Estate food festival has the recipe for success

FOOD lovers will be able to pick up a range of tasty treats this weekend as a popular event returns to Wallington.

The country estate’s Food and Craft Festival is back for a sixth helping, with a record-breaking 65 producers joining forces with former North East Chef of the Year David Kennedy and BBC MasterChef favourite Stacey Stewart.

Last year, 20,000 people flocked to the Cambo site and organisers the National Trust, Taste North East and Made in Cumbria hope to beat that total over Saturday and Sunday.

From the finest organic meats to gourmet jams and pickles, mouth-watering home-made puddings, regional cheeses, locally-grown fruit and vegetables, traditional confectionery, artisan breads and savoury snacks, visitors are promised plenty of choice.

Among the local food names setting out their stalls will be the award-winning Moorhouse Farm Shop, attending for the first time, Yellow Fields cold pressed rapeseed oil, the Northumberland Cheese Company, Heatherslaw Bakery, Deer ‘n’ Dexter venison and beef, Cumberland Mustard and Mr Vikki’s Indian fusion pickles.

The crafts will include hand-made soaps, jewellery, warming and colourful knitwear, cards, atmospheric landscape and wildlife prints, carved wooden and slate items and ceramics.

Wallington’s Events Manager Julie Tucker said: “There is more reason to come to this year’s event than ever before.

“We have more stall holders, lots of exciting activities and entertainment and those coming along can experience a selection of the flavours and dishes our Georgian forbears would have enjoyed.

“As a whole, the event magnifies just how much the North has become a fantastic food, drink and crafts hotspot. The area has such a lot to offer and there is such diversity.”

Diners in the Clocktower Cafe will have the opportunity to sample a selection of Georgian dishes as the property turns the clock back 250 years to honour one of its unsung heroines.

Mary Smith was the housekeeper to Sir Walter Calverley-Blackett in the latter half of the 18th century. Her name might have been forgotten but for the fact she wrote and published her own cookbook in 1772, which was to go on and take the London market by storm.

Called The Complete House-Keeper and Professed Cook Calculated for the Greater Ease and Assistance of Ladies, House-Keepers, Cooks etc, etc, Wallington still owns a well-thumbed copy, which is to be given a rare public outing for the weekend.

Some lucky visitors may also get to meet Mary herself as she will be taking up residence in the kitchen of the Palladian mansion she once called home.

Among the other attractions, David Kennedy and Stacey Stewart will be cooking up a storm in the state-of-the-art mobile kitchen, there will be a children’s food trail and the chance to meet alpacas Minimus, Ochre and Pearson courtesy of Barnacre Alpacas who are based near Hartburn.

The Wallington Food and Craft Festival will take place from 10am to 5pm on both days.

Admission charges to the garden and grounds have been reduced for the weekend to £2 for adults, children go free.

Normal admission charges apply to visit the house.