FOODIES travelled from far and wide to Beaminster’s Parnham House for a taste of West Dorset.

The Eat Dorset Food Festival put on a feast of sights, sounds and flavours over two days, with local producers and chefs providing a banquet for visitors.

This year the focus was on making food as outstanding as possible – arming visitors with the best methods for preparing, curing and cooking food.

And Annette Smallwood, co-founder of Eat Dorset, said that one of the surprise hits of the weekend was the demonstration of traditional methods of butchering a deer.

“It really was a highlight of the day – I had expected some people to turn away, but they were fascinated.

“We wanted to give people the chance to see and experience something they had not seen before. The hangi lamb, which is cooked buried in the ground, was great too and tasted delicious!”

Annette said that some 4,500 people had come to Parnham and she did not believe that the closure of the Beaminster tunnel had put people off.

“Eat Dorset is very much established as an annual event now and foodies will travel a long way.

“It is as much about enjoying yourself and having fun and we noticed that people are coming for the whole day, staying to have lunch, wander round the gardens and spending time watching the demonstrations.”

The demo kitchen staged appearances from Steve Lamb, of River Cottage, Lesley Waters hosted a pop-up version of her renowned cookery school; Mat Follas of the Wild Garlic in Beaminster helped children prepare chocolate fondants and Guiseppe Sinaguglia from Bridport’s Olive Tree gave a demonstration. Local producers showed off their wares and gave visitors the chance to sample before buying food of all kinds to take home.