Food festival whets the appetite

Aylsham is laying the table for its annual food festival, which will see scores of people savouring tasty meals, and youngsters learning the joys of cooking.

The festival, now in its fifth year, opens on the evening of Friday October 1 with a meal at the high school prepared by its catering students.

Youngsters, under the supervision of professional chefs, will prepare a menu that will include: autumn spiced pumpkin soup, Cromer crab fishcakes; roast belly of park with a herb crust and blackberry and apple jus, roasted stuffed baby squash with Ms Temple's Binham Blue cheese, mulled autumn berry terrine, and lavender-infused custard tart with warm chocolate sauce.

The format has changed this year from silver service to a buffet but chairman of the organisers Liz Jones said the experience of working with chefs was a big boost to the catering students, boosting their confidence and CVs.

Saturday brings a new event, with a Taste Adventure aimed at children replacing previous cookery theatres in the town hall.

Primary school age students will visit five sense zones - seeing, touchy, noisy, smelly and tasty - to explore each sense in relation to food, such as guessing a food though touching its texture, with prizes being awarded for the most accurate.

During the day the high school is running children's cookery workshops in association with the Lottery-funded Let's Get Cooking campaign.

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An extended farmers' market will also be held on the Saturday to augment the festival, which coincides with British Food Fortnight and the Norfolk Food Festival.

Sunday's Big Slow Breakfast, which has been a popular ever present since the event was started in 2005, will see 100 people sitting down to a spread of locally-sourced ingredients. It has switched to one instead of two sittings between 10am and noon, but if people had to wait it was a chance to have a chat said Miss Jones, which was in line with the wider aims of the organising Cittaslow 'slow town' movement to promote good quality of life.

Tickets for the Friday night buffet at the high school cost �18.50. Big slow breakfast tickets cost �5 for adults and �3 for children under 12. Both are available from the Salad Days fruit and veg stall in the Market Place. Call Liz Jones on 07908 098003 to check if there are any available.

More details about the festival and slow food group at Aylsham are at