Sophie Boxall, of Hampshire Fare, brings you this special feature about the forthcoming Hampshire Food Festival fortnight

With around 100 fantastic events at numerous venues across Hampshire, the Hampshire Food Festival (June 24 to July 9) aims to show that there is so much more to local food and drink than just a great meal.

Organised by county food group Hampshire Fare, the festival includes farm, brewery and vineyard tours, celebrity cookery demonstrations, talks, walks, special open days, food heritage events, themed meals, barbecues and tastings, with plenty of opportunity to try and buy!

This year, celebrity food writers and chefs cooking up a feast include James Martin (at Festival Place, Basingstoke, on Friday, July 7), Raymond Blanc (Laverstoke Park) and Sophie Grigson (Alton, both on July 1), chef director of The Ivy, and food writer for Saturday Independent magazine Mark Hix, together with BBC2's Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace (Winchester July 8, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support) and Rose Elliot (Alton, on June 28).

HRH The Prince of Wales has pledged his support for Hampshire Food Festival with a forward in the festival programme, saying: "I am delighted to send a message of the strongest possible support to the Hampshire Food Festival. "Hampshire has some of the most attractive countryside, but it depends utterly on a thriving agricultural economy. By encouraging as many people as possible to visit the county, taste its food and drink and explore its villages and market towns, the Hampshire Food Festival will help to preserve this precious cultural heritage."

Hampshire farmers' markets will be in full swing at weekends during the festival, and these are prime opportunities to buy fantastic Hampshire produce for eating at home. These include the largest farmers' market in the UK at Winchester on Sunday, June 25, and July 9.

Sponsored by Hampshire company Vitacress Salads Ltd, the Hampshire Food Festival programme is now available.

It is advisable to get hold of your copy as soon as possible from Hampshire Fare, as many events are sure to book up quickly!

There is a great choice of events, many of these are free, and there should be something to suit everyone's taste!"

Call 01962 845999 or e-mail for your free programme, or look out for copies at attractions, libraries, farm shops and at Hampshire Farmers' Markets.