3rd & 4th August 2024 STOCK GAYLARD, STURMINSTER NEWTON
It's going to be a scorcher - the 13th Great Dorset Chilli Festival
We're busy planning the 2024 festival, and we're hoping to have the chilli plant growing competition on the Saturday, and the chilli sauce competition on the Sunday. All weekend there will be talks on growing chilli plants, cooking-with-chilli demonstrations, and of course the chilli eating competitions on both days. We're hoping for a Chilli Cook-off competition this year, this is sure to be a great day out for chilli enthusiasts, food lovers and families. So if you enjoy the sensation of steam coming out of your ears then this is the Chilli Festival for you! We have some of the country’s most respected chilli companies showcasing their plants, seeds and condiments; chutneys, hot sauces, chilli chocolate, relishes, pickles and oils.
Speak to the experts and discover how to cook with chillies and which chillies to use that won’t blow your head off. The stallholders all love chillies and will be only too pleased to talk to you.
BUT if you don’t like it hot there’s plenty of choice from the stallholders for the less robust palette. Artisan cheeses, brownies, jams, kimchi, charcuterie, baklava, olives, herbs, garlic, Dorset ice cream, wooden chopping boards and smart kitchen knives for chilli-chopping, rum bar, ethnic clothes and bags, chilli-themed ceramics, beautiful artwork, leatherwork, jewellery...... .
Talks and Cooking Demonstrations
Local chefs will be in our demonstration tent showing you easy but delicious recipes, involving chilli of course. We're hoping celebrated chef and restaurateur Mark Hix will be in the GDCF kitchen, plus GDCF regular Mark Hartstone of La Fosse in Cranborne . Plus get tips from the experts Joy Michaud and Matt Simpson on growing chilli plants in our live experts sessions.
Delicious things to eat and drink
We'll have great street food: Thai curries, Caribbean curries, Indian curry, samosas, lamb burgers, seafood, vegan food, Greek kebabs, pizza, crêpes, bratwurst, lots of food with/without chilli will all be on offer . There will selection of beers, ales and cider to calm the tingling tongue. We’ll even have chilli cider, but if all you need is ice cold lager, we’ve got that too. Plus an artisan rum bar, bubble tea, Dorset-roasted coffee, Dorset dairy ice cream.....
Chilli Sauce Competition
We are holding the chilli sauce competition, giving you the a chance to taste artisan chilli sauces made by the stall holders themselves, and to vote for your favourites. Closes for judging at 3.30pm
Chilli Plant Competition
Open to anyone who grows their own chillies for pleasure, a chance to show off your best plant to a panel of expert judges. As ever, there will be two classes for 2024: everyone grows the same variety of chilli plant (TBC) for Class 1. Class 2, for any variety, pot grown in the 2024 growing season. To enter contestants just need to bring their plant with them to the Festival on SATURDAY 3rd August. PLEASE READ THE RULES BEFORE YOU ENTER! The 2023 rules are here: Chilli Plant Competition Rules
Chilli Eating Competitions (both days)
A highlight of the day, we'll hold the chilli eating competition at 4.00pm each day. Crazy contestants are invited to apply by email to us now; there's still space on Sunday. Contestants must enter themselves; you are not permitted to enter on someone else's behalf. You can download the entry form here.
Not all the food and samples at the Festival will be chillified, and there will be plenty of choice when it comes to lunch. There will also be bouncy castles, Face Painters, Falconry, circus workshops, land trains and pocketmoney toys. Children under 11 have free entry, and 11-15 year olds are just £2.50 in advance, unchanged since 2016.
This is a specialist food festival, not a music festival! But if you like a bit of music in the background we have some great bands such as Tome and The Clentynes, Quinns Quinney, Jamarca and the Mother Ukers. See the programme for updates. Of course we have the famous Mexican Mariachi trio all weekend, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
We have teamed up with Teemill to bring you organic cotton, ONLINE ONLY print-on-demand t-shirts. Available in 3 different logos, different shirt styles and a muiltitude of shirt colours. Go to to the T-shirt website here. Be quick if you want it in time for the GDCF on 5 & 6 August. These will NOT BE AVAILABLE at the festival.
Concerts in The Church
If you need some time out from the hustle and bustle, head over to the St Barnabas Church beside Stock Gaylard House. It dates from the 12th century and is still used for regular services. On Saturday 5th August there will be some informal concerts (flute, singing and poetry) with voluntary donations to raise money for the Red Cross in Ukraine. Performance times: 11.30am, 1.30pm, & 3.00pm
Frequently asked questions:
When does the festival open and close?
Gates usually open at 10am on both days with last entry at 4.30pm. Please follow festival road signs that will direct you to the festival car parks.
Can I bring my dog to the festival?
Yes, friendly dogs and responsible owners are welcome.
Can I pay by credit or debit card at the festival?
YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!!! We have a mobile signal at Stock Gaylard!!!
Is camping available?
There's currently no camping available for the visitors, but there is camping at www.littlerodmore.co.uk which is walking distance.
Is there disabled parking?
Yes disabled parking is available.
Are there disabled facilities?
Yes we provide disabled toilet facilities.
Is there a reduced rate for disabled people?
The Great Dorset Chilli Festival does not wish to discriminate against visitors with disabilities therefore the full admission rate will be charged. Contact us for carers rates.
Can I grow chilli plants in the UK?
Yes, of course! Chilli seeds are best planted in January or February, but you can plant them as late as March and April. They take a while to become established, but chilli plants like warm weather and good sunlight. They will be reaching maturity later in the summer. If we have a sunny September you will get fruit, but as the days get cooler and shorter consider bringing your chilli plant inside.
Is the Dorset Chilli Festival going ahead this year?
We are planning to run the Great Dorset Chilli Festival on 5th & 6th August 2023
Programme Of Events
SAMPLE EVENT PROGRAMME
|10:00||Festival Opens: Entries for the Chilli Plant Competition open|
|11:15||Music Tent: Tom & The Clementynes
|11:30||Talk Tent: Matt Simpson - growing chillies|
|12:00||Talk Tent: Mark Hartstone: Cranborne allotment vegetables with a spicy twist|
|12.30||Music Tent: Tom & The Clementynes
|13:00||Talk Tent: Mark Hix, celebrated chef and Dorset restaurateur|
|13:45||Music Tent: Quinns Quinney, Dorset skiffle|
|14:30||Falconry Flying Display: Beyond the Oak Avenue|
|15:00||Music Tent: Quinns Quinney, Dorset skiffle|
|15:15||Talk Tent: Joy Michaud - Ten Tips for Growing Chillies|
|15:30||Chilli Plant Competition Judging commences|
Chilli Eating Contest Come down to the Music Tent.
Chilli Plant Competition Winners Announced
|11:15||Music Tent: Mother Ukers
|11:30||Talk Tent: Joy Michaud of Dorset Naga fame
|12:00||Talk Tent: Mark Hartstone, Cranborne allotment vegetables with a spicy twist|
|12:30||Music Tent: Mother Ukers
|13:00||Talk Tent: Mat Follas, duck with bramble and chilli
|13:45||Music Tent: Jamarca
|13:45||Talk Tent: Dr Tim Woodman, capsaicin in medicine
|14:30||Falconry Flying Display : beyond the Oak avenue|
|15:00||Music Tent: Jamarca|
|15:15||Talk Tent: Matt Simpson - growing chillies|
|16:00||Chilli Eating Contest: Come down to the Music Tent|
Please note that final programme is subject to change.