This year will see not one but two new food and drink festivals bringing mouth-watering treats to Wearside.

The Sunderland Food and Drink Festival will take over the city centre between Friday 21st and Sunday 23rd June, with Keel Square, High Street West, Market Square and Blandfood Street all dedicated to the delights of gastronomy.

The festival will be headlined by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. Jean-Christophe has cooked for royalty, heads of state and Hollywood stars, and he is planning to cook up some of his very best speciality dishes to inspire the north east’s foodies.

Joining Christophe will be CBeebies’ Katy Ashworth and TV chef and author Dean Edwards.

The Sunderland Food and Drink Festival will feature stalls selling delicious street food, local produce and speciality food and drink. There will also be live music and street entertainers.

The focus of the event will be a marquee in Keel Square, which will offer free cookery demonstrations and master classes.

The Sunderland Food and Drink Festival is free to attend and is funded and organised by Sunderland City Council, Sunderland BID and RR Events.

The head of business operations at Sunderland BID, Sharon Appleby, said, “We’re excited to be bringing this new event to Sunderland.”

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase some of our fantastic restaurants, bars and independent food shops and also attract new people into the city centre to see some of the chefs in action and experience something new in Sunderland.”

The Sunderland Food and Drink Festival is not, however, the only treat awaiting Wearside’s foodies. A new family food festival will also be held in Houghton.

Scrantastic will take place on the Broadway and in Rectory Park between 17th and 19th May. Scrantastic is set to feature continental markets, speciality food, family entertainment and celebrity chefs.

Katy Ashworth will be appearing, as will local TV chef and MasterChef finalist Stacie Stewart. Another guest at Scrantastic will be the Great British Bake Off Finalist, food reporter and cookery teacher Steven Carter-Bailey.

Victoria French, the head of events at Sunderland City Council, said, “We had a huge year of events in 2018 and did a lot of research on what other events people would like to see in Sunderland.”

Food festivals featured highly so to be able to bring two such events to the city in the space of a couple of months is fantastic.”

“We’re absolutely delighted to have so many celebrity chefs already signed up and hope people get the dates in their diaries for two fantastic weekends of food and drink.”

Scrantastic is organised by Sunderland City Council and RR Events. The managing director of RR Events, Tony Walsh, said, “We already run regular continental markets in Sunderland so we’re excited to help them grow into two full festivals.”

“There’ll be a huge variety of food and drink to taste and buy, plus the chance to see celebrity chefs at work.”

More details of both festivals will be announced in the coming weeks. You can keep up-to-date with the plans at and  

(Featured image courtesy of alh1 from Flickr Creative Commons)

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