Exciting connections and collaborations blossom at the Autumn Fayre at The Alnwick Garden

Oct 27, 2023

The final event of the HITS Programme got off to a stormy start, but by the end of the weekend the sun was shining and some great partnerships were formed.

The Artisan Autumn Fayre at The Alnwick Garden took place on Saturday 21st October and Sunday 22nd October within the Pavilion and Terrace at the entrance of The Alnwick Garden.

From 10am-4pm each day, there was a seasonal showcase featuring high-quality products from local food, drink and craft traders, as well as live music, street food, cookery demonstrations from Gareth Clarke, executive chef of The Treehouse Restaurant at The Alnwick Garden, who prepared a delicious signature dessert from the Treehouse’s menu using ingredients from local suppliers, and daily mixology sessions from Amble-based Hummingbird Drinks.

Speaking of the event, Chris Green of Hummingbird Drinks said, “Getting the chance to put our product out in front of a larger audience was great for us, the feedback was excellent and we were extremely happy with the sales too. We sold over one hundred cocktails across the two days which we weren’t expecting to do! 

“Alongside that, getting the chance to network with other businesses was invaluable for us. We’ve got some really exciting things planned with First and Last Brewery, and we also got the opportunity to chat with Davenport’s Chocolates and arrange a collaboration event! All in all, the weekend was amazing and we can’t wait to team up again and do some more exciting events.”

The ability to network and collaborate with other local businesses trading at the Artisan Autumn Fayre was one of the unexpected highlights for many of the businesses who attended the event.

Sam Kellie, of Northumberland-based First & Last Brewery, said, “We really enjoyed the Artisan Autumn Fayre at The Alnwick Gardens. We found it useful networking with other stall holders, especially Hummingbird Cocktails from Amble who we are going to be stocking in our brewery tap room in Bellingham. We’re also hoping to collaborate on a new beer in the new year with them.”

Jane Williams of Davenport’s Chocolates also shared this sentiment, saying, “One of the unexpected connections I made at the Artisan Autumn Fayre was with Hummingbird Drinks. After sharing tasters of cocktails and chocolates, I invited Hummingbird Drinks to collaborate with me at an upcoming chocolate workshop. Our #chocollaboration evening in February is going to involve tastings of cocktails, making a chocolate cocktail glass, and cocktail truffles. A great opportunity to bring chocolate and mixology together, and share our enthusiasm for artisan food and drink.”

Initially planned for three days, the Artisan Autumn Fayre took a hit from extreme weather conditions by Storm Babet which left the local businesses trading one less day, and in very wet conditions on the Saturday which affected their daily sales. However, by Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, the sun was shining again.

“Although the event was affected by the weather on Friday and Saturday, we experienced good sales on Sunday and found time over the weekend to network with local businesses including the Alnwick Garden Gift Shop who now stock our seasonal gift range,” says Andrew Calder of Calder’s Kitchen. 

“We also received an unexpected trade order to supply Alnwick Castle with some of our products for Christmas. So despite the difficulties earlier in the weekend, it turned out to be a really good event for us and definitely helped get our products out to a new audience.”

The Artisan Autumn Fayre at The Alnwick Garden was organised as the final event of the  Hospitality, Innovation, Tourism and Supply (HITS) Programme, delivered by Food and Drink North East (FADNE) in collaboration with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and NBSL, and funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority.