container) on tour to Lindisfarne Castle and The Farne Islands.
Running on four dates between July 20 and August 31, the price of ï¿½99 per person includes private access to the wildlife-rich Farne Islands and historic Lindsifarne Castle, as well as tours, talks and the chance to wine and dine while taking in the spectacular view back over the waters to Bamburgh and the beautiful north Northumberland beaches.
A once in a lifetime dining experience in totally unique locations, the sharing menus will include an array of locally-sourced seafood, Northumbrian lamb, seasonal vegetables and sea-inspired puddings.
Taste of Teesdale Festival
Organised by Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market and held against the picturesque backdrop of Raby Castle, this one-day festival aims to celebrate everything that’s good about local food.
It will bring together a plethora of artisan food and drink producers from across the region selling everything from bangers and bread to pickles and pies. Chefs will prepare mouth-watering dishes and there will also be farming displays and children’s activities.
Entry to the park, gardens and food festival costs £6 per car.
Battlesteads Beer Festival
Friday 4pm-11pm; Saturday 12pm-11pm; Sunday 12pm until late
There will be 19 beers altogether – a mix of local breweries and some classics – at this popular award-winning pub, hotel and restaurant near Hexham.
It’s set to be a lively event with music from The Happycats on the Friday night and on the Saturday The Katy Freeway and Little Stevie and The Business, with food being served throughout the weekend.
Battlesteads has also worked with the Northumberland Sausage Company to produce a new range of bangers, among them The Raging Norris, which as the name suggests is a sizzler in more ways than one!
Tickets from 01434 230209 or visit www.battlesteadsbeerfestival.co.uk
Saltburn Food Festival
Michelin-starred chef Kenny Atkinson will be just one of the chefs cooking up a storm in a series of culinary demonstrations at this seaside town’s first food festival.
The one-day event being held in the centre of the town, will feature a bigger than usual Saltburn Farmers’ Market, live music, sausage-making with Gosnays Butchers, children’s cookery area, farmyard petting zoo and cookery workshops.
It is hoped that between 15,000 and 20,000 people will be attracted by the smorgasbord of top-quality local foods on offer.
For more information check out the Saltburn Farmers’ Market Facebook page and also Twitter @saltyfarmmarket
Carlisle International Market
Carlisle will take on an international flavour as stallholders from Europe and beyond set out their stalls in the city centre for this free to attend four-day market.
You’ll find everything from specialist meats to beers from Poland and Germany and freshly baked pastries and cakes.
August 24-September 8
various locations across the area
The ever-popular Eat! NewcastleGateshead food and drink festival returns for another 16 days of innovative and eclectic events in a new late summer slot. Now celebrating its seventh year, Eat! champions local food producers, restaurants and culinary talent from across the North East through a programme of events that includes street food markets, masterclasses, community collaborations (one of this year’s highlights will be the building of a giant edible cake map of Newcastle and Gateshead), fringe happenings and more. See www.newcastlegateshead.com/eat-festival for information.
Stockton Summer Show and Food Festival
Preston Hall Museum and Park
Stockton on Tees
11am-5pm both days
This popular event marking the end of the school summer holidays will this year feature a food festival for the first time, with local producers providing the best home-grown goods.
Local celebrity chefs will be creating tasty meals and sharing tips of the trade in the demonstration area, and the World Parmo Championship will also be making a return, with restaurants battling it out to win the coveted title.
Entry £4 adults, £2 children. See More information at www.events.stockton.gov.uk
Celebrating all aspects of farming and rural life with food, livestock classes and displays, the Glendale Show set against the spectacular backdrop of the Cheviots, is a great day out for all the family.
This year (its 121st outing) there will be more than 200 trade stands, a speciality food marquee, industrial countryside and craft sections, equine and donkey competitions and a main arena programme.
August 31-September 1
North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival
Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-5pm
Organised by the people behind the popular North East Chilli Festival – Mark and Shelley Deakin of the Hot Stuff Chilli Company – this free to attend food festival will showcase more than 100 artisan producers from across the North, Yorkshire and Scotland.
Among the names already booked are More? Artisan Bakery, Swallow Fish from Seahouses, Mr Vikki’s chutneys and sauces, Wiga Wagaa Chillies, The Durham Brewery and Papa Ganoush street food.
Entertainment, cooking demos and a bar are also planned for this newest addition to the region’s foodie calendar.
Berwick Food Festival
10am-5pm both days
Now on its sixth outing, this year’s festival organised by Berwick’s Slow Food group is set to be bigger and better than ever.
The Beer Festival marquee on the green opposite the town’s Georgian barracks will offer a huge range of local ales and a chance to explore Berwick’s malting history, while the new Street Food Street promises to give visitors an even wider choice of delicious dishes to sample on the spot.
It’s a chance for people of all ages to find out more about the area’s thriving local food scene with a producers’ market, cookery demos, an animal farm, and foodie films also planned.
Adults £2, children under 12 free. Tickets include free admission to all the Barracks attractions and museums.