EPICUREANS are celebrating the arrival of Bournemouth's first dedicated cheese festival this weekend.

Organisers of Cheese Fest have brought the event to the Bournemouth International Centre today.

Around 4,500 people have bought tickets for the sell-out festival.

Visitors can expect to enjoy a fromage feast, with halloumi fries, cheese cake, smoked bacon mac and cheese and raclette all on the menu.

Chutneys, charcuterie, olives, ice cream and brownies are also on sale.

Chocolate cheese, Prosecco cheese and strawberry cheese are among the more unusual treats on sale.

Organiser Elliott Dalton has hosted Cheese Fest events around the UK. The former Bournemouth University student said: "We've had 19 events in all so far, and they're always popular.

"It's the first time we've been in Bournemouth and it's a sell-out event."

Among the stalls on offer today is Parm Star, which sells chicken parmo. The dish - deep-fried chicken smothered in cheese - originated in Teeside and is well-known in the north of the UK.

John Coulson, who runs the stall, said there has been much interest since Masterchef contestant Anthony O’Shaughnessy made the meal for judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

"It's the second time we've done this event," John said.

"They're really good festivals."

Sean Jay of the Great British Cheesecake Company has brought 70 homemade cakes to Bournemouth.

"We sell by the slice," he said.

"Our most popular tends to be the white chocolate and raspberry, although it's probably level pegged with the Oreo flavour."

Visitor Karen James, 33, said: "I wasn't sure what to expect today but it's amazing.

"I haven't stopped eating since I walked in. I'm really enjoying it."