From chocolate and cheese, to sausages and sundaes, the region’s finest food will be showcased at a popular family festival next month.
The third annual Distinctly Delicious Darlington – Festival of Food will return to the town centre on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May and looks set to be the biggest and best yet.
Throughout the two-day event, shoppers and visitors to the festival will be able to take their pick from more than 50 stalls at High Row and West Row, selling locally produced artisan and speciality food and drink.
Among the record number of producers, bakers, confectioners and street food vendors taking part are Darlington-based The Green Guerrilla, H Taylor & Sons butchers, Clervaux Café and Black Olive Deli.
Those coming from further afield include the Northumberland Sausage Company, The Moody Baker, Lottie McPhees Cupcakes, Weardale Cheese and Masons Yorkshire Gin.
Curry experts Spicymonkey, from Durham, are taking part for the first time and will be tempting visitors with their range of sauces from countries as far afield as Jamaica and Burma.
And this will be the third outing for Darlington chocolatier, Truly Tempting Chocolate, which has supported the event from the start and will be launching its peanut butter chocolate bars at the festival.
“I have just watched the festival get bigger and better every year,” said owner Wendy Sanderson, “and I think it’s a great way to showcase what we are doing here in Darlington.
“All our chocolates are made entirely by hand and I’m hoping for a great reaction to our peanut butter bars.”
Also new this year will be a beer bar, run by Hole in the Wall and a gin bar operated by Hash Bar & Kitchen, both based in Darlington.
The festival is the brainchild of BID Company Distinct Darlington and manager Alex Hirst said: “The event has doubled in sizein three years which is something we’re really proud of.
“The festival really does shine a spotlight on North East food and each year the variety of produce on sale just gets greater – and everyone who visits comments on the quality.
The festival will also feature demonstrations from chefs from leading North East venues, along with the return of the Distinctly Delicious Market Awards, artisan food tastings and drop-in cooking workshops.
Organisers will also build on the success of the famous crowd-pleasing centrepiece event; The Locomotion Cake Parade, which recreates the journey of Stephenson’s famous train through Darlington in cake.