Calling all foodies
NOW that Bird's Eye has joined the lasagne and spag bol recall gang, Gloucestershire foodies are becoming more and more discerning when it comes to what they eat and drink.
So what better way to find out where your meat, fish, fruit and veg comes from than by chatting to the people who produce it at Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival?
More than 200 local, national and international food and drink producers will descend on Montpellier Gardens this June.
Beef farmers, cheesemakers, wine producers and fruit juice pressers will be on hand in a series of marquees.
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And visitors can expect cookery demonstrations, tips from the experts in the Real Food & Drinks and International Wine theatres.
There's a music stage, too, and arts and crafts demonstrations.
The line-up of celebrity chefs includes Two Greedy Italians – Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro – and Edd Kimber, winner of the Great British Bake Off 2010.
Among the exhibitors will be organic beef producer James MacCurrach, from Tagmoor Farm at Bourton-on-the-Water.
He produces award-winning burgers for his company Love My Cow.
He's joined by the likes of award-winning Cotswold Gold – rapeseed oil producers beloved of Raymond Blanc and Rick Stein – and Upper Slaughter's Simon Weaver, who uses organic milk from his dairy herd to produce a range of Brie-style cheeses.
Herefordshire company Bellota, owned by Peter Snow, will be bringing its specialist charcuterie, cheeses and seafood from Spain. Plus visitors can expect artisan olive oil from Avlaki, part-owned by Lady Deborah MacMillan.
Breweries and cider-makers from across the south west will be taking up stands too.
"Consumers are losing faith in the UK's multinational food producers and supermarkets given all the recent horror stories in the press about food not containing quite what is said on the packet," said a festival spokesman.
"We're also looking to reduce the miles our food travels.
"So it's nice to know that, if you live in Gloucestershire, there are a number of food producers supplying high-quality, organic produce.
"If you're passionate about good food, fine wine and quality drinks, there's no better place for you to be this June."
The festival runs from June 14 to 16. Advance tickets cost £3 for the Friday or £6 on weekend days. Visit www.garden-events.com for details.