SUMPTUOUS smells tickled and tantalised the taste buds of thousands who flocked to Christchurch for this year's Food and Wine Festival, backed by the Daily Echo, Taste and Society.

The two-day international food market had something to cater for everyone, guaranteeing full tummies, satisfied customers and hours of entertainment for the whole family.

The festival was officially opened by patron Lesley Waters, who introduced this year's special guest and friend, celebrity chef Brian Turner.

Speaking to the crowds from the Mayor's Parlour at the opening on Saturday, Lesley said: "I can't believe another year has gone by. It's fantastic to be involved in the Christchurch Food Festival and this will be my eighth year running. It is a particularly special day as I'm very excited my good friend Brian Turner is here.

"This event gets better and better every year and I can say this one will surpass them all."

Mayor of Christchurch Cllr Josephine Spencer said: "Not only have we been voted the best coastal town but we have the best food and wine festival on the South Coast.

"I am delighted to welcome visitors from our twin towns of Aalen who are serving German beer in the market and chefs and guests from Christchurch, New Zealand as well. It is easy to see why this is our largest and most successful community event in Christchurch."

With more than 100 stalls to choose from, senses went into overdrive as people ambled slowly through the traffic-free High Street shoulder to shoulder with others in the crowds searching for the ultimate temptation.

Delicacies such as olives, cheese, Dorset sausages, New Forest burgers, chocolate, fresh bread and cakes and Sopley asparagus were on offer as well as locally brewed cider and ale from Ringwood brewery.

And workshops and activities in Eddie Echo's Kids Kitchen in the Druitt Hall kept children entertained while Maori dancers performed traditional routines in honour of the Festival's special guests from New Zealand.


Events coming up at the Christchurch Food & Wine Festival this week include:


  • One-Day Cookery School, 10am-4pm, Fishworks, 10 Church Street, Christchurch. Tel: 01202 487000
  • Best of the Best Awards, Christchurch Food Festival and the Daily Echo, Bournemouth.


  • Herbs and Preservatives workshop and lunch 11am, Red House Museum, Quay Road, Christchurch, and Splinters Restaurant, 12 Church Street, Christchurch. Booking essential on 01202 483454.
  • Titillate your taste buds, 10am-4pm, Christchurch Information Centre, 49 High Street, Christchurch. Taste a selection of produce from the local farmers' market.
  • Chocolate Tasting, 7.15pm, Tempation, 1a Wick Lane, Christchurch. Booking essential on 01202 488700.


  • The Great British Pudding Tasting, The Crooked Beam, 2 The Grove, Jumpers Corner, Christchurch. Booking recommended on 01202 499362,
  • Dinner Jazz, from 7.30pm. The Lord Bute Restaurant, 181 Lymington Rd, Highcliffe. Booking essential on 01425 278884,


  • Cookery demonstration and lunch, 11.30am, Splinters Restaurant, 12 Church Street, Christchurch, 01202 483454.
  • Seafood Extravaganza, The Ship in Distress, 66 Stanpit, Christchurch. Tel: 01202 485123.

    FRIDAY, MAY 16

  • Comedy Night, 7pm, Pacific 23 at The Nelson, 75 Mudeford, Christchurch. Dinner and show. Tel: 01202 485105.
  • Festival Fridays, Three-course meal deal, The Tempest, 24 Bridge Street, Christchurch. Tel: 01202 486120.


  • Yoga Breakfast, 8.30am, Highcliffe Castle, Rothesay Drive, Highcliffe. Tel: 07796 126727.
  • Sunpower Kids, Clay Studio, 12a Castle Street, Christchurch. 90-minute children's workshops with pottery painting and food education. Tel: 01202 475000.

    SUNDAY, MAY 18

  • Gourmet Charity Dinner, 7 for 7.30pm, The Lord Bute Restaurant, 181 Lymington Road, Highcliffe. Booking essential, 01425 278884,
  • See link below for more...