Taste explosion as Chilli Fiesta opens at West Dean Gardens

Chilli Fiesta
Chilli Fiesta

Chilli Fiesta at West Dean Gardens will once again explode with all things chilli.

Spokeswoman Rachel Aked said: “Taking place from Friday, August 9 to Sunday, August 11, this family-friendly festival has something for everyone, and with onsite camping with great facilities, it is a perfect weekend break.

“Whether you want to dance to live Latin music with professionals from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, to watch cookery with contestants from Great British Bake Off, take in gardening demonstrations including a herb-inspired cocktail making masterclass, or escape to the outdoor cinema, there is lots to get involved with!”

Rachel added: “A variety of top chefs will be demonstrating their culinary expertise with creative chilli-based recipes in the Cookery Theatre. Miranda Gore Browne, finalist on the first series of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off, and author of Biscuit and Bake Me A Cake As Fast As You Can, will be hosting and demonstrating throughout the weekend.

“Chetna Makan, author of The Cardamom Trail and Chetna’s Healthy India, and The Great British Bake Off semi-finalist (2014) will be demonstrating her cooking skills on Saturday and Sunday. Using ingredients from all over the world and ideas you can easily recreate at home, they’re guaranteed to make your mouth water.”

There will also be a full programme of live music and dance

“Music on the front lawn stage plays from 11am until 9pm Friday, from 10.30am to 9.30pm Saturday and from 11am until 7.30pm on Sunday. Music continues in the Los Amigos Bar until 10.30pm Saturday and 9pm Sunday. Music for 2019 includes Kalison on the Friday. Enjoy Grupo Lokito and a musical/ firework finale on the Saturday. On the Sunday you can hear the Crawley Millennium Concert Band finale.

“Dazzling dance acts include Strictly Come Dancing’s Graziano Di Prima and his partner Giada Lini, who will be performing on Sunday, August 11, and Brazilian and Flamenco dance performances across the weekend. Timetables and details of more acts will be available soon.”

Gardening talks and tours also feature: “Hear from a variety of experts with gardening talks and demonstrations in the Gardening Theatre. Mark Diacono will be hosting the Gardening Theatre this year and will be giving talks on his book Taste of the Unexpected. Visitors can learn about unusual, delicious edibles that anyone can grow – everything from Szechuan pepper to Carolina allspice.

“Mark will also be running Garden Cocktail tasting sessions, where he’ll share his expert knowledge on how to grow herbs and incorporate them into delicious cocktail recipes. Wildlife writer for The Guardian and author of The Wildlife Gardener, Kate Bradbury will be talking about her passion for organic wildlife-friendly gardening, and Lia Leendertz will also be appearing in the theatre over the weekend and discussing the month of August from her 2019 Almanac.

“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. Browse the plant sale at the Gardens Shop for chilli plants to take home and grow and eat for yourself.”

Rachel added: “There is plenty to keep children entertained at Chilli Fiesta including: a new slackline and circus skills workshop; a drop-in art centre; outdoor cinema with popular family films each day; vintage funfair including smaller children’s’ rides eg mini Austin cars and train ride; face painting and Isabella’s Story Bicycle, which includes walkabout and storytelling, but also goodnight stories in the campsite!”

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