Food-lovers throughout Cornwall and beyond are gearing up for the tastiest event of the year, as the programme is announced for this year’s Great Cornish Food Festival (previously known as Cornwall Food & Drink Festival).  Taking place over a three day weekend from the 26th-28th September in the heart of Truro, the festival is renowned as the go-to event for the serious food-lover, and is the largest event anywhere dedicated entirely to the celebration of Cornish Food & Drink. What’s more, thanks to the generosity of a number of corporate sponsors, including key sponsor First Great Western, the festival is still completely free to visit.

The main Food Hall contains, as ever, a varied and mouth-watering  mix, as new faces on the Cornish food scene rub shoulders with seasoned festival staples, well-stocked with goodies from rare-breed meats to proper Cornish pasties; clotted cream ice cream to craft beers. Spend a day wandering up and down the aisles, chatting to the people behind the products and trying what’s on offer. And when you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop, sit back and enjoy a bit of Croust (that’s ‘a bite to eat and drink’ in the mother tongue), or a beverage or two in the dedicated bar, sponsored by Sharp’s Brewery and Proper Cornish and featuring  its own – new for this year – Beer & Tea Deck.

For the food-makers of tomorrow, mums and dads should head to the Discover Zone, where kids can find out all about where their food comes from, who makes it, and how to eat it, with lots of fun activities and taster sessions to get them going.

The weekend is studded with an array of top-notch chefs from across the county on stage, including Fifteen’s Andy Appleton, Stein’s very own Jack Stein, and a welcome return to the festival for two of West Cornwall’s best-loved chefs, Ben Tunnicliffe from the Tolcarne Inn and Mick Smith from the Porthminster Beach Café.  Newcomers this year include Jamie Porter from the St Moritz Hotel on the North coast and Mark Apsey, of the recently refurbished Idle Rocks down on the South coast at St Mawes.  Heading the line-up is of course stellar chef Nathan Outlaw, festival veteran and long-time supporter, taking to the stage on Friday and cooking up a storm with recipes from his new book, Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen.

In an action-packed programme hosted by presenters from BBC Radio Cornwall, the demonstrations run every hour right through the three days, culminating in a butchery masterclass by Frank Linn of Brian Etherington Meat Co, where all the succulent cuts Frank produces will be put into a charity meat raffle in aid of the Cornwall Food Foundation.  Commenting on this year’s plans, Ruth Huxley from Cornwall Food & Drink, organisers of the festival, said, “We have probably the best line-up and the fastest-paced schedule we’ve ever had, so we’re gearing up for the festival to be a real treat and even more popular than ever.”

Getting to the festival, which takes place on Lemon Quay, is hassle-free, with easy access on foot or by car, rail or bus. Rail links operate throughout the county and beyond, and the Langarth Park & Ride just a 10 minute bus journey away.

The full programme of events, activities, exhibitors and opening times can be found at the Great Cornish Food Festival website.