Locals work up an appetite for this weekend’s Sheffield Food Festival

Sheffield Food Festival
Sheffield Food Festival
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People across South Yorkshire are working up an appetite for the fifth instalment of the Sheffield Food Festival this weekend.

From tomorrow until Monday, the delectable event will take place in the heart of the city, with dozens of producers, restaurateurs and businesses uniting for a weekend of food-based fun.

foodram'tasting session at last year's 2010 Sheffield Food Festival

foodram'tasting session at last year's 2010 Sheffield Food Festival

The festival, organised by Sheffield Hallam University’s business school, is set to feature a pop-up farmyard, a mini-beer festival featuring local ales, and cooking masterclasses with top local chefs.

Visitors will also be able to select goodies to eat and drink, and shop from a vast array of market stalls and street food traders in and around the Peace Gardens, Winter Garden and Millennium Square.

Niki Baker, festival spokesman, said: “This year’s festival is all set to be the best yet, with something for all tastes on offer. Along with the dozens of local producers, businesses and others who have come together to make this happen.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the heart of the city filled with food festival fun this bank holiday weekend. I would urge everyone to come along and join in.”

And Niki said she has had a hectic final week of making last-minute arrangements, delivering brochures and fielding calls from people keen to get involved, with a balance of smaller artisan traders and bigger names essential.

She said: “You have to have a mix to make sure the sums add up, I hope we’ve got a bit of something for everyone.

“People are going to spend money across the city, not just at the festival. It brings an economic boost and fabulous footfall, whatever weekend it’s on.

“We have made a change in response to a recent trend – in all previous years we’ve supplied a pop-up restaurant infrastructure so that local restaurants can come to the festival, however in the last 18 months there has been an absolute explosion in street food traders.”

Foodie family activities will include the chance to have a spin on a smoothie bike provided by school meals provider Taylor Shaw; learn about growing produce from seeds as part of the National Trust campaign to ‘plant it, grow it, eat it’; and get involved in spaghetti and marshmallow construction with Sheffield Hallam University.

On Saturday, The Moor will get in on the action with a ‘Taste Moor’ event, with a range of free activities celebrating food through cultures, crafts, performances, dancing and cookery demonstrations.

One of the attractions will be the Tea Tent, where visitors can relax whilst learning about Indian, Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies, which will be accompanied by storytelling.

Millennium Square will be turned into a pop-up farmyard by Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, and chef demos will return to the Peace Gardens, with Simon Ayres from the Cross Scythes at Totley, and Michelin-starred chef Rupert Rowley, from Fischer’s, among those showing off their cooking flair and expertise.

Niki said: “We’ve got a really good reputation, we’ve built on that and now have solid credibility with our food in Sheffield. Events like this, and other markets, can only go towards strengthening that. We’ve got the best of all worlds – the beautiful Peak District nearby, fantastic produce and really creative people.”

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council deputy leade, said: “Anyone interested in food, drink and locally-sourced produce is sure to find something to tempt their tastebuds at this weekend’s Sheffield Food Festival.

“Sheffield is famous for its entrepreneurial and creative spirit, so it will be especially pleasing to showcase what our independent traders have to offer – from locally-sourced meat, fruit and veg through to fine dining, real ales and craft beers.

“But don’t just take my word for it – the event has been independently voted as one of the top three urban food festivals in the UK, so really is one of the jewels in the crown of our fantastic year-round major events programme.”

n For full details of what’s on and where, visit sheffieldfoodfestival.org