Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival
The Chester Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival takes place every Easter, when about 30,000 people attend what is the informal kick-off of food events in Cheshire. The event showcases the very best in food and drink from Chester as well as communities throughout Cheshire and beyond. The popular festival is held at the Chester Racecourse in the city centre. With horse races dating back to the early sixteenth century, the 'Roodee' is the oldest racecourse still operating in England.
Festivalgoers are treated to aromas, tastes and sights of high quality food and drink from across Cheshire and around the world at the three-day festival. More than 100 exhibitors showcase their food and drink creations as well as locally sourced produce and ingredients. Local and national wine and ales can be sampled alongside international cuisine from Mexico, the United States, Africa, France and other countries. Britain's favourite dishes are also available from vendors. Just about anything for every taste and budget can be found at the festival, including stalls with regional cheeses, handmade chocolates and candy, a variety of tea and coffee brews, locally-made salad dressings, and much more.
In addition to food and drink stalls, the Chester Food and Drink Festival has a full programme of family-friendly activities. Children's workshops are among the festival's most popular events. Each day, multiple workshops are put on by the Academy of Culinary Arts with the aim of teaching younger visitors about healthy eating and how to cook. All of this is done in a fun and relaxed environment where messes are encouraged. Celebrity and local chefs also share advice and tips during crowd-attracting demonstrations, while a Sous Chef Challenge helps test the skills of some of Chester's best chefs. The Cheshire Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival concludes with the Taste Cheshire Food and Drink Awards, which recognises excellence in the county's hospitality industry. Awards are handed out at a black-tie dinner gala for the best pubs, delis, restaurants, and other establishments across Cheshire. Nominees are selected through public voting, while winners are chosen by an expert panel and informed by a round of mystery shopping.
Billed as one of the top Easter break destinations for food and drink enthusiasts, festival organisers continue to find new ways of making the event a full experience for visitors. CamperFest provides an opportunity for festivalgoers to camp on site while enjoying all that the event has to offer. Visitors can set up their campervans, motorhomes, tents or caravans at the historic Chester Racecourse that sits on the banks the River Dee. Campers also get free daily admission to the festival. In 2015, ArtFest was added to the programme to highlight the works of artists from the North West and across the UK. Visitors can talk to artists as well as attend free art classes. The addition of ArtFest has helped expand the festival's original focus on food and drink to culture and lifestyle in Cheshire.
The Chester Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival is powered by Taste Cheshire, an independent online guide to food and drink in Chester and Cheshire. Taste Cheshire showcases local and regional restaurants, cafes, pubs, delis, producers and farm shops as well as food and drink events, festivals and markets. It was founded locally with the aim of promoting food and drink in the region while also helping visitors and locals alike find true tastes of Cheshire. Admission is charged for the event, which is £6 for one-day access when purchased in advance online or £8 for general admission purchased at the door (2016 prices). A £14 three-day ticket is also available. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free, and free on-site parking is also provided. For more information about the festival including online ticket sales and programme details, visit chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk.