Uckfield couple stage food fair

Amy and Simon
Amy and Simon

A young couple from Uckfield are holding the first South of England Food and Drink Festival this Sunday (May 25) at the South of England Showground in Ardingly.

The Festival celebrates local food and drink, award-winning craftspeople, farmers and growers and has a background of great music.

Simon Teesdale and Amy Hakim gave up their previous jobs in finance and charity to create Food Rocks and their first Festival aims to please families and food lovers alike, with a huge range of local produce to buy, as well as a chance to sample hot and cold street food of every imaginable cuisine.

Simon said: “Street food has come a long way in the past few years and we have carefully selected some of the best from across Sussex and beyond. We have also gone to great lengths to choose the finest local producers for our food market – and ensure they meet our criteria regarding production values.”

The event is a partnership between Food Rocks and the South of England Agricultural Society, bringing together the best of the hip and the traditional in local food, drink and entertainment.

There will be foodie fun for kids in a special yurt play area, including cooking workshops and food tastings encouraging children to eat a wide range of healthy food. This will keep the kids entertained while grown ups enjoy shopping and sampling craft ales, ciders and English wines in The Hay Bale Barn with live folk, jazz and swing bands.

Supporting English Wine Week, the Festival also offers wine lovers English wine masterclasses from top local winemakers, pairing wines with dishes created by Masterchef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards. Tickets to masterclasses should be pre-booked at www.foodrockssouth.co.uk

At the heart of the Festival is The Market - a converted barn packed with food from more than 80 of the finest producers in the south of England. These include Veasey and Son from Forest Row (UK Fishmonger of the Year,) real bread from Flint Owl and raw milk and dairy from Hook & Son, Hailsham.

There will be a ‘road’ of street food stalls each using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients so Festivalgoers should bring their appetites for brunch, lunch, supper, snacks and nibbles in between. Food Rocks are donating ten per cent of gate receipts to ‘Connect with the Countryside’, run by the South of England Agricultural Society, which enables 2,500 schoolchildren each year to learn about food, farming, the countryside and the environment. Tickets: £8 - or £9 on the gate.