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Get a taste of Devon at the Dartington Food Fair

If you enjoy cooking and eating good food, the Dartington Food Fair has plenty to tempt you! With over 50 stalls selling Devon products, and several popular chef's kitchens, this free event is well worth attending this May.
Where better than an Old Cider Press site to host the scrumptious Dartington Food Fair! Hosted on the last weekend in May/early June, this two-day event will have food lovers drooling over the stands and samples at this showcase of local Devon produce. This food-lovers festival takes place at the Shops of Dartington, formerly known as the Dartington Cider Press, just a mile from Totnes.

Family-friendly Dartington Food Fair

The Dartington Food Fair started in 2010 and has quickly gathered pace to now include over 50 local food producers. However, for non-cooks there are plenty of other things to enjoy such as craft stalls, live music and plants.

I can certainly recommend it as a fun day out for youngsters too. For children there are organised activities, clowns, jugglers, face painting and even some local animals to pet from the nearby . Families on a budget will particularly appreciate that entry to the Dartington Food Fair is free of charge.

Wandering around the Dartington Food Fair there are three main areas to concentrate on. The Food and Drink Marquee is the main place where you will find plenty of food and drink stands, and plenty of bodies too! In 2013 the festival attracted over 5,000 visitors so it is quite a squeeze!

Surrounding the main marquee are gazebos featuring some of Devon’s biggest and best food retailers and producers. Finally there are practical areas offering cookery demos – always popular to watch and pick up tips for how to best enjoy Devon’s fresh fish, seafood, cheese, meats and more.

Chef’s kitchens at the Dartington Food Fair

Past Dartington Food Fairs have attracted top chefs such as Jane Baxter (previously head chef at Riverford Field Kitchen), Richard Hunt from the Grand Hotel restaurant in Torquay and the appropriately named Matt Cook from Fish Face who worked as Head Chef in Oxford under Marco Pierre White. I’m still using his fish salsa recipe that I picked up at this event last year and can’t wait to see what he’s hopefully cooking up this year.

Another regular to the fair is the , so for those considering training to work in the restaurant trade, stop by their stand and chat with some of the tutors and students. They will also be doing some cookery demonstrations to show just why they have such a high track record for success.

If you want to get more hands-on, the Devon Cookery School usually has a full schedule of classes at their Manna tent.

Food glorious food!

Along with all the temporary stands there are some beautiful delis and cafés that are a permanent fixture at the . It’s well worth browsing the pickles and preserves, refrigerated displays and deli counters to pick up some delicious tasty offerings for a picnic, hors d’oeuvres or to make an easy cold lunch.

The Venus Café and Takeaway will no doubt be serving its usual fine fare, or try the Cranks restaurant onsite. Altogether there are 11 shops at Dartington arranged around the cobbled courtyard. They sell everything from pottery to toys and even a selection of Dartington Glass.

The Dartington Food Fair is also a great place to pick up fresh local produce, unusual ingredients and organic food boxes. Once you get home you can unleash your enthusiasm and ideas on the freshest Devon produce which most pros agree is the key to their success. It’s an unmissable event for foodies!

Calling all south Devonians! Have you visited the Shops at Dartington or the Dartington Food Fair? Would you recommend it to other visitors? We’d love to hear your tips about visiting this delightful attraction.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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