‘“Chilly” is an adjective that was long associated with Eastnor Castle before we restored the central heating system. We kept the word association going with the “Big Chill”, which last year celebrated its tenth anniversary at Eastnor. We will miss the festival this year as it is having a rest while many of its faithful customers will be watching the Olympics or going abroad to avoid them, but we look forward keenly to its return in 2013. In the meantime, we are organising our own Chilli Festival, not as much to keep the theme going, but because we think it will be an excellent new event for our visitors to the Castle.
We have seen the success of the chilli festivals at Levens Hall through our membership of the Historic Houses Association and felt the distance between Cumbria and Herefordshire was enough to allow us to follow their example without competing, so now we look forward to having 40 exhibitors set up their stalls in the Courtyard. Visitors will be able taste and buy curry sauces and pastes, pickles and jams, chilli chocolate, cheese and vodka. There will be specialist hot food suppliers selling curries and other spicy food.
Local suppliers will include Monkhide Wines, The Velvet Bean and Ambalama Spices, Rayeesa, a curry expert will lead cookery demonstrations in a covered area, Los Squideros, a Hereford-based Mexican band, will provide live entertainment, and for children there will be a Chilli Trail, stilt walker and fire juggler.
We have had a lot of interest so far, I hope it will be a great success… and also that someone will be selling bananas to absorb the heat!!
JH-B 22nd April 2012