All roads lead to South Shields for proper food and drink

The biggest South Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival saw the returnpan-2 to the town of a local couple who are starting to make a splash in the world of spirits.

Steven and Sally Green grew up in South Shields before moving to London and successful careers in the television industry.

Five years ago they settled in North Yorkshire and set up Harrogate Tipple, using the world-famous Harrogate Spring Water to produce their gin and rum.

Steven, who spent a year making films for Bacardi, said: “I was in Moscow and ordered some water and was served Harrogate Spring Water. It was the light bulb moment: Harrogate Spring Water, I was reading stories about the resurgence of distilleries and spending time filming for Bacardi.”steven-and-sally-green-of-harrogate-tipple-2

The couple recruited a master distiller with more than 40 years’ experience and the business is now going from strength to strength. In the next couple of weeks Harrogate Tipple is moving to the 700-year-old Ripley Castle – which is just outside the town – and building a distillery and opening a shop selling its premium gin and rum, as well as glasses and candles. Visitors will also be able to take tours of the distillery and learn more about making spirits at a gin school.

More than 20 years after moving away Steven and Sally were back in South Shields at the weekend, making their debut at the Proper Food and Drink Festival.

“You still don’t know what to expect – but we’ve obviously heard a lot about the festival through our families here – and it’s been brilliant,” said Steven, who will be coming back to Bents Park in August for The Great North Feast.

Chef Tom Batham from Newcastle was also appearing at a Proper Food and Drink Festival for the first time.

He set up his business Shanty Town, which provides freshly cooked creole influenced sea food and steak, on the spur of the moment in October

“We had some savings, I saw a flat-bed trailer and a second-hand deep fat fryer – and just went for it,” said Tom.

“I’ve been a chef for a lot of other people and worked on street food trailers before. I saw where they were going wrong, where they were going right and how I could make it work for me and the public – and make tasty food.”2

Proper Food and Drink festival organiser Mark Deakin said: “This event has always been popular but we’ve never seen so many people before. The great weather obviously helped, but we try to introduce new producers and chefs – like Steven and Sally and Tom – to make sure the festival is always interesting and a bit different each time.”

The Great North Festival takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend (25th, 26th and 27th) and the remaining Proper Food and Drink Festivals of 2018 are being held in:
Whitley Bay, Spanish City Plaza (16, 17 June).
Cramlington, Seven Oaks Park (28, 29 July).
Blyth, Ridley Park (11, 12 August).

All festivals are open from 10am-5pm and entrance is free.