he greenest food and drink festival in the UK is set to take place on the weekend of Friday 26 September to Sunday 29 September 2008.

The 8th annual Nantwich Food and Drink Festival will feature Low Mileage Menus, a Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, locally produced organic beers, concessions for visitors travelling with a low carbon footprint, and recyclable glass water bottles instead of plastic, as it lays title to being the greenest in the land.

The Nantwich Food & Drink Festival has also made a rallying call to the 100 producers featuring there to ditch the plastic bag in favour of eco-friendly, reusable paper bags and has asked visitors to bring with them wicker baskets, rucksacks or even bags made from recycled cotton to carry their wares. In return, the first 1500 visitors will receive a re-useable festival goody bag made from Jute.

Recycle for Cheshire, the main festival sponsor will make a huge push to encourage people to consider what they put in the bin with their Love Food, Hate Waste initiative which features bag clips, recipes, and advice booklets. . This will be staged from a kitchen and garden made entirely from recycled materials. Meanwhile, in the demonstration kitchen, author Kate Colquhoun will be on hand to provide hints and tips from her latest book on the subject.

The festival will therefore not only be a palette tingling celebration of fine food from Cheshire and the surrounding region, but also a celebration of all that is green and good for the environment.

Portfolio holder Cllr Weatherill said “We’re determined to do our bit for the environment and are proud to claim the title of the greenest food and drink festival in the UK. Yes – we’ll be binning the plastic bag, yes – we’ll use recyclable glass bottles and yes – we’ll ensure that those travelling by public transport receive concessions, but we will also be teaching people handy hints and tips to take away with them such as how to compost properly and how to make tasty meals out of leftover food so that less is thrown away.

“To reduce carbon footprints, demonstration theatre chefs will be keeping their menus minimal by sourcing the best ingredients from as short a distance as possible and this produce will be signposted around the Festival. Meanwhile anyone who visits will be encouraged to consider alternative modes of transport like taking the train to reduce their carbon footprint and we will be giving away out low energy light bulbs.

“We’re also delighted that everyone involved in the festival has wholeheartedly embraced our request to use reusable bags or paper rather than plastic bags. More than 13 billion bags are issued every year to shoppers – that’s about 220 per person – and billions of these are finding their way into landfill. We all need to take responsibility for reducing these numbers and we’re amazed at the support we’re receiving.”

Green initiatives being put in place by The Nantwich Food & Drink Festival include:

A low mileage zone for local producers
Low Mileage Menus
Love Food, Hate Waste campaign
Incentives for visitors travelling by train
Eco friendly hints and tips
Composting advice
1500 free Jute Bags for visitors
Free low energy light bulbs

The Nantwich Food and Drink Festival 2008 will feature over 100 speciality producers giving foodies a real opportunity to celebrate rural food excellence with a mouth-watering range of food and drink.

Two rapidly disappearing British traditions will be revived during the weekend’s activities– the village pub will be recreated with brews from Nantwich’s own Micro Brewery and good old fashioned Baking is Back. Acclaimed judges will test the volume of Victoria sponges, the stature of scones as well as the pectin in preserves.

Devine Chocolate Origins is the chance to get to know your chocolate plantation like your vineyard in a foray into the different flavours in cocoa beans sourced from around the world.

From the grassy plains of Cheshire to the rolling hills of Wales comes a wonderful selection of the finest foods, which will be sold and sampled in the Gourmet Food Marquee. Whether your preference is smoked fish and meats, handmade chocolates or traditional bacons, real ales or speciality cheeses, there really is something for everyone. In addition, the festival will also be bringing back by popular demand its Taste of the Festival Marquee, which offers ‘Tutored Tastings’ of wine, beer, cheese, olives, sausages and even Speciality whiskies.

Other highlights include Kids’ Kitchen where five to ten year olds can learn more about ‘five a day’ and try their hand at cookery. Cocktail Workshops (non alcoholic) are a must for wannabe bar tenders and back by popular demand as is the CAMRA Beer Festival, the Farmers’ Market. Countryside Comes to Town becomes an even bigger part of the festival this year, as well as in Nantwich Town centre on the Sunday, it will be staged over the three days on Mill Island, where young and old can see rural life at close quarters.

The Nantwich Food and Drink Festival runs from Friday 26 September – Sunday 28 September 2008. There is an entrance fee to the Gourmet Food Marquee (£4 Friday and £5 Saturday and Sunday). This includes entry to all attractions in this section. Advance Festival tickets can be purchased at a reduced rate of £4 for each day by calling the Festival Ticket Hotline on 01270 537359 from August 1st. For further information, visit www.nantwichfoodfestival.co.uk.

We hope to visit on the Sunday, do say hello if you see us there