Bidefood Fest 2023

If there’s one thing that makes Christmas, Christmas, it’s a Christmas market (buckle up; one sentence in and the “C” word has already been mentioned three times). My inner festive feelings won’t even begin to emerge until that first market has been visited. Luckily for me and the whole of Bideford, Lucy of Epic Events and Entertainment, had once again organised her socks off to bring us the Bideford Christmas Food and Drink Festival (Bidefood Fest), which took place on the final Sunday of November. Perfect timing to bring the town together and get the festive juices flowing ready for December. I was so glad I was able to join the fun; those inner festive feelings defrosted faster than Michael Bublé realising Heart Christmas was back on the airwaves.

Taking place, as always, in the historic Bideford Pannier Market, the hall was full as far as the eyes could see with the talented faces behind some of our most loved local businesses, as well as those from slightly further afield. From cocktails to fudge, brownies, pasties, falafel, hog roast, honey, chocolate, hot sauce and jewellery, to highlight just a few, it was a blessing that pay day was a few days before! It would have been a Christmas miracle if I left the festivities not spending a penny. Alas, it was not meant to be, as is always the case! Adorned with all the colours of Christmas and the biggest tree I ever did see, our town’s traditional market sparkled with all its festive cheer. Add into that all the traders sprucing up their stands too, I couldn’t help but crack a Christmas smile.

Left to right: The Garden Box; North Devon Hog Roast; Wilson’s Kitchen and The Sip Shed.

Being the foodie I am and not wanting to miss out on any of the produce, I arrived at the festival bang on opening time and was happy to see I wasn’t the only one with that idea! A sprinkling of fellow attendees made for a relaxed and spacious start to the day’s activities. Amongst my own chatter to the array of traders, some I’ve met many times before and others for the first time that day, my fellow early birds had exactly the same idea; get involved! We were asking questions about the produce, learning how the business started and what makes them unique, along with the normal, “how much is this?” that we all hate asking (you know it’s true). Before I knew it, my back pack contained handmade chocolates from Exmoor, a salted caramel brownie from Bideford, a bottle of chilli sauce from Torrington and all the business cards to remember everyone by (it was basically Santa’s sack!). And let’s not forget the takeaway box in my hand filled with the best falafel I’ve ever eaten. I’d call that a pretty successful morning!

Left to right: The Fizzy Pheasant; Fat Boy Fudge and Bishop’s Bees.

The minutes passed by just like Santa himself; you didn’t even know the time had been and gone! But what you did know was that by taking the time to visit our town’s small and mighty festival, you made the day of the local people working tirelessly behind the scenes of their businesses that warm our stomachs with their delectable treats. Or in my case, my whole body, because a glass of mulled rum at 11am is totally acceptable at Christmas! It’s no wonder this Christmas celebration of all things food and drink continues to grow year on year in our little white town. I, for one, cannot wait for the Bidefood festival’s yet to come.

Left to right: Moors Edge Chocolates; Bomb Brownies Salted Caramel Brownie; Wilson’s Kitchen Chilli Sauce and Mulled Rum from The Fizzy Pheasant.

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