Festival tingles the tastebuds

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CELEBRITY guests, ambitious local chefs and street entertainers served up a treat for 84,000 visitors to the city’s 13th annual rhubarb festival this weekend.

Former Coronation Street star Sean Wilson showed off some new produce from his very own Saddleworth Cheese Company on Saturday afternoon.

And in the evening renowned television chef Jean-Christophe Novelli’s chicken fricassee with chocolate helped to raise more than £9,000 for Wakefield Hospice at a charity dinner at the Cedar Court Hotel.

Meanwhile, bands were rocking the Bull and Fairhouse, on George Street, at a small music festival called Rhubarb Rocks.

A festival trail took visitors on a tour of nine independent businesses from the Wakefield district showcasing cheeses, meat products, jams and preserves, drinks and sweet and savoury bakery items.

And a specialist food market offered a range of unique produce to visitors during the day on both Friday and Saturday.

This year’s Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb, organised by Wakefield Council, has been nominated for a Visit Britain tourism award in the regional ‘Where Else But England’ category.

If it wins, the festival will go through to the national finals on Friday April 15.

Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “The festival was a huge success again this year and we’ve received lots of great feedback from visitors, many of whom came with coach trips and some from as far afield as Spain.

“Local businesses were also pleased as events like this attract thousands of visitors who pump money into our local economy.

“We are extremely proud to be up for this award which goes to show just how popular the festival is. Now it’s up to the public to vote and help it get to the national finals.”

To vote for the rhubarb festival, visit www. experiencewakefield.co.uk