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It's been a heavenly food weekend

The top tier of an afternoon tea is always the best

We've had a family weekend. The sort where we all hang out together, do the same things, eat the same food (almost!), have the same fun.

It started with afternoon tea at Hardwicke Hall Manor Hotel on Saturday afternoon (although strictly speaking it started with beers in the garden on Friday evening!). It was a birthday gift, and not something we would normally do. I don't drink tea, I like my scones to have cheese in them (controversial?), and I'm fussy about sandwiches. True story. But it wasn't my birthday gift so it's not all about me. Anyway, this was a lovely break from the norm, helped by the glorious weather.

My favourite was the chocolate eclair. I do love choux. And chocolate. Together. The fruit topped meringue was good too and looked very pretty.  All in all, a nice experience for a non-afternoon-tea-er.

Our next food-related day out was Bishop Auckland. Not usually known as being the centre of the food world. Not until April each year...

Peppa Pig Pops on sale at the Bishop Auckland Food Festival

It's been the Bishop Auckland Food Festival this weekend. We live just a few miles outside of Bishop Auckland and always make an effort to visit at some point over the weekend. This year, unfortunately, we picked the rainiest day to go; not that it put us off a 50 minute walk into town to grab some treats.

I do find the festival is getting into a groove, in a good way. Due to renovations at Auckland Castle, the festival was a bit shoe-horned into the market place but that's my only complaint. It has a good mix of local traders, street food vendors, and all manner of other food related demonstrations, workshops, and entertainment.

Candice Brown, Great British Bake Off Winner 2016, gives a demonstration on making choux buns with pear and chocolate

The BAFF has a good vibe, it's good for the town, and we certainly look forward to it rolling round each year. As a food photographer and food lover, it's fab to have this on our doorstep (well, a decent walk through some fields, over a few fences, and in through the back of the grounds at Auckland Castle).

My favourite two purchases were some craft beer and some chocolate brownies. Obviously. 

English Pale Ale by Autumn Brewing Co based in Seaham, County Durham

The sample I had of the beer was delicious but the bottles themselves remain in the fridge to be devoured next weekend. I can not, however, say the same of the chocolate brownies....

Salted peanut brownie and chocolate orange brownie from Brown and Blond