Families and food lovers turned out in record numbers for a festival celebrating the region’s finest culinary creations.
More than 55,000 visitors headed to the town centre to celebrate the third annual Distinctly Delicious Darlington Festival of Food this month (14 and 15 May) for two days of live music, competitions and stalls selling everything from artisan beer and bread to chocolate and chillies.
Around 50 local food producers showcased their wares with nine taking home prizes at the festival’s Best Taste Awards, including Northumberland Bakehouse, for its roasted and salted almonds and North Chocolates, for its dark lemon and lemon sea salt chocolate.
Wiga Wagaa Chilli’s garlic and okra pickle won the judges over, as did Weardale Cheese’s blue cheese, Calder’s Kitchen’s chillillili and The Angels Share Bakery’s raspberry ripple amaretti biscuits.
The judging panel also raised a glass to Rocket Town Brew Co’s Rocket Kolsch and Mason’s Yorkshire Gin, both of which triumphed at the awards, while Riverford Veg won the prize for Best Stall.
Alex Hirst, manager of BID company Distinct Darlington, which organised the event, said: “Each year the festival just gets bigger and better and the quality and variety of produce on sale this year was exceptional.
“This year we introduced live entertainment for the first time and that, combined with good weather on both days, really helped create a party atmosphere throughout the festival.
“The Distinctly Delicious Darlington Festival of Food really does showcase the superb artisan and independent food producers in our area and it’s great that so many people came long to support it – we’ll definitely be back next year.”