Tucked away between the idyllic Cotswolds and the beautiful Welsh Marches lies the quaint Eastnor Castle. This year, the bank holiday left the gorgeous weather and the Chilli festival thriving with activity.
The Castle gates opened at 11am to the general public, big hats and suncream on hand. A short walk through the grounds led you past the enchanting notes from Pantasy Steel band, playing some great tunes for every set of ears.
The Castle courtyard held over 40 stalls from the usual sauce makers, sellers, distributors like Hot-Headz, The Chilli Pepper Company, Mr Vikki’s, Wiltshire Chilli Farm, Grim Reaper foods, Bim’s Kitchen, The Mini Jar Company, and Fire Foods to name a few. Along with these lovely folk there were several food stalls selling Churros, various hot and cold meals suitable for every taste, vegetarian, vegan and the meat fiends alike. A beer tent and other beverage sellers to quench thirst were also standing tall and seemed very popular.
The fantastic weather drew twice as many patrons in comparison to last year’s show. The Clifton Chilli Club hosted a chilli eating competition on both the Sunday and Monday, bringing a large crowd to the lawn to watch the madness that ensued.
It certainly made for some great entertainment and the whole crowd joined in cheering. Los Squideros played a few sets in their bright and happy red outfits, singing a mix of Mexican tunes and classics we all know and love.
Of course there was the castle to explore itself, open to the public to wander in and out as they please. There was a Chilli trail and a cookery theatre for the younger audiences. Whilst I wasn’t able to catch the cookery demonstrations on Indian cuisine and Egyptian mezze, I heard nothing but good things and was told numerous times that it was a great set to watch for inspiration and ideas.
All in all, the Eastnor Chilli Festival, in my opinion, was a great success. The day was beautiful, the stalls were varied and plentiful.There was something there for everyone to see and do, and the entertainment was a great crowd pleaser. Many happy people (except those suffering the effects of the chilli eating competition) left the festival that evening, with bags of goodies and smiles on their faces.
I look forward to next year as I’m told it is only going to get bigger!