Food and drink lovers will be in their element after returning from a festival filled with goodies after a forced break.
The Stone Food and Drink Festival could not take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the three-day festival, held in Westbridge Park, kicked off today.
And the organizers promise a wide range of delicious food, drinks as well as live cooking demonstrations, lectures and tastings.
There are plenty of stalls to browse in the Gourmet Food Marquee with food and drink exhibitors from near and far. Visitors can purchase cheese, condiments, pastries, sausages, sweet treats, pastries, exotic ingredients, sauces and many sweet treats as well as a handful of kitchen and household items.
And all those who are still hungry afterwards can find a multitude of street food stalls offering flavors from around the world. In addition, there is a packed beer garden while main sponsor Joule’s Brewery also has a ‘pop-up pub’ to celebrate the launch of its new Crown Wharf brewery in Stone.
On the entertainment side, there is live music on stage, a program of lectures and tastings as well as workshops for visitors. There is also a lot of family fun with the Panic Family Circus marquee, fairground rides and milkshake making and other nifty activities courtesy of Oulton First School PTFA volunteers.
The show kitchen will see no less than thirteen talented chefs with Staffordshire ties take the stage. Among this year’s lineup are Stuart Collins of Docket No.33 in Whitchurch – who qualified for this year’s Great British Menu final, and Rosanna Moseley, born and raised in Stone, who has become a household name. during the 2016 edition of Masterchef: The Professionals and now runs the kitchen of The Oyster Club in Birmingham. They are joined by Thom Bateman of The Flintlock, Cheddleton, who is also executive chef and content creator for Jack Whitehall’s culinary page.
Traders are delighted to be back.
James Billington, manager of Joule Bar at Red Lion in Market Drayton, said: “It’s nice to be back in town with the new pub up the street, nice to have the locals again who drink our beers.
âWe have four beers on tap, the Premium Green Monkey, the Buffalo IPA Buffalo, and we’ve recreated an original beer that’s a great session beer.
“We also have Kolkata, our seasonal offering for which we donate for every pint sold to the Crown Wharf Theater to get them up and running sooner.”
Stone artist Emma Joustra said: “It’s great to be back after the pandemic and fabulous to see so many people here
âWe have been busy working on new designs and product lines during the lockdown.
âI am delighted to be here for the opportunity to show them and we just hope that Stone Food and Drink will be a resounding success this year. “
Sophie Hardman, Owner of Stone Little Seeds Restaurant, said: âIt’s great to be back, I think it will be a lot busier this time around because people missed it.
âThis is our third year and we’re showing off too, it’s nice to see regular faces and Stone come together.
âIt’s like a double kick to get our name out there and people decide to come back to Stone for a meal.
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“We have a signature dish, the Buttermilk Chicken, which is doing very well in the restaurant and here – we normally end up going back to the restaurant for more supplies.”
The action isn’t limited to Westbridge Park, with plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants in and around the city getting involved as well. Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays, families can stroll through the Farmers’ Market which takes place on the High Street and offers the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of Staffordshire fork farm produce.
Entrance to Westbridge Park costs Â£ 10 per person at the gate or Â£ 5 after 5 p.m. on Fridays, while accompanied under-16s are free. The festival runs until 7 p.m. on Friday, with a final admission one hour before closing. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, a park-and-ride service is provided by ABB, Stonefield Works on Oulton Road, at Â£ 3 per person round trip. On Friday the last bus is at 6.30 p.m. while on Saturday and Sunday the first bus is at 9 a.m. and the last is at 5.30 p.m.
For more details, visit www.stonefooddrink.org.uk.
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