Andrew Kay shares the highlights of The Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival
In 2011 the Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival won a much coveted Sussex Business Award. It came after the long haul of staging an ever growing event, year on year, often with sparse funding but always with the massive support of the public.
For the directors and the committee the award came just at the right time, helping to secure the future and cementing its place in the top ten food festivals in the world, as listed by The New York Post. Such acclaim has taken the festival on to the next level and helped secure a brilliant future.
This September sees ten days of food and drink festivities to tempt every palate so here are my highlights from this autumn’s festival.
Make Your Case
It all begins with a bang, with the welcome return of the hugely popular Make Your Case. Hosted by myself and wine guru Henry Butler, we’ve invited top wine merchants, growers and Brighton bars to join us on stage to present their chosen wine whilst you sample and score it out of ten. We’re blind tasting so you won’t know what the wine is – it might be from Sussex, or from Chile, cost £30 a bottle, or under a fiver. At the end we’ll tally up the scores and see which wine has won the public vote, and one lucky guest will win a case featuring all the wines we’ve sampled and enjoyed.
Friday 7 September 2012, 7.30pm – 10pm, Latest 7 readers: receive a 20 per cent discount when you book online and enter the promo code ‘Latest’
Children’s Food Festival
Sponsored by PHS Wastetech
The Children’s Food Festival once again features free workshops and activities which encourage children to have fun with their food, explore new tastes and smells, and even learn some new recipes. Based in the gardens of the Brighthelm Centre, this September we’ve got two main activity areas, the first exploring ‘Composting Magic’ with our friends from PHS Wastetech, and the other expanding on our hugely popular Food Bravery activity with the team from Wagamama on North Road. With lots of other hands-on things to do for budding foodies, plus a host of exciting free ticketed workshops, this is an unmissable family day out.
Saturday 8 – Sunday 9 September 2012, 10am – 5pm, Supported by Brighthelm, Wagamama and www.childfriendlybrighton.co.uk. Brighthelm Gardens, Queens Road/North Road, Brighton. All workshops are free – book online
Big Sussex Market
Sponsored by The Montefiore Hospital
The festival’s anchor event, and the largest free foodie event in the south of England, with an attendance of over 57,000 people during the Spring Harvest earlier this year. With quality, local produce firmly at its heart, the Big Sussex Market features over 80 stalls of growers, producers and restaurants.
This September also sees a dedicated wine bar hosted by the team from Hotel du Vin on New Road showcasing the world-class wine grown on our own doorstep, and the University of Brighton will be presenting their international Hot Pot initiative. This is the ultimate event for any foodie!
Saturday 8 – Sunday 9 September 2012, 10am – 6pm
New Road, Jubilee Street, Jubilee Square, free entry
Sussex Wine Gala Dinner
Supporting Rockinghorse children’s charity
Enjoy the very best of Sussex at the festival’s charity gala dinner hosted in the Dome Room at Hotel du Vin. Head chef Rob Carr will be creating a meal using only the best local ingredients from the two counties, finishing with a Sussex cheese platter courtesy of La Cave a Fromage on Western Road.
Each course will be accompanied by a glass of Sussex wine contributed by Sussex’s finest – and award-winning – vineyards including Ridgeview Wine Estate, Bolney Estate and Stopham Estate. Representatives will be on-hand to introduce their wines and answer any questions.
The festival has been supporting Rockinghorse Children’s Charity throughout 2012 and the profit from every ticket will be donated.
This event is supported by Hotel du Vin, La Cave a Fromage, Stopham Estate, Bolney Estate and Ridgeview Estate.
Thursday 13 September 2012, Dome Room, Hotel du Vin, Ship Street, Brighton, 7.30pm, advance tickets £75 including aperitif, four courses and wines available from Hotel du Vin reception or call 01273 718588.
International Chef Exchange
For our second ICEx we are delighted to be welcoming Lyon’s finest – Yves Rivoiron of Cafés des Fédérations and Jean Louis Gelin of La Meuniere who will join forces to host a fabulous Chef Exchange dinner at L’Eglise in Hove. Both members of the esteemed L’Association de Défense des Bouchons Lyonnais, their focus is on the pleasures of traditional Lyonnaise cuisine and great hospitality. Our first ICEx at The Restaurant at Drakes was an instant sell-out success so booking is essential.
Advance tickets £39 including five courses and a welcome glass of kir (wines are available to buy by the glass or bottle). For more information and tickets please call L’Eglise on 01273 220868 or visit www.legliserestaurant.co.uk
Sussex & The World Market
Sponsored by Ritter Courivaud. Featuring the Live Food Show sponsored by Latest 7 & Wine Masterclasses
The festival’s closing weekend is a huge celebration of Sussex and international food and drink – last year saw 37,000 people enjoy a glorious two days of deliciousness. Whether you’re picking up goodies to take home, or grazing at one of the many hot food stalls, you’ll be able to taste the cuisines of France to Thailand via Germany, Japan and India.
This year sees the Live Food Show, which I will present, with two days of cookery demonstrations by local chefs as well as a host of other fun food activities including Tutored Wine Masterclasses, The Big Brighton Bite Off Produce Awards, The Wobblegate Wobblympics (seeing will be believing), and Sussex Cheese Bowling. Saturday 15 – Sunday 16 September 2012, 10am – 6pm, Hove Lawns
Brighton Mix Off cocktail competition finals
Take a journey under the sea with our ‘La Mer’ themed finals of the Brighton Mix Off Cocktail Competition, presented by Mixology Group and Kraken Spiced Rum in association with Latest TV, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, seven-year-old Havana Club and Tuaca! We’re taking over the Sea Life Brighton aquarium for one night only for a head-to-head shake off featuring our final mixologists from Brighton’s top bars.
Saturday 15 September 2012, 7pm – 10pm, Sea Life Brighton, Madeira Drive, Brighton. Latest 7 readers: receive a 20 per cent discount when you book online and enter the promo code ‘Latest’. For more info, tickets and events go to www.brightonfoodfestival.com