For the second year running, food in all its forms will be showcased through a packed programme of events in the town centre on Saturday and Sunday.
And, as well as the chance to taste dishes from a wide range of food and drink stalls, visitors to the event on Saturday (9 May) will be able to pick up tips from a series of cookery demonstrations.
First to take to the stage at 11.30am will be Carl Baird, Head Chef at Houndgate Townhouse, who will be giving festival goers a sneak peak of his pan-fried hake with North Sea clam chowder; just one of a range of dishes on his new Summer Bistro Menu, which will launch in June.
Then, at 12.30pm Head Chef Paul Graham of Carriages Restaurant, Mercure Darlington King’s Hotel, will show food lovers how to cook a fillet of Ayrshire beef, pan fried wild mushroom cannelloni and horseradish ice cream.
At 1.30pm it will be the turn of Rockcliffe Hall’s Brasserie Head Chef Aaron Craig who will be serving up Teesdale lamb with a mini shepherd’s pie, salt baked carrots, morels, peas and wild garlic.
“I’ve chosen some real spring food to give people some unusual ideas about what to do with traditional meat and veg,” said Aaron.
“It’s different, yet pretty straightforward, too. And, of course, I’m using the best lamb possible; from just up the road, at Teesdale.”
The afternoon demonstrations will continue at 2.30pm with a light, summer salad of Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella, fresh figs and rocket with olive oil, courtesy of John Sergeant, Head Chef at Clervaux Bakery and Café.
Then, at 3.30pm Head Chef Paul Rowntree from Darlington’s newest restaurant The Keys will cook up a storm before handing over to Les Fry and his mixology team at Darlington’s award-winning Voodoo Café.
At 4.30pm they will be demonstrating how to make two cocktails – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – using a unique rum punch and ingredients foraged from the Market Hall.
Thirty of the region’s leading producers, of everything from cakes and cordials to confectionery and cheese, will be at High Row, between 10am and 5pm each day, while a variety of street food will be available at Joseph Pease Monument.
There will also be a programme of family based entertainment, with the event culminating in a repeat of last year’s highly successful Locomotion Cake Parade through the town.
The parade will recreate – in cake – the 32 carriages pulled on the Locomotion steam train’s world-first passenger railway journey in 1825 and marks the beginning of the 190th anniversary celebrations of this journey which will culminate in September 2015.
The Distinctly Delicious Darlington Festival of Food is the brainchild of business improvement district company Distinct Darlington and manager Alex Hirst said:
“We are delighted that some of the area’s best chefs are taking time out to come and share their skills and secrets with us – it promises to be a very tasty treat.”
For further information visit www.darlofoodfest.org or call Distinct Darlington on 01325 463002.