Whitley Bay Food and Drink Festival proves to be another tasty success

Thousands of people flocked to Whitley Bay for the annual Food and Drink Festival.
Thousands of people flocked to Whitley Bay for the annual Food and Drink Festival.

Thousands of people flocked to Whitley Bay for the annual Food and Drink Festival.

Mixed weather over the weekend failed to dampen any spirits with people keen to try out the various delights on offer at the Spanish City Plaza.

Crowds were keen to try out the various offerings at the Whitley Bay Food and Drink Festival.

Crowds were keen to try out the various offerings at the Whitley Bay Food and Drink Festival.

As well as the food and drink stalls, there was live music and entertainment for the crowds.

Among those attending were Peter and Paula Horsley who started Nomad Curries 18 months ago with the aim of improving the quality of vegan food at festivals.

Their ambition is to work full-time on Nomad and one day open a restaurant.

Peter said: “We are making inquiries, but at the moment we’re trying it out for size at festivals and see how it goes.

Paulette Griffiths and Colin Harrison with their stall at the Whitley Bay Food and Drink Festival.

Paulette Griffiths and Colin Harrison with their stall at the Whitley Bay Food and Drink Festival.

“We’re both vegans and big festival goers, but there was never anything available for us – apart from chips.”

As well as making food for vegans, Nomad’s curries are also free from soy, gluten, nuts and dairy products.

“Our aim is to make good and tasty food that anybody can eat – and it seems to be really well received,” said Paula.

Proper Food and Drink Festival organiser Mark Deakin said: “We’re always trying to widen the choice of food available at our events.

Peter and Paula Horsley, of Nomad Curries.

Peter and Paula Horsley, of Nomad Curries.

“We’ve been on the lookout for good vegan food and we’re delighted to have Nomad Curries on board.”

Harrison & Griffiths are also on a mission – to bring a taste of the Caribbean to the UK.

Colin Harrison had worked in the maintenance team for 20 years at a secure children’s unit in Nottingham, but was baking cakes – based on his mother’s recipes – in his spare time.

He met Paulette Griffiths, who was a cook in a care home, and the couple started making cakes together, set up their business and got engaged.

“People travel more these days and go to places like the Caribbean,” said Paulette.

“They’ve been on a cruise and tried the rum cake. There it’s very dense and dark. We wanted to make something lighter. It took Colin three years to perfect it, but it’s now paying off.”

The Proper Food Festival has already visited North and South Shields this year, attracting a record number of people.

Each weekend provides a showcase for producers – whether they are brewers, butchers, distillers, bakers or chefs.

There are two more Proper Food and Drink Festivals this summer – Cramlington on July 28 and 29, and Blyth on August 11 and 12.

Mark and his wife Shelley also run the ever-popular North East Chilli Fest – which this year has a new home at Meggies Burn Fields at South Beach in Blyth and takes place from July 13 to 15.