The Dartmouth Food Festival first took place in 2002 in Dartmouth's Market Square. There were only a handful of stalls but a huge amount of enthusiasm from local restaurants, hotels and producers. Over the last 10 years, it's developed into a major food event or as The Daily Telegraph put it (February 2011), a 'heady mix of celebrity chefs, parties, food markets, tasting shacks and demonstrations'.
In 2010, we were lucky enough to retain Mitch Tonks as our Festival Advocate and he in turn encouraged his celebrity friends (Mark Hix, Valentine Warner and Tom Parker-Bowles) to not only turn up but also do a range of demos. We also saw local heroes like Jane Baxter (Riverford Organics) and Holly Jones (Manna from Devon) cooking alongside wine experts Fiona Beckett (The Guardian) and award-winning Tim McLaughlin-Green from Sommeliers Choice.
Our real aim is to showcase the best that the South West has to offer - from Severn & Wye Smokery (our Best in Show 2011) through to Heron Valley fruit juices, Well Hung meat and Bigbury Bay Oysters. We're also celebrating the quality of our award-winning restaurants (The Seahorse, Restaurant Angelique, Ode in Shaldon and the Millbrook Inn, South Pool to name but a few) and their amazing chefs. It's probably true to say that South Devon has the most award winning chefs per square foot than any other part of the country (or is that just us being biased?!).
Working with leading accommodation agencies (Coast & Country Cottages and Blue Chip Holidays) and award winning hotels (Royal Castle Hotel, Browns and the Dart Marina), we're also keen to promote the quality of our local hotels, B&Bs and self-catering cottages. If you haven't booked your stay yet, our advice is to check out availability now as this year's festival coincides with the start of Half-Term week in many places.
Enjoy the 2012 festival!