Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 14.17.56Foodies will get the chance to sample some of the newest flavours and products in the region this weekend. (May 14 and 15)

One of the biggest events in the culinary calendar, Distinct Darlington’s Distinctly Delicious Darlington Festival of Food, returns to the town on Saturday and Sunday.

And, along with live music, competitions and more than 50 stalls, at High Row and West Row, selling locally produced food, visitors will enjoy two days, of tastings, demonstrations and giveaways.

Among the gourmet goodies on offer will be North Chocolates new, Gardener’s Hour range of chocolates, with flavours including milk geranium and lavender, 70 per cent dark rosemary and lemon sea salt and beetroot and raspberry.

The company, voted Artisan Business of the Year in 2015, will be handing out samples and giving visitors the chance to win a floral three bar box of their Gardener’s Hour chocolates.

Riverford Organics will be offering tastings of their new, tomato, bean and chorizo soup and holding a ‘guess the vegetable’ competition. They will also be offering a free spring and summer cookbook to new customers who sign up for delivery of their award-winning, organic vegetable boxes.

Stateside Treat Emporium will be inviting food lovers to guess the flavour combination on a range of their chocolate bars, while Café Nobia will be offering free tasters of their curried goat dish.

Bella Italia will ask ice cream fans to guess the flavour and will be holding a masterclass for decorating the best gelato cup, while Leaside Cheese will be holding blind tastings throughout the event.

Some of the region’s finest chefs will also be sharing their skills over the course of the weekend, at the town centre’s Pease Monument, starting on Saturday with Steven Chesnutt, from The Crown at Mickleton.

At 11am he will be demonstrating how to make a salad of smoked Teesdale trout with asparagus and a citrus and horseradish dressing and, at 12.30pm, seared fillet of stone bass, with charred spring onions, new potatoes, pickled radish and salsa verde.

Chefs from Darlington’s popular The Keys restaurant will take over the demo kitchen at 1.15pm and then Kendra Fry, of Voodoo Café, will reveal the secrets of her world class chilli at 2pm in the run up to the festival’s chilli eating contest at 2.30pm.

Master mixologist Johnathan Cairns, of Hotel Mercure Darlington, will be giving cocktail masterclasses on Saturday, at noon, 3.30pm and 4.15pm and, on Sunday, at noon and 2.30pm.

Also on Sunday, Aaron Craig, brasserie head chef at Rockliffe Hall Hotel, will return to the stage at 3.30pm, for the third year running, to demonstrate some of his favourite dishes.

Finally, there will be a giveaway of Ringtons tea and cake for everyone following the annual Locomotion Cake Parade, which brings the festival to a close at 2.30pm on Sunday.

Places are still available for the chilli eating contest. To book a place, or for more information, visit or contact Simon Preston at