By Phoenix D-K on July 17, 2012 in Food
With an already increasing number of chilli festivals around the country, it’s well past time the north east stepped up. Thankfully some of our own locally-based producers, along with much-loved Newcastle deli mmm… got their arses into gear and did just that.
The festival, held in Seaton Delaval hall in Northumberland gave local and national producers of chilli jams, jellies, sauces, cakes, bread and even chocolate to flog their wares to north east chilli-heads. As I attended on Saturday afternoon I had already missed out on a couple of stalls who proudly, but apologetically, displayed signs with “Sold Out, Sorry”, with the queues for the single, tiny bar and various food vans being a complete waste of time.
The culmination of both Saturday and Sunday was a chilli-eating contest, where macho posturing, vomit and pantomime-esque responses to the names of the chillies “The Naga!” “ooooooooh” were the order of the day. There’s footage to be found online if you, like me, revel in watching people put themselves through real pain.
Chillifest was not just for the die-hard capsicum connoisseur though. Plenty of less damaging foodstuffs were on display too, I picked up some very “foody” smoked salts, a selection of oils and when the tasting of hundreds of different chutneys and sauces got too much, a well-needed ice-cream – definitively NOT chilli-laced.
Of course the weather threatened to ruin everything, but last minute tweets from the Chillifest organisers reassured everyone that Seaton Delaval’s grounds were gravelled and fit for business and on the day, Seaton Delaval provided a rather stately and grand setting for the festival and no-one cared about the grey skies and slightly soggy grass.
There were a few problems, mostly arising from the fact that the festival was incredibly popular. I very much doubt that anyone had preempted the sheer numbers of attendees, many of who turned up on the day rather than pre-buying tickets. In any case the organisers have already promised improvements to parking, a smoking ban and most importantly tripling the size of the bar next year!
If you didn’t get along to the festival then there is always the great selection of chilli-treats to be found at mmm… but be warned the festival organisers have already got their sights set on 2013 and if I were you, I’d get my tickets early, lace my stomach with dairy products and unless you know what you’re doing, avoid anything labelled “ghost”… (My poor, poor tongue)
- The 2013 Bishop Auckland Food Festival Approaches