Things will be hotting up (in the culinary sense that is) in West Sussex this weekend, as West Dean Gardens host their annual Chilli Fiesta.
The Chilli Fiesta is a family friendly event with cooking demos, stalls, displays, live music, dance, talks, and activities, all set in the grounds of West Dean. The festival also features full camping facilities on the West Dean Estate, which is situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park.
Chefs will demonstrate their culinary expertise with creative chilli based recipes in the Cookery Theatre. Chefs will include Miranda Gore Browne, author and finalist on the first series of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off, who will be hosting and demonstrating throughout the weekend; and Chetna Makan, author of The Cardamom Trail and Chetna’s Healthy India, who will be demonstrating her cooking skills on Saturday and Sunday, using ingredients from all over the world.
Visitor’s can hear from a variety of experts with gardening talks and demonstrations in the Gardening Theatre. This year, Mark Diacono will host and give talks on his book Taste of the Unexpected. Visitors will be able to learn about unusual and delicious edibles that anyone can grow: everything from Szechuan pepper to Carolina allspice.
Diacono will also be running garden cocktail tasting sessions, where he’ll share his expert knowledge on how to grow herbs and incorporate them into cocktail recipes.
Kate Bradbury, wildlife writer for The Guardian and author of The Wildlife Gardener, will be talking about her passion for organic wildlife-friendly gardening. There will be talks from chilli-growing experts throughout the weekend, and opportunities to see displays of a huge variety of chilli plants, in the Victorian Glasshouses on the daily tours with the West Dean gardeners. There will also be chilli plants for sale at the Gardens Shop.
Family and children’s entertainment at this year’s Fiesta will include a slackline and circus skills workshop, a drop-in art centre, an outdoor cinema, a vintage funfair, face painting, and Isabella’s Story Cycle, which includes walkabouts and storytelling, as well as goodnight stories in the campsite.
Over the weekend, there will be a whole host of opportunities to taste chilli themed foods with more than 140 shopping stalls selling chilli gifts, plant seeds and produce, plus there will be five different bars to visit for refreshments.
There will be live music on the front lawn stage and in the Los Amigos Bar, with performances from Kalison on the Friday, Grupo Lokito and a musical/ firework finale on the Saturday, and a finale from Crawley Millennium Concert Band on the Sunday.
Dance acts will include Strictly Come Dancing‘s Graziano Di Prima and his partner Giada Lini, and Brazilian and Flamenco dance performances.
When: 9th – 11th August 2019
Where: West Dean Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0QZ
£: Adult day tickets cost from £19 and children’s day tickets cost £3. Weekend tickets and camping also available
More info: www.westdean.org.uk