TV CHEF Gennaro Contaldo and The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson headline this year’s month-long Steyning District Food & Drink Festival, which is staged this month.

The chef, best known for the BBC series Two Greedy Italians, is the star turn at the Italian Extravaganza event when he will join guests for Prosecco, dinner, an interview about his life and a personal signing of his book Passione.

Gennaro Contaldo

Julia Donaldson

Ms Donaldson, who lives near Steyning and whose latest book The Everywhere Bear was published earlier this year, will judge the Best Food Theme Shop Window competition in the final week of the festival, which runs from Saturday September 2 until Sunday October 8.

For beer fans, Roger Protz, real ale campaigner and editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, will also be visiting for a beer-tasting event and book signing, and a three-day Beer Festival, organised by Adur Brewery and Riverside Brewery, will also be held during the festival.

This year’s festival is the fifth and is being run under the umbrella of the Horsham Food & Drink Festival, organised by Horsham District Council.

The 2017 festival has named its charity as the Chestnut Tree House Hospice for Children and is holding its main charity event, the Safari Dinner staged in four different eateries in Steyning, as well as a series of Breakfast/Lunch/Pizza Moments, to raise money for it.

Roger Protz

Festival organiser Reina Alston says, “It’s a real fun four weeks – we enjoy it, and we hope visitors will too. The festival has received awesome support from the local businesses, who have come forward with a range of outstanding special offers, together with some fantastic events.”

Among the events are:
• The Farmers’ Market, the winner of the Best Sussex Farmers’ Market award at the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2014/2015, which opens the festival on September 2 and closes it on October 7. The market includes fun events such as cooking demonstrations, Ready, Steady, Cook sessions and the October Pumpkin Weight as well as a selection of food and drink stalls.

• The Italian Extravaganza with author and TV chef Gennaro Contaldo, whose protege is chef Jamie Oliver and who stars in BBC2’s Two Greedy Italians with Antonio Carlucci, joins guests an evening to raise money for the Chestnut Tree House Hospice for Children.

• The Safari Supper,
described as “an enchanting evening floating from one eatery to another”, on September 6 with venues including Chez Joel, The Cobblestone Tea House, The Sussex Produce Cafe and The Star.

• A Family Foodie Fun Day in Steyning’s unique Cobblestone Walk.

• The first Great Steyning Festival Bake Off, with categories including Best Decorated Cake, Best Cup Cake and Best Victoria Sponge with professional judges and prizes for the winners.

• The first Tasty Cycle Ride, organised by Stan’s Bike Shack and the Brighton Excelsior Cycling Club, with a BBQ waiting for the cyclists at the end.

• Walks taking in the South Downs National Park, Farm Walk, Birds at Dawn Walk, Pubs & Brewery History Walk and Ashurst Tasty Walk.

• Workshops and demonstrations including Hedgerow Booze, Perfume Making, Ladies Cocktail Making, Wreath Making, and Edible Flowers and their use within cooking.

• Events at three local churches to coincide with their Harvest Festival services.

• The Best Allotment Competition, covering allotments in Steyning and Upper Beeding, will be judged by farming expert Derek Crush, from Daylands Farm.

• Festival offers include: free bottles/glasses of wine; discount on wine/meals; free desserts; discounts on cookery courses; discounts within shops; free cups of coffee; free sweeties;
special offer lunch and dinner, and buy one, get another product free.

Full details of the offers are in the official Horsham Food & Drink Festival Guide, which is available from the businesses taking part in the festival in Steyning, Bramber, Upper Beeding, Small Dole, Edburton, Ashurst and Wiston, and also distributed in the Horsham area. Most participants will request sight of the official programme before an offer can be taken up.

• The Best Food Theme Shop Window competition is held in the final week of the festival, with all shops encouraged to take part. Julia Donaldson will judge the competition at 11am on October 7th.

For the full programme of events and for details of all the offers, visit

The Farmers’ Market

Cobblestone Walk

A nest of Sussex eggs

Pip Goring with a bottle of Wiston sparkling wine

A cooking demonstration at the Farmers’ Market

homemade pizza with Les and Ellie at the Artisan Bakehouse

A Pickit Cookit Workshop