The Topsham Food Festival
A weekend celebration of eating and drinking June 13-15th

Topsham Food Festival

Topsham, Devon June 13-15th, 2008 A fabulous weekend of food and drink celebrations will be taking place in Topsham from June 13-15th during the first Topsham Food Festival. This community event aims to showcase the excellence of local and locally sourced food and drink, and to bring the community together through the sharing of food and food related experiences, culminating on Sunday evening in “Nello’s Longest Table”, a communal feast that will be Topsham’s biggest street party ever. The Topsham Food Festival is a community volunteer event, with funds raised going to the Matthews Hall Modernisation Appeal and Force Cancer Charity.

The weekend programme starts off on Friday June 13th with an evening of food films screened in association with the Topsham Film Society in Matthews Hall. The films are ‘Big Night’ at 6pm (“A big-hearted delight” – Time Out) and ‘Mostly Martha’ at 8.30pm (“Touching, loving and … hunger-making” – The Independent). During the interval, cinema-goers are encouraged to bring a picnic. There will be wine and soft drinks on sale and the bar opens at 5.30pm. Entrance (for one or both films) is £4 with tickets available on the door.

On Saturday June 14th, there will be a fantastic array of food and drink workshops, demonstrations and happenings taking place throughout the day in The Courtyard of The Globe Hotel, at Darts Farm, and in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar. Highlights include Gerald David parading his prize cow (there will be a ‘hunt the poo’ competition) and James Chubb preparing a ‘rock pool paella’ at Darts Farm; a children’s taste workshop with food writer Natacha du Pont de Bie and a demonstration of hand-making of tajarin pasta with Italian one-star Michelin chef Fulvio Siccardi in The Globe; and a tasting of Topsham brewed ales with local brewing enthusiast Greg Towning as well as a Nebbiolo masterclass with winemaker Mario Fontana in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar. These events are open to the public, most of them free of charge.

On Saturday evening, The Green at Matthews Hall becomes the venue for an outdoor festival of music and food. There will be a food marquee with some really fantastic local foods on sale to eat outdoors (or inside Matthews Hall in case of bad weather), including a pig roast by Andrew Freemantle of Kenniford Farm; a fish barbeque by Dave Kerley of The Fish Shed; a special menu of grilled meats, salads and puddings by Antonia’s Kitchen; wood-fired pizzas; juices and ciders by Heron Valley; wines from Pebblebed and more. Music is by local groups, and ranges from a wind quintet to jazz and rock with possible impromptu guest appearances from well known local musicians.

Sunday June 15th is in preparation for the Nello’s Longest Table communal feast. The monthly Slow Food Devon Topsham Market opens in Matthews Hall an hour earlier than usual (10am-2pm) and will have a range of wonderful artisan foods available for people to take home to prepare their meals for the evening feast. Darts Farm is offering a range of specially suggested festival foods throughout their food hall. And some local Topsham food and drink shops are opening especially for the Festival feast.

At 2pm, Topsham’s Fore Street is officially closed to traffic, with all vehicles requested to be moved off the street. Some 250 tables are being delivered, and teams are in place to set the tables up the full length of Fore Street, as well as around Ferry Road and the Underway, and on Topsham Quay. The tables will be laid with tablecloths and numbered in readiness for Nello’s Longest Table feast. Those who have purchased tables will bring along their own meals prepared from local and locally sourced foods, their friends and family, and their own chairs!

The idea for the Longest Table was originally that of Nello Ghezzo, a local Topsham restaurateur and much loved member of the Topsham community. Sadly, Nello died in 1999, but his memory lives on, through the annual Force Century Challenge bicycle ride, and now through Nello’s Longest Table. In a true spirit of international friendship, groups of Italians from Piedmont and Tuscany are coming over to take part in the Topsham Food Festival, share food and wine with friends and new friends.

Throughout the week of the Festival, Topsham restaurants, pubs and cafes are offering special Topsham Food Festival menus based on local and locally sourced produce and ingredients. Look out for the Festival logo on menus – not only will you enjoy some fantastic local foods, a donation from every menu or dish sold will be contributed to the Topsham Food Festival fund.

The Topsham Food Festival has a long-term goal: to be the start of an on-going “shop locally” campaign. The Festival highlights so much that is outstanding and excellent, literally on our doorsteps. Topsham residents are fortunate indeed to have such a wealth of food shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes and it is up to the community to support these local businesses.

For the full Topsham Food Festival program, visit

For further information contact Liz Hodges at The Globe on (01392) 873471, Marc Millon on (01392) 873778, or email

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