With just days to go before the start of the New Forest Food and Drink Festival Week, the region’s award-winning chefs are putting the finishing touches to the special menus, dishes and demonstrations they are preparing for the thousands of visitors who are expected to join them for the area’s first event of this kind.

Visitors will have the choice of 15 different themes during the week, which takes place from October 31 – November 6, including a vegetarian banquet with celebrity chef Simon Rimmer, a Very English Afternoon Tea, a six-course food journey at the 5* Chewton Glen Hotel and hundreds of other events celebrating the forest’s foraged food, game, beers, spirits and produce.

Events will be taking place in the New Forest’s pubs, B&B’s, hotels, restaurants, colleges, tea rooms, vineyards and village halls; all showcasing the unique food and drink on offer in this special part of the world.

New Forest Destination Manager and Food Festival Chairman, Anthony Climpson, said: “After a year of planning it’s fantastic to see that so many of the New Forest’s producers – whether they be chefs, farmers, distillers or brewers – have joined together to ensure this first New Forest Food Festival Week is the success it deserves to be.”

Two free events will see many of these producers gathering in the same venue – a real treat for the senses. A Taste of the Outdoors (Wednesday November 2) is a living & learning event all about the Forest’s rich history and cultural heritage, at the Pony Sales Yard in Beaulieu Road. In the Show Ring, Agisters and Commoners will tell visitors about the Forest’s animal culture and demonstrate various customs, while showing off some of the famous New Forest Ponies. Scrumptious street-food lunches, cooked by local Forest chefs, will be available to purchase on the day at this unique venue.

The Producers’ Market and Chef Demos (Sunday November 6) will be the festival finale – a day packed full of demonstrations from local chefs and showcases from amazing farmers, artisan producers and local craft talent. Head to Brockenhurst College to watch them at work and to pick up some fine Forest produce.

For details on all events and how to book see www.thenewforest.co.uk/newforestfoodfest

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(Image – from front, left to right: Phil Butler – Drift Inn, Izzie Clayton – New Forest District Council, Dan Cornish – Chewton Glen, Nick Smith – New Forest Inn, Anthony Climpson – Chairman of Festival, Marcus Harvey – Chewton Glen, Carol Seymour – New Forest Business Manager, Jess Muirhead – Chewton Glen, Alicia Storey – Passford House Hotel, Debbie Lewis – New Forest Inn.)