North Tyneside’s lovers of locally produced food and drink are in for multiple treats this summer.
The ever-popular Proper Food and Drink Festival returns to Northumberland Square in North Shields in May and Whitley Bay’s Spanish City Plaza the following month.
In addition – as announced earlier this month – the Spanish City Plaza has also been chosen as the location for three new events, called a Feast by the Sea, which will run across weekends in July, August and September and is a celebration of the best of Northern street food. All five events are free.
“It’s going to be a busy and exciting summer,” said one of the organisers Shelley Deakin. “The locations are very different but have both always attracted loads of visitors.”
Proper Food and Drink Festivals were started by Shelley and her husband Mark in 2012. They choose the name to reflect their support for local producers who deliver food without fuss.
“When you come to a festival you want fantastic food you can eat there and then, or buy to try when you get home,” said Mark.
“These are very important events for local producers as they provide a real opportunity for them to get face-to-face feedback from their customers – and as a result they really pull out the stops.”
Over the years many producers have used the festivals as a stepping stone to bridge the gap from being talented amateurs to full-time cooks, bakers or brewers.
“It’s fantastic to see how they’ve progressed,” said Mark. “Some have opened their own restaurants while the festivals have helped others to realise just how good they are.”
As well as the producers’ market, street food trucks and bars, there will also be an area devoted to crafts as well as plenty of activities for children.
The Proper Food and Drink Festival visits North Shields on the Bank Holiday weekend – 4, 5 and 6 May. It comes to Spanish City Plaza on 15 and 16 June. The festival is also being held in South Shields over the late May Bank Holiday weekend and, for the first time, in Gosforth on 13 and 14 July.
A Feast by the Sea takes place on 20 and 21 July, 10 and 11 August and 7 and 8 September.
For more details visit www.properfoodanddrinkfestivals.co.uk/