Steyning is a pretty and historic market town, that seems to breed creativity and inspire local producers and makers. With the South Downs hovering charismatically in the background, September is the perfect time for their Steyning Food and Drink Festival which starts on the 3rd of September and runs to the 1st of October. It’s an amazing opportunity to eat out, learn about local producers, take in some great walks and history and enjoy great tastings of food and wine.
The festival, which also includes local villages like Ashurst, Bramber, Edburton, Small Dole, Upper Beeding and Wiston, is a packed and diverse combination of events, experiences, and discounts throughout the month. Local businesses involved include shops, eateries, attractions, accommodation, vineyards and breweries. The festival charity this year is the St Barnabas House Hospice and so the festival is also peppered with fun fundraising activities.
A celebration of local artisans and producers
The festival programme is an eye opener and showcases the enormous wealth of amazing local food, drink, and talent in the Steyning area and you really need the programme to hand as you plan how best to take advantage of all that is on offer. The festival month is top and tailed with the usual Farmers Market (held on the first Saturday of each month) where you can expect lots of fabulous local producers: meat from Danefold Farm, chutneys from the Quirky Mixologist, drinks from local breweries and craft gin and spirit makers like Slake Spirits and Spirit of the Downs. There’s also going to be gin, vodka, and brandy tasting as well as coffee and chocolate tasting.
Throughout the month lots of local businesses, cafés, eateries, and pubs have special offers, including the much-acclaimed Chalk Restaurant at the Wiston Estate and the award-winning Artisan Bakehouse who will be running some their bread-making workshops. You’ll also find discounts on everything from meals and cakes, to luxury breakfast, or pottery.
From tasting and tours to recipes and seed swaps
You can also enjoy a wine and food pairing event at Wiston, and a special event on the 17th of September in Cobblestone Walk which will include seeds swaps, breadmaking, and a local beekeeper. There are also farm walks followed by cream teas, a supper club event, a tour of a salmon smokery, chocolate-making masterclasses, brewery tours, and community apple juicing. Local businesses such as Cocoa Loco and Higgidy will be sharing recipes, and various eateries will be creating special charity dishes to support the festival’s fundraising efforts. And let’s not forget to celebrate Beer Festival Week at The Star or try product tasting at The Sussex Grocer.
Lots of the slightly less food-related businesses have joined in the spirit of the festival, with Steyning Museum hosting an exhibition about the area’s brewing history, called “Booze! Made in Steyning” and nearby St. Mary’s House and Gardens hosting a special tea room offer. The lineup of those involved is, in short, quite astonishing and the event concludes with a gala evening at Tottington Manor.
Of course, all good events have their unsung heroes, and the Steyning Food and Drink Festival is supported by a number of local sponsors including Rushfields Plant Centre, The Sussex Grocer, Cocoa Loco, Higgidy Pies, Steyning & District Business Chamber, Steyning & District Community Partnership, Steyning Parish Council and Horsham District Council.
In order to take up any of the festival offers you will need to show to the business involved, either the Festival Guide or the Festival Website Pass (downloadable from the website). You’ll find lots more information on their festival website www.steyningdistrictfooddrinkfestival.co.uk.
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