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In the run up to the big week in early November we’re excited to tell you more about the first New Forest Food & Drink Festival and what we’re up to.

Afternoon Tea, Cheese tasting with Mr Lyburn and Smoking Hot – a Smoke House Dinner – are just three of the newly announced headline events lined up for the first New Forest Food & Drink Festival which takes place this autumn.

There’ll be a week of culinary events, produce, tasting, dishes and activities for every foodie - all taking place under 15 themes showcasing the very best food and drink the Forest has to offer, from October 31 – November 6 2016.

Lime Wood, a boutique country house, is laid-back luxury at its best – the perfect location to headline the Heritage, Artisan and Charcuterie theme! Chef Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder do the cooking, pulling together both of their much admired signature styles, to create Hartnett Holder & Co, the hotel’s relaxed and stylish restaurant. Their vision is to produce locally sourced Italian dishes with a respectful nod to the seasons and to Italian culinary ideologies.

Guests are invited to attend on the evening of Monday October 31 and be welcomed with a glass of fizz, before tucking into a Smoke House feast. Each course will feature home cured and smoked meats or salmon from HH&Co's very own New Forest Smoke House.

Fans of the Very English Afternoon Tea won’t want to miss the headline event planned for this theme. The Michelin-starred Montagu Arms Hotel in Beaulieu village takes tea very seriously and no wonder – they were voted the Tea Guild’s ‘Top Country House Hotel Tea in the UK’ and Head Chef Matthew Tomkinson will be giving a talk on this very important tradition in quintessentially English surroundings. Starting his career in 1998, Matthew Tomkinson went on to win the prestigious Roux Scholarship in 2005 (at 29). In 2009 he won a Michelin star for the Terrace Restaurant and has retained his ranking ever since.

The tea, which takes place on Wednesday November 2, promises ‘A unique course by course tasting journey starting with a savoury selection of delicate finger sandwiches, warm served fresh oven-baked homemade scones, before arriving at an array of sweet treats.’

Headlining the Cheese & The Forest Larder theme on Friday November 4 is The Drift inn, set in the heart of the New Forest. The Drift Inn serves home cooked food and a great selection of ales, with wellies, walking boots and dogs always welcome. Mr Lyburn himself will be the guest speaker at the cheese tasting event, showcasing an array of locally handmade cheeses produced at Lyburn Farm. After a delicious tasting session, guests will be invited to choose from a variety of Ploughman’s, undoubtedly a true forest favourite.

For more information about these and the other events planned for the New Forest Food and Drink Festival see our New Forest Food & Drink Festival Menu pages.