It's every local food-lovers’ dream.

More than 70 mouth-watering stalls offering Caribbean dishes, French cuisine, Mexican fare and even zebra burgers filled St George’s Square yesterday, as Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival kicked-off another taste-tastic year.

Thousands of visitors flocked to the opening of the four-day event to sample a range of delicacies from around the world.

From cheeses, breads, sausages, ciders and homemade ice-cream, to real ales, brandy, exotic meats and the best selection of local restaurant dishes, foodies were spoiled for choice as they enjoyed the sunshine.

Sasha Quinn, of the Natural Cider Company, said business was always booming when they visited Huddersfield.

She said: “It is going really well and we have been busy since 10am. We don’t usually get a lot of drinkers before noon – except when we’re in Huddersfield. The event grows here every year.”

Mohammed Amjad, of restaurant Poppadom, on Wakefield Road, was cooking up a treat with a range of curries and Indian food. He said: “The first day is always a bit rocky but we’ll have them lining up by the end of the day.

“The weather is great this year and it’s that whole festival atmosphere.

“It is about being here and being seen. For us it is fantastic and the best way to advertise our business.”

 

Paddock mum Lisa Miller was among the expected 150,000 visitors enjoying the good weather with children Harvey, 10, and Erin, eight, as well as her father Michael Swallow.

Lisa said: “It’s such a good atmosphere, we always like to come down and try all the different things on offer. We’ve been the last few years and it’s always a good day out.”

A few changes have been made to the popular festival – in its 13th year – taking on board feedback from last year’s event.

The main tent, where cookery demonstrations and contests take place, has been moved back to offer more space in the middle of the square.

The tent, now located nearer the train station, will still be running a full programme of events involving Huddersfield’s most talented chefs over the next few days.

Will Orme, of the Woodman Inn, at Thunderbridge, was gearing up to do his first cookery demonstration.

The chef was impressing crowds with his pan-fried seabass, potato gnocchi and lobster bisque.

He said: “I’m a little bit nervous but really pleased to be here. It’s a great event and so good to see so much local produce.”

Extra tables and chairs have been provided in the main square this year to offer people more space to enjoy the live music and atmosphere, as well as more toilet facilities.

Cathy Burger, manager for the Huddersfield Town Centre Partnership, which organises the event, said: “Every year, we say the festival gets bigger and better, but it’s true.

“Our stall numbers have grown to 73 this year and for the first day, our visitor numbers are up too.

“People love coming down to try the different foods and sample different cultures in a safe environment. There’s no traffic so people can just sit and enjoy the atmosphere. It is a nice day out for all the family.”

The event will run from 10am to 10pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 11am to 6pm on Sunday.

For a full list of events visit www.foodanddrinkfestival.org.uk

Free children’s workshops are proving a hit with families at theFood and Drink Festival.

Youngsters of all ages got the chance to sample a range of different sessions, as part of a full programme during the four-day event.

Families packed into the kids’ zone to try their hands at making chocolate, pasta and pizza.

While arty youngsters rolled up their sleeves to do balloon modelling or creating masks from recycled packaging, with help from the Holmfirth-based fairandfunky team.

Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival, St George's Square, Huddersfield. Entertainers draw the crowds with the help of visiting children
Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival, St George's Square, Huddersfield. Entertainers draw the crowds with the help of visiting children
 

Sarah Brook, of Greetland, was lining up to try pasta-making with four-year-old Grace. She said: “We’ve come every year, since Grace was a baby.

“It brings everyone together as a community and has loads to offer families. It’s fantastic.”

Emma Simons, of Golcar, was also looking forward to the children’s workshops with daughters Polly, seven, Matilda, six and three-year-old Jemima.

She said: “We really enjoy coming here and it’s great to find free activities that the children can enjoy.”

Musicians were also calling on children to get involved in the street entertainment.

Youngsters got into the groove with live band The Loop, as they were given the chance to try their hands at drumming.