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Mitch Tonks Talks Dartmouth Food Festival

Friday October 21 2016 to Sunday October 23 2016

Every year since 2002 the Dartmouth Food Festival has rounded off the season of outdoor food festivals with a fabulous flourish. Hailed by the Guardian as ‘one of the top ten food festivals in the UK’, it offers three glorious days of food stalls, workshops, demonstrations and competitions – and entry is absolutely free.

We asked festival advocate, award-winning chef and restaurateur Mitch Tonks, what the festival holds in store this year.

In 2016 the organisers are expecting over 100 stalls, Mitch tells us, full of eye-catching and mouth-watering produce from around the South West. New exhibitors for this year’s festival include Salcombe Distillery with their luxury Salcombe Gin; Yetland Farm’s rare breed sausages; Let Them Eat, serving delicious cakes that just happen to be gluten- and dairy-free; Bad Boy Chilli Mash, for foodies with courageous tastebuds; and the unique Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka.

Make sure you seek out the stand for The Seahorse, Mitch’s acclaimed Dartmouth restaurant. The team is sure to be serving seafood tacos again, as they were a massive hit last year, and Mitch is already cooking up some other exciting ideas, so look out for a last-minute guest dish.

Mitch also recommends heading to the Pipers Farm stand for their amazing barbecued meats. Another of his regular favourites is a stall selling ‘the best goat curry ever’, but he points out that one of the joys of street food is not knowing until the stalls open exactly who’s going to be doing what.

As well as food stalls galore, there will be around 30 of the best chefs from the South West and beyond sharing their culinary expertise – including famed British food advocate Mark Hix, and Angela Hartnett of the Michelin-starred Murano – and Mitch himself will be demoing one of his favourite dishes from The Seahorse.

The organisers are also expecting a multitude of happy visitors, and what Mitch loves most about the Dartmouth Food Festival is the atmosphere. ‘Dartmouth is alive and packed with some of the best food on the planet,’ he says, ‘and when all the bars and restaurants are full up, there’s a real buzz.’ So bring a shopping bag and a hungry stomach, and enjoy tasting your way around the town and stocking up with fresh and store-cupboard goods. Here’s hoping for an Indian summer!

If you can’t wait until October for a food festival in Dartmouth, then check out the Rockfish Dartmouth Crab Festival on 7th August 2016, hosted by Mitch Tonks and Angela Hartnett.

There will, of course, be fresh crab and lots of it, along with live music from Mark Ely, great wines and great company. If you can’t get a ticket for the main event, then join in the fun on the embankment, with family crabbing activities and a children’s crabbing competition.

Read the latest review of The Seahorse on the Food & Drink website.

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