Representatives from various community groups organised the event for the weekend of 13th and 14th June, 2009 in the Town Square, with a specially built show kitchen arena surrounded by stalls.
On the Saturday the stalls sold food and also provided information about food, farming, the environment and ‘growing your own’. The organisations represented included the local Fairtrade group, the Women’s Farming Network, the Farmers’ Market, the Women’s Environmental Network, Sustainable Crediton (then Crediton Climate Action).
In the arena local chefs demonstrated how to cook healthy and affordable food using local ingredients from the producers represented at the Festival. Chefs included Chris Archambault from Exeter’s Hotel Barcelona, Gretchen Oldland from Woolsgrove Cookery School and Crediton’s own Steve Brannan from Il Casita, and Jim and Rosie Cairney from Cairney’s Bistro. The chefs were introduced by Judy Spiers from BBC Devon and the whole event was kindly sponsored by Ashgrove Kitchens, who provided the demonstration kitchen. The support of the Crediton Arts Centre was also key.
On Saturday evening the square turned into an open air cinema for the “The Big Night”. A film about the opening of a New York restaurant and Italian food, appropriate given Devon’s twinning with Tuscany.
For The Big Sunday Lunch, people came with their picnics or bought food from stalls in the Square and joined in a wonderful open air celebration of our food culture. The day was enlivened by the presence of three groups of visitors from Crediton’s twin towns of Avranches in France, Dokkum in the Netherlands and Fulda in Germany. All very relaxing in the glorious sunshine accompanied by high quality local entertainment.
The glorious sunshine returned, as did the crowds to enjoy the demos on Saturday and the Lunch and entertainment on Sunday.
The Festival scaled down this year to a Big Sunday Lunch on 5 June. It was the launch event for Crediton’s Summer in the Square and was superbly supported by local businesses, (Ashgrove Kitchens, The Three Little Pigs, Claremont Marquees and local councils amongst them).
The weather was kind so the Square was full of families, foodies and locals enjoying the terrific music and a great range of food.
Back to a full weekend of activities. On Saturday 16 June great ideas came out of the demonstration kitchen while great local produce was available from the surrounding stalls. The wind tried its best for the first hour and then gave up. The Primary Schools Healthy Lunch competition entries were closely scrutinised before the presentation to the winners was made (1st prize to Cheriton Bishop; 2nd to Landscore; 3rd to Newton St Cyres; look out for the recipe book of all entries coming out in 2013). In the evening the Square thrummed to music to drink local beer, cider and wine by and Barny Butterfield gave an excellent talk on taste.
On Sunday 17 June the increasingly-popular Big Sunday Lunch was back and folk brought their own picnics or made one up from the delicious food on offer. The rain stayed away for all but five minutes – for a sodden year we were blest!
The Food and Drink Festival was an opening event for the six-week Crediton Festival 2013, which created a lovely buzz round town. It was also the first year Claremont Marquees supplied the large central marquee, which was a godsend given the intermittent rain we had. Oliver’s Bakery sponsored the Great Crediton Bake-off, which was enthusiastically supported by the Scouts. Visitor numbers were up and plenty of hair was let down on the Saturday evening when the fantastic music created a ceilidh. See the archive page for full details of stallholders and cookery demonstrators.
The specially created Ashgrove kitchen made its annual appearance in the central Claremont Marquee (the lamb carcass dismantling was a particular draw). We maintained our local produce focus but there was a lovely smattering of international cuisine. The evening session of food and music had them dancing in the dark again, but slightly more slowly with those full stomachs! The community spirit for the Big Sunday Lunch was out in spades (note to committee: more tables next year!) and the children (big and small) were kept well amused throughout the weekend with face and pot painting, live chickens, bread plaiting and a string of Wacky Nation silly games.
What a success the seventh annual Crediton Food & Drink Festival was! It formed the opening weekend of the month-long Crediton Festival which was opened by the Mayor of Crediton, Frank Letch in the presence of our friends from twin towns Avranches, Fulda and Dokkum. We were also grateful for the substantial presence of our long-term sponsors Ashgrove and new sponsors Crediton Dairy.
For the first time there were stalls lining Market Street, as well as covering the Town Square, offering food and drink from local producers and with lots of opportunities for visitors to try out food on the spot. The demonstrations in the marquee were packed out with people keen to improve their culinary skills and knowledge.
On Saturday evening the Moon Jazz and Blues Band played whilst people ate, drank and enjoyed time with friends and family.
Sunday brought the Big Sunday Lunch with tables and seating across the Town Square and stalls offering food and drink to make up a fantastic lunchtime meal. Music was performed by a host of local musicians and was a great accompaniment to a long, lazy lunch. There was a relaxed, friendly community atmosphere throughout the weekend commented on by visitors and stallholders alike.
Throughout the weekend there were activities for younger visitors: meeting the Black Dog chickens, a chance to mould bread, decorate biscuits and take part in a Treasure Trail along the High Street.