A spicy start to food festival week in Stone
There’s a packed week of events in the town in the lead-up to the big Stone Food and Drink Festival weekend on Friday 5th October – and things will get off to a suitably spicy start!
Saturday, 29th September will see Brad and Viv of Stone’s Lymestone Brewery lay down the gauntlet in a ‘chilli challenge’ that looks set to provide a suitably spicy start to the week running up to the town’s legendary food festival. At 7pm, chilli lovers are invited to gather one kilo – or litre – of their home-cooked chilli-based food, sauce or drink to take part in a ‘Chilli off’ competition. Pasta and rice will be provided and, in order to qualify for judging, competitors must eat or drink a minimum of 5% of their own produce, to prove it is safe for human consumption!
A panel of independent judges will then sample each entry; awarding a prize bowl to the winner and a plate to the runner-up. The event will also mark the opening of the brewery’s new “Boiler Room”; an expansion that will bring a whole new dimension to the popular brewery visits. While entry is free, the bar will be open to quench thirsts and 50% of bar takings will be donated to The Prostrate Cancer Charity.
The ‘chilli off’ is just one of a packed programme of events and special offers being organised by businesses in and around Stone as they get into festival spirit ahead of the Stone Food & Drink Festival’s ‘big weekend’, which this year will be Friday 5th, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October.
Festival chairman Richard Stevens said: “Brad and Viv’s ‘chilli-off’ really embodies the spirit of the festival, and will be a great way to get the week’s events off with a bang! We’re delighted that so many businesses are coming up with new and interesting ways to get into the festival spirit – after all, the event is not only about celebrating local food and drink, but about giving Stone’s businesses a boost.”
Other highlights of this year’s pre-festival programme include afternoon Cream Tea Cruises and themed evening meals aboard the Sir Thomas Brocklebank along the Trent & Mersey canal, a trip to Blythe Brewery, a week-long pie & ale festival at The Blue Rooms, and themed daily tastings at both Aston Marina Farm Shop and Stone Country Butchers. Touchstone Wines will host talks and tutored tastings in various locations in town on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and there will be plenty of live music in town all week, with Granvilles, The Swan and The Lounge all welcoming popular acts.
Lovers of Mediterranean food, meanwhile, will delight in the themed feasts throughout the week at La Dolce Vita and The Mill; with everything from Italian classics to paella and tapas on the menus. The town’s pubs are also getting involved – The Pheasant in Old Road will play host to a series of different evenings, including a ‘wok off’ Chinese cook-off and gourmet sausage night; The Swan’s famous food quiz will take place on Tuesday, with its all-day BBQ returning on Saturday, while The Star is running a range of special offers on food and drink and themed evenings all week long.
All these events are being run in addition to the festival’s old favourites, such as the Manger a Trois roving meals, minibus Real Ale Trails and festival Farmers’ Market; alongside the cookery demonstrations, shopping extravaganza, talks, tastings and more that make up the main event at Westbridge Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
To enter the ‘chilli off’ at Lymestone Brewery email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01785 817796. For further information on all the events going on in and around town during festival week, visit www.stonefooddrink.org.uk