CHRISTCHURCH will be serving up a cornucopia of good things to eat and drink from Friday when the Daily Echo Taste-backed ninth Food and Wine Festival gets under way.

Friday is "education day". As an amuse bouche to titillate the taste buds, the day begins with the Christchurch Junior Cook of the Year competition sponsored by the town's Rotary Club in the Rangemaster Cookery Theatre in Saxon Square.

Continuing the education theme and making a great starter for the event will be the Practical Family Cooking demonstration in the Rangemaster marquee with festival patron Lesley Waters at 11.30am. She is followed at 12.30pm by the Art of Making Chocolates with Paul Hartley.

Lesley Waters returns at 2.30pm with more family menus and then Fishworks takes centre stage with Cooking Fish for Kids at 3.30pm.

The weekend will provide a hearty main course with something to suit everyone.

The perfectly named International Food Market will fill the traffic-free High Street with more than 100 stalls serving up some of the the tastiest tidbits available, some ready cooked as street food and others just waiting to be whisked up into an appetising dish at home.

Among the stallholders will be a contingent fresh from France and others more home grown, but equally fresh, including some from deepest Dorset.

The grand opening of the event, featuring telly chef Brian Turner OBE and Lesley Waters, will take place on the Mayor's Parlour balcony overlooking the High Street at 10.30am on Saturday.

Other Saturday events include: a yoga breakfast at Highcliffe Castle, paella al fresco outside Fishworks in Church Street between 11am and 2pm, Eddie Echo's Kids Kitchen between 10am and 5pm in Druitt Hall, cake tasting at Cake Links in Bargates and the Rangemaster demos will continue apace from 11.30am to 4pm.

There's also a VIP lunch at the Captain's Club Hotel, Sunpower Kids at Clay Studio in Castle Street and an Antipodean beach barbecue in Saxon Square.

Sunday's recipe for success includes: yoga breakfast, Rangemaster demos, the Daily Echo's Eddie Echo, a seafood barbecue at Fishworks, a festival lunch with demonstrations at Splinters and high teas at The Ducking Stool Tea Rooms.

After such a sumptuous main course, there's a massive range of desserts during the following week to choose from.

They include special deals at numerous restaurants around the borough, the invitation-only Daily Echo Best of the Best Awards in which readers vote for their favourite eateries, a herbs and preserves workshop, a pudding tasting, a chocolate workshop and even a creative writing workshop - with food, of course.

For more festival details visit the website link below...