THE QUEEN Mother of all food festivals proved a hit with thousands of people at Poundbury.

Dorset’s top chefs and producers served up the best the county has to offer at the third Dorset Food and Arts Festival at Queen Mother Square on Saturday.

Produce on show ranged from shellfish to charcuterie and marshmallows to water buffalo.

The festival was held on the weekend closest to the birthday of the late Queen Mother, which coincided with the monthly Dorset Farmers’ Market in Poundbury.

It was mainly organised by Dorset Food and Drink, Fanny Charles and the Duchy of Cornwall at Poundbury.

Simon Conibear, estate director for the Duchy of Cornwall at Poundbury, said: “It has been an absolutely fantastic festival – I’d say it has been better than ever.

“It is the combination of all things Dorset – not just in food but the music and art. It’s a free event and people around here like to do fun things.”

Stallholders included members of Dorset Farmers Markets and the food producers group Dorset Food and Drink, celebrating its first anniversary at the festival.

There were two bars run by Blandford brewers Hall & Woodhouse, who also sponsored the event, and Palmers Brewery.

Food and drink was served throughout the evening from a variety of different stalls.

This year the festival offered an all-day music programme including folk musicians Howling At The Moon and Dorset’s Got Talent winner Annabel Davies.

In the evening there was poetry from town crier Alistair Chisholm band music from the Drummer Hodge Community Play Band as well as the New Hardy Players’ production of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Scenes.

There was also a line-up of demonstrations in the Dorset Farmers’ Market mobile kitchen by three leading chefs including chefs Matt Budden of Highcliff Grill at the Bournemouth Marriott Hotel, Mark Hartstone, of La Fosse at Cranborne and Brett Sutton of the White Post Inn at Rimpton near Sherborne.

One of the organisers Fanny Charles added: “It is a real celebration of food and drink and because it is free more people come in and the chefs and producers have done really well.”

Katharine Wright, of Dorset Food and Drink, added that Poundbury was the perfect location and that at least 3,000 people attended the festival.