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Ludlow Food Festival Goes Up in the World (3rd September 2013)

The economic impact of the Ludlow Food Festival is unrivalled: bringing 20,000 people and millions of pounds into the local economy. Now it’s spreading that success to the Shropshire Hills. In 2013, for the first time, one of its intriguing headline acts isn’t in the town – but at 952 feet, on a hill 8 miles from town. Testimony to the pulling power of the Festival are the early bookings for this novel event.

“Amongst the first bookings were diners from Cyprus, Germany and Sweden. They seem very happy ,after spending the day in Ludlow, to investigate where all this food is raised or grown. They are looking forward to the more unusual experience of dining in the Shropshire Hills” explained Simon Smith, chef and founder of the Secret Restaurant.

“A giant “pop-up restaurant” has been specially created - 70 lucky diners will get a seat. It will be all glittering red lights and red berries to celebrate autumn’s riches. The Shropshire Jewels menu celebrates the county’s wild hilltop produce: wimberries, damsons, crab apples, elderberries and rowans,” enthused Beth Heath, the Food Festival’s Operations Director.

The five-course banquet in a hundred year old Shropshire barn, [the ‘pop-up restaurant’], is shrouded in a deliberate element of intrigue, even mystery. It begins with a 15 minute ride to the ‘secret’ location. On arrival there’s a 20 minute ‘Eat the View’ gourmet stroll exploring the fruits of the fields and hedgerows.

Simon Smith’s South Shropshire eatery has been quietly building its reputation since 2010. “We’ve done wild food and foraging events before, but this is the biggest” he explained.

‘We’re expecting it to appeal to locals who want a taste of the Ludlow Food Festival but who don’t necessarily want to deal with the crowds,” said award-winning chef Simon Smith who is running the event.