For the first time ever, foodies at this year's Bishop Auckland Food Festival will be given the chance to tour some of the county's finest producers thanks to a unique partnership between the festival and Visit County Durham's Taste Durham initiative.
The guided tour will take festival-goers on a culinary journey across the county, visiting some of Durham's most exciting local producers.
Participants will be picked up by the Tasty Tours bus from the festival site at 12 noon on Sunday 2 April and whisked off for a unique afternoon of foodie fun.
The tour will start with an exclusive preview visit to McColls Brewery, which officially opens later this spring. This new addition to the growing North East brewery scene will be producing beers that are unashamedly British. Guests of BAFF's Tasty Tours will be some of the first to visit this little brewery in Teesdale and will have the opportunity to try a few samples and even take home a beer or two.
Next, the tour will move on to Bradley Burn Farm Shop. Nestled in the Durham Dales countryside, the farm shop is housed in a beautiful log cabin overlooking the burn flowing past. Here there will be the opportunity to taste fine local cheeses paired with chutney and there will also be a jar of Bradley Burn's own chutney to take home. And the last stop on the tour will take guests to Cross Lanes Organic Farm. The farm is run and built entirely on eco principles with organic, local and green thinking at the heart of everything they do. Here there will be the opportunity to take part in a masterclass making sausages, which participants then get to take home.
Cllr Neil Foster, portfolio holder for economic regeneration, arts and culture, said: "This is a fantastic addition to the festival, and furthermore is a great opportunity to find out more about the culinary delights County Durham has to offer"
As well as there being a Durham Producer Market at the festival, the chefs hosting demos and masterclasses during the event will be utilising Durham produce, including Tom and Henry Herbert, The Fabulous Baker Brothers, who plan to use spring lamb from Broom House Farm in their 'posh kebabs'.
A film is also being produced to promote the food and drink experiences visitors can enjoy, featuring some of the eateries, local produce and, of course, the county's biggest food festival, BAFF, which help put Durham firmly on the menu for food lovers.
Taste Durham is a Visit County Durham initiative which supports improvement in the quality of the county's food and drink offer, encourages the use of local produce to develop distinctiveness, and provides a platform to promote Durham as a foodie destination. Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, said:
"With over a third of a visitor's total expenditure being spent on food and drink, this sector has an important role to play in the local economy, which is why Visit County Durham launched the Taste Durham initiative. We are delighted that Taste Durham is being featured throughout the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, with the new partnership producing exciting additions to the 2017 programme"