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Record producer sales and huge crowds at Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Published April 22, 2018 3.43pm


Twenty-seven thousand visitors flocked to Bishop Auckland this weekend for two days of fabulous food, live music and inspiring celebrity cookery demonstrations.

BAFF 2018 chocolate workshop

Ruby Wilson, 5, enjoying a chocolate workshop

The 13th annual Bishop Auckland Food Festival boasted a line-up of top chefs and saw tens of thousands of people descend on the market town, with traders from County Durham and further afield reporting record sales. Nearly 900 people attended the celebrity cookery theatres and more than 300 people attended the array of foody workshops on offer.

Fantastic event

TV chef Phil Vickery was just one of the celebrity chefs cooking up a storm in the festival's Cookery Theatre.

"I wanted to be here and cook because it's such a nice place to come and I haven't been disappointed - what a great event," he said.

"The standard of food and the stalls, it's really very good. I am very impressed, I think it's fantastic."

Visitors got the chance to sample food from right across the world as well as products from towns and villages within the county including Weardale Cheese, Harvey's Sausages, Sweet Sally Cinnamon and Auckland Cupcake Company.

Record sales

Simon Raine, founder of Weardale Cheese, said: "We've had a fantastic weekend, great atmosphere and wonderful weather. We've also enjoyed record sales for the business and it's been great to be on home territory."

Kirstine Walton, co-owner of The Velveteen Luncheon Club which she launched with her partner in February 2017, said: "This is our first year at Bishop Auckland Food Festival and it's been really hard work but so worth it! We have had record sales and the team at the festival have been the easiest we have ever worked with. We really hope to be back next year.

"Chris Bavin, star of new BBC show Britain's Best Home Cook, gave visitors top tips on how to cook tasty, affordable meals on the festival's Market Place stage and spoke about the importance of the event for local traders.

"They need somewhere to showcase what they are doing and somewhere like this gives them that arena," he said.

"The fact that the council is behind it is great. In most areas they are cutting back and possibly not spending money on these things but they are hugely important, they are good for the community, good for the industry - they are good for everyone."

Community spirit

Shops and cafes with the town also saw increased sales during the event, including Fifteas Vintage Tearoom located in the Market Place.

"On a normal busy day we have 150 customers - this Saturday alone we had 500," said Alicia Teasdale, whose family runs the shop.

"It's been an absolutely great weekend and everyone coming in to the shop is so happy, it's been fantastic and we hope it returns again."

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of the council, said: "Bishop Auckland Food Festival has a great reputation and this year has more than lived up to it.

"The event brings vital income into our region, boosting sales for all of the traders involved as well as for the local businesses in the area and we are delighted that so many people have visited over the weekend to enjoy the food and soak up the wonderful atmosphere."

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