A festival celebrating quality food and drink officially opens this weekend.
The 1066 Wine and Food Festival, starts at 4pm on Saturday, May 14, at Battle Abbey.
As well as English sparkling wine and canapés, the two-week long festival will be formally opened by wine critic and popular TV presenter Jilly Goolden.
Organiser Ken Maitland said: “In the 950th anniversary year of the Battle of Hastings, we are delighted English Heritage has allowed us the use of the novices quarters to launch the Festival.
“Battle Abbey School are providing some suitable musical entertainment to enhance the occasion in tune with the ambience of this historic site.”
Speaking about the event’s special guest, he said: “Jilly Goolden is an immensely knowledgeable and entertaining presenter with a wealth of experience in the field of English sparkling wine.”
Tickets for the opening are £15, including a glass of sparkling wine and canapes.
Following the opening, there will be two weeks of promotions and tastings from a number of wineries, restaurants and wine merchants throughout the area.
“We are very lucky in 1066 Country that we are at the heart of English wine country whose output is being recognised as world quality,” said Ken.
“Our traditional method sparkling wine is made in the same way and from the same grapes as Champagne, and regularly wins international prizes in competition with the world’s best sparkling wine – including Champagne.”
A full colour programme with articles about wine and food, maps of participating businesses and a competition is widely available throughout 1066 country.
On Sunday, May 22, there will be a Food and Drink Fair with free admission at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, with many products to sample and buy.
Offerings will include wine from a number of Sussex and Kent vineyards and a variety of foodstuffs from fudge to olive oil.
On the bank holiday Sunday (May 29), the festival will come to a close, with a finale event at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings.
It will include a pop-up wine bar featuring wines from around the world and music from Stax of Motown.
The festival is being organised on a non-commercial basis by volunteers with a love of wine and food to promote what 1066 country can offer in hospitality and tourism.
Any surplus from events will go to local causes such as the food banks.
Tickets for all of the above events are available from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre and online from www.1066wineandfoodfestival.com.
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