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Face to face with consumers - Norwich Food and Drink Festival

By: Chris Solt Date: 5 June 2017
Category: Press Release,Partnership,Food and drink

Chris Solt, food and drink partner at Lovewell Blake, urges foodies and producers to use the forthcoming Norwich Food and Drink Festival to start ongoing relationships with each other.

We are now well into Food Festival season and one of Norfolk’s most important such events happens this month: the Norwich Food and Drink Festival. Taking place at The Forum on Fathers’ Day, Sunday 18 June, the Norwich Festival is bigger than ever this year, with the traditional Battle of the Bangers showcasing some of our county’s best butchers and a full programme of cookery demonstrations on stage in the Forum.

The Producers’ Street Market on Bethel Street, which we at Lovewell Blake are proud to be sponsoring, is also bigger than ever. More than 40 artisan food and drink producers will be exhibiting their wares, many of them members of the Proudly Norfolk initiative which we are also delighted to support.

It’s going to be a great day out, an opportunity to taste some of the best food and drink that Norfolk is producing and to take some of that home to cook with and enjoy.

But, I’m hoping that those attending the festival – and indeed those producers who are exhibiting – will be viewing the one day event as something more than a one-off celebration.

Many food lovers come to festivals not just to have a taste but, because it gives them the opportunity to talk directly with the people who put the passion into artisan food and drink. In many cases, it is the closest consumers will get to discovering where what they eat comes from, a chance to make that all-important link between ‘farm and fork’. For those of us who care about what we put on our plate, this is important.

While some producers sell their products through supermarkets, the majority do not; events like the Norwich Food & Drink Festival are their best chance of showcasing what they do. Many rely on producers’ markets like this, along with the excellent network of small independent retailers we have in Norfolk, to reach customers.

I hope that everybody who attends the Norwich Food & Drink Festival views the day as an opportunity to start ongoing relationships with our local producers. If you like what you taste, don’t just buy a jar of chutney, a pack of cheese, or whatever; get talking to the producer, find out where you can buy their produce on an ongoing basis, start a conversation with them.

You will find that almost all the producers present will respond positively to this. Invariably, they have a passion for what they do and love to engage with consumers, bringing to life the story of their product, giving it a human face, enthusing and sharing that passion.

The Norwich Food & Drink Festival experience is all about engaging with producers which will hopefully lead to extending that enjoyment beyond the day itself by becoming longer-term customers – and in many cases friends – with the individual people behind the best food that is on offer locally.

For many, the closest relationship they have as consumers with the world of food is with whichever supermarket they frequent most often. That’s a shame; building relationships with our local artisan producers is much more satisfying and, ultimately, will play a vital role in maintaining the vibrancy of the food and drink sector in our county.
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