Newcomers and established names alike will be doing their bit to satisfy the hungry hordes from among the regular 25,000 visitors to the annual Northumberland County Show which returns on Bank Holiday Monday.
Up to 60 of the region’s best food and drink producers will come together in The Journal’s Taste of the County marquee on May 26 which is returning to the event for the sixth consecutive year, bringing with it a clutch of big name chefs too.
Among the stallholders taking up space in the marquee on the site at Bywell Hall near Stocksfield will be the nearby Vallum Farm and Vallum Bakery with David Kennedy, former North East chef of the year; Allendale Brewery; the Northumberland Cheese Company, a 30-year-old Blagdon Estate-based diary which hand-makes 16 farmhouse cheeses using locally-sourced milk; and Northumberland Sausage Company which was set up by Claire Watson-Laney.
They and many more will on hand on the day so that foodies can try and buy and there will be everything from artisan breads and preserves to locally-reared meat and home-grown vegetables.
And for those who would like a few tips on what to do with their top-notch ingredients, chefs will cooking dishes in a demonstration kitchen being set up in the marquee for the occasion with main slots taken up by local talents who have become well-known faces from TV: Dave Coulson, a former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist who runs the Peace and Loaf restaurant in Newcastle and Gareth Kyle, a MasterChef Live winner.
Also up in the afternoon will be a team of chefs from The Duke of Wellington Inn at Newton, near Corbridge, which for the second consecutive year is teaming up with Sinton’s LLP to sponsor Taste of the County.
They’ll be showing off the kind of cooking skills that have sealed the popular “Wellie’s” reputation for award-winning food.
As regulars will know, it’s all about British cuisine at its best, with its a la carte menu cutting the culinary mustard plus, in keeping with the inn’s emphasis on informality, a menu of traditional favourites including such hearty staples as fish and chips and beef steak burger.
The Duke of Wellington team will filling the main demonstration slot in the marquee at 1.30pm on the big day.
Co-sponsor Sintons, meanwhile, will have one of its own experts on hand.
Tom Wills, who has been awarded Fellowship of the Agricultural Law Association and is a rural and land specialist, is well placed to have a say at what is one of the main events of the agricultural year.
He’ll be at Taste of the County to speak informally to anyone needing legal advice in this area.
He said: “As well as being a legal specialist in farming and rural matters, Sintons is a passionate supporter of farming communities and a champion of rurally-based businesses.
“We represent many of the producers who are part of the county show and Taste of the County and are very pleased to be able to support events like these which highlight and showcase exactly what is great about the North East’s food and drink sector.”
It promises a great family day out and show secretary Gaynor Scandle said: “For 2014 we have expanded the show-ground to give more space to competitors, installed a new demonstration area called The Castle Arena and we’re offering a massive 90 acres of parking.
“We have some fantastic new attractions, including a Gun Dog scurry which is open to everyone, Tug of War teams and The Strongest Man Competition, plus the usual favourites for all the family.”
These include trade stalls, livestock, horse jumping, a dog show, birds of prey and motorcycle stunts.
The show will open at 9am and run until 6pm with tickets available in advance at £10 adult, £2.50 child (ages four to 16) and £25 for a family ticket) from www.northcountyshow.co.uk
For more information on Taste of the County or to book a trade stand, contact Lesley Hampson on 0191 201 6435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .