Chilli Fiesta to spice up West Dean

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West Dean Gardens award-winning Chilli Fiesta is set to return with a creative flair for its 27th year.

Set to take place on August 11, 12 and 13, the UK’s biggest chilli festival attracts 25,000 visitors who come to enjoy the three-day programme full of food, live music and entertainment.

The family-friendly festival takes place in the grounds of West Dean Estate, with a sizzling selection of live performances, 140 market stalls, cookery demos by top chefs, and garden tours, so visitors can expect to party and dance to live Latin music, watch cookery and gardening demonstrations, and dine on delicious chilli foods.

Live Latin music and dance performances throughout the weekend start at 10am on all three days and finishing at 9pm on Friday, 10.30pm on Saturday and 9pm on Sunday. Performances for 2017 will include: Andalus – the leading Gipsy Kings tribute band as well as the rumba, afro-jazz band - Kongo Dia Ntoltila. Big Noise Band – the community Samba Band, will be returning by popular demand, as will Steel Strum - the steel pan, acoustic

guitar and percussion trio.

Festival-goers will be dazzled by the legendary Latino Strictly Come Dancing professional, Oti Mabuse, as she takes centre stage on Sunday at 12.15, 14.15 and 16.45. Salsa dancers Debbi and Francisco will be turning up the heat with interactive workshops and performances taking place throughout the weekend.

Visitors can pick up new culinary skills in the Cooking Theatre as they experience live food demonstrations by a host of top chefs, expert chef at the renowned Duck and Waffle and MasterChef champion Steve Edwards. Rosie Birkett, chef, food stylist and journalist will be putting on interactive workshops as will Kate Morris, who specializes in cookery skills for children. Using ingredients from all over the world, these chefs will be sharing their knowledge in an easy and relatable manner, ensuring visitors will take away skills they can easily recreate at home.

Learn the true art of growing chillies with expert chilli farmer Chris Fowler, who grows 300 different types of peppers in his South Wales poly-tunnel. He and Dave DeWitt, food historian and world leading authority of chillis and spices will be sharing their knowledge

through a series of talks and tours throughout the festival. Visitors can explore West Dean’s Victorian glasshouses bursting with chilli plants.

Artist Chloe Dowsett will be working with a team of artists on installations with a Mexican theme in the spring garden. New for 2017 is the Hidden Cinema with three screenings a day, including an art film and a children’s screening. Brand new workshops will offer dance,

drumming, food and children’s cookery.

There will be a selection of bars onsite and a wide range of chilli-related food stalls to fire up the taste buds. With over 140 stalls, visitors can expect a great variety of quirky gifts available to purchase, from hot and spicy foods of the world to chilli plants, seeds and produce so visitors can continue the Chilli Fiesta back at home. All shopping stalls close at 6pm but there will be a range of food and drinks open into the evening as the entertainment continues.

To get tickets, and to find out more, visit www.westdean.org.uk/gardens/events/chilli-fiesta.

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