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Arley turns up the heat with Chilli Festival
FIREY heat will finally defeat the cold and rain when a Northwich venue turns a chilly summer into a chilli summer.
Arley Hall and Gardens, in Northwich, is preparing for its third annual Chilli Festival on Tuesday, August 21.
Salsa dancing will spice up the event, along with a host of traders offering chilli-themed treats, from pizzas and sauces to beers and vodka.
Helen Robinson, event organiser, said: “It’s doubled in size every time and our intention is to really put ourselves on the map and get bigger and bigger each year.”
She confessed that she would not be putting her taste buds too much to the test during the day.
“My favourite has got to be the chilli chocolate,” she said.
“But chilli is a bit too hot for me, I prefer it very mild.”
Head gardener Gordon Baillie is the resident chilli fan and has grown more than 150 plants covering 80 varieties in readiness for Arley’s own stall at the festival.
Fellow gardener Dave Groom said: “Gordon is our chilli freak – he cooks with them, bottles them up and makes oil with them too.
“He won’t let us near the plants, they’re his little babies,” he joked.
Dave said the unseasonal summer weather had almost defeated this year’s crop.
“The weather’s been so cold and miserable,” he said.
“This time last year the plants were in full fruit but this year they’re only just coming into flower.
“They just need a bit of sunshine and warmth.”
The Chilli Festival is sponsored by Nando’s which has donated prizes for a quiz during the event.
Admission is free to the festival, although charges apply for the hall and gardens, and the event will take place from 11am to 3.30pm.