Category Archives: Latest News

43 days to go….find out the latest updates

With the event developing week on week, its all go for the newly formed Stratford Food Festival at The Races this year. 2 events in 1, you can get the best of both worlds and if you don’t fancy the races then not a problem, Sunday will feature the food festival only and is free admission to all.


Updates this week:

– AGA, sponsor to the races for the weekend will be bringing along their trailer unit to allow visitors to get close up with the AGA range and what they have to offer.

– Competition giveaways have began and will continue, make sure you follow us on facebook and twitter to see how to enter. Prizes include event tickets as well as other foodie items.

– Exhibitor numbers are still growing with around 75 currently booked in, great variety so far. You will be spoilt for choice over the event weekend. Have a look at the current exhibitor listing.

– We now have the timetables available for the Johnsons Shuttle Service. The shuttle will link Strtaford Train Stration, Stratford Town Centre (Rother Street) and Stratford Racecourse. £1.50 return charge with 50p from every ticket being donated to charity.

The Lazy Cow of Stratford have announced their resident band will be performing over the festival weekend, to add to the atmosphere. They will be offering their delicious burgers and steaks alongside a cocktail bar for the event.

– Tickets are now available to buy online! Advance tickets will include free onsite parking.

– Children’s activities have been booked, you can expect to see anything from inflatable fun activities and face painting to magic and balloon modelers.

Stay tuned for more updates to follow. We hope you enjoy your Easter weekend!


Who’s Joining Us This Year??

It’s no April fouls, the Food Festival is returning this year and we have moved to May! The Event as you may already know has had a make-over and has been bolted onto a weekend of horse racing at our venue Stratford Racecourse. What could be better, 2 events for the price of 1.

The Event will focus in on the real artisan food and drink producers and we have had a great response from our traders with over 60% returning from last year and a great selection of local businesses.

We want you to be able to get to know those companies who will be joining us before you come and attend the event, so a weekly blog will feature a selection of our exhibitors. Have a look at the first batch below;

Granny Tiggs:

Granny Tiggs small

Their unique product, like nothing else on the market is a special ‘bright orange’ dressing, which is suitable for all types of food – from salads to oysters, sandwiches to steaks and is produced using all natural ingredients. This company and product has a great story behind it with the sellers grandmother being the creator of the winning recipe. Why not come and try some for yourself at their stand, located in the Artisan Markets for the weekend.

Blackmans Bakery:

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Local Bakery, Blackmans Bakery (formally known as Grants Bakeries) are again joining us this year after exhibiting at the event for the past few years. Last year they received the ‘Pride of Stratford Small Business of the Year 2013’, they are an artisan bakery and patisserie in the heart of Stratford upon Avon. They offer a wide range of traditional and specialty breads, pastries, patisserie and cakes, all baked daily on the premises. Supplying to a wide range of Restaurants, Cafes, Delis and Shops across Warwickshire. Find their stand in the Artisan Markets onsite at the Food Festival this year.

Church Farm Brewery:


This year at the festival we have a dedicated tent for local real ale and cider producers. Church Farm Brewery are located on the outskirts of Warwick and offer craft ales full of flavour and passion. In November 2012 they sold their herd of dairy cattle and converted the milking equipment into a microbrewery. They brew by hand, the traditional way using water from the farm’s well, locally sourced malt and hops and just add time and dedication to create a cracking pint. Come and try their products alongside other local brewers in the tent during the festival weekend.

The Strawberry Stop:

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A returning exhibitor to the Stratford Food Festival this year, they will be located in our Street Food Alley along with a wide variety of food and drink offerings to tuck into there and then. The Strawberry Stop join us from Herefordshire and use freshly grown Strawberries from their farm. They will be offering these with a variety of different flavoured creams and gourmet toppings all sourced locally.

Queens Park Preserves:

Queen Park Preserves

Queens Park Preserves have been with the festival for a couple of years now and we are happy to have them return again this year. Based in Hickley there handmade jams and chutneys are cooked using traditional open pans. They are free of artificial additives and colouring, are suitable for vegetarians and are gluten free. And …they taste delicious! They will be located in our artisan markets so come and have a look at what they offer.

Find them on Facebook.

The Lazy Cow:

Tlc Logo (4)

Local restaurant and bar The Lazy Cow, who opened their steak & ale house and cocktail bar in Stratford centre last year on the banks of the river, are joining us at the event in May. They will be offering dexter beef burgers, steak sandwiches and a range of cocktails as well as creating a bit of a buzz with their resident live band seen at the 2012 Stratford Food Festival.

My Cottage Kitchen:

My_Cottage_Kitchen small

My Cottage Kitchen was established in 2010, based in Shrewsbury and is the result of Ursula’s passion for home baking. She offers award winning AGA baked fruitcakes. All cakes are baked by herself in her own kitchen and made using the traditional methods. Come and meet the women herself at the food festival and take one of these home with you, her stand can be located in the Artisan Markets over the weekend.

Stay tuned for your next installment of exhibitors coming next week, giving you further insight into more of those joining us this year. Tickets are now available online for the Friday or Saturday Click Here. These tickets include the racing and food festival. Remember Under 18’s go Free all weekend and advantage tickets brought include Free parking on the infield of the site, closer to the action.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

We are also on Instagram and Pinterest.


Visit to the Jowett Cheese Dairy 26/2/13

As festival organisers we are always keen to see what our exhibitors and contributors to the event are up to and shout from the rooftops when their exciting plans start to take shape. For those of you who came to the 2012 event, you may remember David Jowett and his inspiring cheese talk and taste in our demonstration area. In September his dream of opening his own dairy and producing his own artisan cheese was soon to become a reality so we thought we could catch up with him in his new digs on the Alscot Estate Business park and see how he was getting on…

Nice to see you again David! Hows everything going?                                                                  

Everythings going really well thanks, we are roughly six weeks away from making cheese now so thats very exciting! Wholesalers are very interested and have been visiting the dairy, we have our milk supplier Mr Stacey at Goreshill Abbey (a small organic farmer who uses minimal intervention). Now all we need to do is start making cheese!

Sounds Great! Where do you envisage people will be able to get your cheese from?                                                                                                                                      Hopefully from local deli’s, cheese mongers, food halls and of course food festivals!

As a small artisan producer in the area has there been much support available to you? What more do you think could be done to help businesses such as yourself?

I have had tremendous support from other local businesses so support on that front has been great. In terms of local business funding I have struggled to access anything as most funds are geared towards not for profit organisations so having some more accessible forms of funding for the smaller businesses in the area would be great.

Finally can you tell us of any exciting and upcoming plans and ideas for the business?                                                                                                                             

Making cheese of course! We have our Alpine style which will be called ‘Jowett’ and then our newest idea is the smaller moulded cheese which we will create and gear mainly towards the restaurant market which has been named ‘Alscot’- (very fitting indeed!) There have also been some exciting discussions on potentially collaborating with other local producers to create tours, cider and cheese pairing and more. 


Before we left we took some pictures of the Dairy to show you a behind the scenes of a small cheese producers world!

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To Keep up to date with David and his cheese venture you can visit and follow his twitter @JowettCheese

2013 Planning well underway

The Stratford Food Festival is gearing up for its most successful year yet. In the last four weeks we announced the new venue for 2013 is Stratford Racecourse  and dates for this year’s event as 14th and 15th September. With early booking for exhibitors staying at such a good rate we are now at over 50% capacity and some categories have even ran out of space- record numbers for this time of year!

We would like to annouce just some of the recent plans and updates which we will be talking about in more detail shortly…

-Johnsons will be providing a free shuttle service linking the town centre to the racecourse for all those who normally walk to the event or choose not to drive.

-Free parking will be available at the racecourse for all visitors to the event

-A touring park is available on site for our exhibitors to book into for the weekend or those festival goers wanting to make a weekend out of it.

-Great taste markets will be joining the event once again this year

-We will be showcasing an all new local business tent which will host Stratford local businesses and their excellent products and fresh produce

Finally stay tuned for our big celebrity chef announcement coming on Friday in the Stratford Observer, not to be missed!

Anyone care to guess who it might be?

3 days to go…..

The Stratford-upon-Avon Food Festival is nearly here!!

Set to be the most successful yet, with a fantastic line-up planned and around 100 exhibitors booked in for the festival. I know all of us here at Showplace are looking forward to it. Preparations are coming together nicely and the site is being constructed as we speak, our guys are hard at work, with help from Cotswold Marques……have a look….















We at the office have also been hard at work preparing these……

The lucky first 750 visitors to the festival on each day will receive a complimentary Official Stratford Food Festival, Cotton Tote Bag. Offers from exhibitors and local attractions included. Kindly sponsored by Waitorse (Our Festival Sponsors) and The Lazy Cow (Prime Site Exhibitors at the Festival).


Also remember children under 16 go FREE to the event with an accompanied adult. A great day out for the family. Click here to see whats on offer for the children at the festival.



Getting to know the ‘Rotary Club’ of Stratford-upon-Avon….

One of the exhibitors of this years festival is the Stratford Rotary Club. Their stand is set to entertain the visitors with thier live cooking demonstrations on both days, as well as showcasing the profile of the Rotary Club and what they do. Saturday will see Chef from Le Bistro Pierre, show the correct way to prepare, fillet and cook seabass in a tasty dish for visitors to taste. Commentary and screens will be available on the stand so no-one misses out on the action. Sunday will see Chef and Tutor from Eckington Cookery School, Paul Baugh, cooking a fillet of pork with a sage and apple stuffing,wrapped in parma ham and served onto a caramelised apple sauce. Paul will also do a knife skills class with a couple of people from the audience  demonstrating the correct way to use knives in cooking.

Zoe Connor discusses intuitive eating in the Multi-Entertainment Zone at this years Stratford Food Festival.

We Contacted Zoe and asked her a few questions…….

– For those who may not have heard of yourself and your practice, tell us a bit about your background and how you got to what your doing today.

Hi, I’m Zoe Connor and I’m a dietitian – a government regulated nutritionist.  I qualified as a dietitian just over a decade ago – having realised I wanted to combine my love of food and science background to help people improve their health through food.  I spent the first few years after qualifying getting a variety of experience in the NHS in London then returned to Warwickshire, where I grew up, after a stint with VSO working in villages in rural Indonesia.  Since being back here I’ve set up my own nutrition consultancy business and split my time between my private practice, writing for professional publications, and consultancy and agency work for the NHS.  I love the flexibility and variety of freelance work, and I’ve always loved that my work brings me into contact with so many people from all different backgrounds.

– Where is your practice located?

I’m based from my home in Shipston on Stour and see private patients in clinics in Shipston and Birmingham as well as at the Therapy Fusion clinic off the Evesham Road in Stratford.  I also advise patients via Skype, email or phone when they can’t get to clinic – and so see patients all over the UK.  I sometimes do home visits too – I aim to try to fit around my patients as much as I can – after all that’s often why they choose to go private rather than seeing a dietitian on the NHS.

– What sort of dietary issues do you deal with on a day to day basis?

Well actually I’m qualified and experienced in all different diet-related issues, from medical nutrition therapy for undernutrition to performance nutrition for athletes.  However I tend to concentrate on a few areas I am particuarly interested in and that aren’t always available on the NHS – I specialise in paediatrics and particularly in helping children with feeding and eating problems and/or allergies.  I also specialise in helping children with neurodisabilities and special needs and I head up a national group of dietitians who specialise in autism – so I tend to get customers from all over the country wanting help with that.

Although I specialise in children I also see lots of adults too – particularly with allergies, gut problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and also for help in overcoming emotional and habitual eating problems.

People often think that as a dietitian you tell people what and how much to eat, but it is so much more than that, it’s about looking at the bigger picture – food is not just about nutrition.  I often feel more like a psychologist, counsellor, health visitor and social worker rolled into one, and I’m as far from some of the ‘nutritionist / food fascists’ that you see on TV as you can get!

– Do you have any particular success stories?

I am never ceased to be amazed at the impact that food allergies and intolerances can have on a person’s life.  I’ve had a recent run of patients for whom trying a simple exclusion diet has been truly life changing – from a lady being free from eczema for the first time in 15 years, to a successful business man being able to attend work consistently for the first time in years after significantly recovering from the embarassing uncontrollable diarrhoea and wind of irritable bowel syndrome.

One mother of a young patient recently said to me that two appointments with me were ten-times more useful than a lifetime of nutritionist and dietitian appointments that never had any useful impact on her son’s painful gut symptoms.  That sort of feedback really makes all the hard work of setting up my private practice worthwhile.

– What is the latest talking point within dietetics news?

Nutrition is a relatively new science and the amount of new research that is being published month by month is truly astounding.  One interesting area is the relationship betwen genetics and nutrition – researchers are discovering what genes mean that some of us need to watch our diets more than others, and I think in the coming years we will see more individualised tests and diet prescriptions to treat and prevent more and more diseases (including my big interest – autism).  I think as dietitians we will be more and more in demand – exciting times!

– What can visitors to the Stratford Food Festival expect to see from you?

I’ll be talking in the Multi-Entertainment Zone on Saturday about two of my favourite subjects which also fit in well with the ethos of a food festival:

1pm: Talk 1: Fed up with dieting and confused about what to eat? Learn to love food again with intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is an alternative to dieting that can help overeaters and serial dieters learn to trust their body’s internal cues of hunger and satiation and ultimately rediscover a love of good food.  I’ve been using this approach for a while after getting so frustrated with watching so many patients fail after trying to follow restrictive eating plans.  Growing research and common sense supports this alternative. The sense of freedom and empowerment the approach gives is amazing to watch!

3pm: Talk 2: How to bring your children up to love food and eat well.

I work a lot with families of children with serious and deep set feeding and eating problems.  These often could have been prevented.  Here I will talk about tips and tips on how to prevent problems before they occur and how to deal with issues when they arise.  I’ll make my talks interactive and leave lots of time for questions.

You can find out more about my experience, approaches and services at my website and blog


Getting to know ‘Queens Park Preserves’ exhibitors at this years Stratford Food Festival.

We interviewed Alison from Queens Park Preserves when they attended our preview event…find out more about them and what to expect at the Food Festival.

– How did the business begin?

I had always made jams and chutneys for people at Christmas and they proved so popular I decided to start a business.  We have been going since April and it has been fantastic.

All our products are vegetarian, gluten free, no preservatives….totally natural. Made in the old fashioned, open pan method and only made in small batches as well. We offer lots of unusual flavours like mango and lime, fig, apricot & brandy, strawberry and black pepper and our very popular chilli jam. We also make traditional jams and marmalades as well.



– What are your plans for the food festival?

We are going to launch our chilli jam at the festival.  We have promoted it on a small scale at county shows but we believe the Stratford Food festival will be an excellent springboard for this great product.

– Any plans for the future?

We are already in a couple of shops, but what we would love to get from the Festival is a stockist in this are as we dont have anyone who sells our products in Warwickshire.  We  currently have two retail stockists in Leicestershire and would love to expand into other areas. The chilli jam is also exported to Poland and the shop there have given it to someone in Switzerland so we are hoping that may lead to something.  You never know!!

– Do you source the ingredients locally?

Yes, some of these here like the raspberries and the strawberries are from an award-winning farm in Herefordshire. Where ever we can we get them (ingredients) locally, but when we can’t , such as Mango, we use local markets. But I mean everything else like the gooseberry jam we do, we actually pick them ourselves from our local farm. Like this one the English Pear Chutney….there from trees in Fillongley in Warwickshire, my mum lives there. She’s told all the local farmers and the next thing I knew they were turning up with hundreds and hundreds of pairs, bramley apples, all sorts of things. Living in the area that we do you can use all the local things, there’s so much to choise from.

We just want to get back to making proper jam, jam that tastes of fruit not sugar!

– Good Luck with the Festival, see you there.   






Getting to know ‘Previns’ exhibiting and demonstrating over the Food Festival weekend

We spoke to the guys from Previns, Niraj and Robert, when they attended our preview event earlier in the month. See what they had to say….







The company is named after Niraj’s Dad, Pravin, who had a passion for cooking, music and socialising with a combination of all three, sharing the freshly cooked foods.  When he passed away people missed his food. Niraj started off by cooking sauces for his friends, having a background in construction, he then decided to start-up the Previns business instead.

The eat, local and fresh concept with sustainability is what Previns are keen to portray. Dinning as a social tool is also something they are keen to promote, the product provides a unique way to create a social dining experience as family and friends can get involved as well. Along with getting people off additives and build people’s confidence in cooking.

Their kits illustrate a step by step recipe for indian dishes, including all the essential spices in the pack that are needed. Listing all the additional ingredients and amounts for the dish to be created. Each recipe serves 4 people. Using the kit also minimises wasted ingredients. Each kit is hand packed and blended in Leicester.

They have currently launched five different kit types including:

– Chicken Korma

– Lamb Kebab

– Masala Fish

– Chicken Curry

– Bombay Potato

A variety of different kits are still yet to be lauched…look out for them. One is a Caribbean range, an exciting concepts being looked at as Robert originates from the Caribbean.

At The Stratford Food Festival the company wish to promote their products and concepts of eating fresh and buying local ingredients. Can’t wait to see what their stand has to offer, if the preview event is anything to go by…expect a colourful, exciting experience.

To visit their website click here.


See Previns at their stand over the festival weekend and also in the Multi Entertainment area on Sunday at 1.00pm looking for an audience volunteer to come and cook their Bombay Potato kit, showing everyone how easy it is to produce wonderful, tasty,
traditional Indian food yourself from scratch in your own home.