The organisers of a cancelled County Durham festival have launched a virtual food festival for the 2020 traders who could not trade at this year’s event, aiming to support local businesses through Covid-19.

Durham County Council’s annual Bishop Auckland Food Festival, originally scheduled to take place on 18 and 19 April, was cancelled in response to government guidance on Coronavirus.

However, a range of exciting street food, tempting tipples and indulgent cakes and desserts are all still on the menu thanks to the new directory. With the nation in lockdown, and food events cancelled across the county, many of the festival’s producers are offering special discounts and deliveries direct to people’s homes.

Foodie fans can view details of all the tasty treats on offer, at

From local cheeses, baked breads and vegan bakes, to spicy sauces, delicious chocolates and macarons, the website showcases the very best of the region’s produce.

Examples of some of the great virtual festival initiatives include an April-long discount from Calders Kitchen, which is offering a mixed box of any three handmade piccalillis for £10, plus a 20 per cent discount off all online purchases; and street food company Hogs N Chix which is offering its delicious hog roast as frozen meals with contactless delivery.

Sarah England of Hogs N Chix, said: “We are a local family business, we will miss Bishop Auckland Food Festival, it is the highlight of our year. We created the Yorkie Wrap especially for the Festival in 2016, we are devastated that we can’t be there to trade this year

“Like lots of traders we are having to diversify and have come up with a unique menu aimed at people that are socially isolating, including individuals and also pensioner portions. It is important to still have healthy delicious food and we are delivering to their homes, with contactless delivery and contactless payment.

“We leave the food on the doorstep and make sure the food is picked up before leaving, all at a safe distance. This is an absolutely fabulous idea and initiative by Bishop Auckland Food Festival to help small traders in these difficult times. We appreciate it, as a lot of small business will struggle and may not come out the other side. Based in Durham, we are delivering across the North East including DH, DL, TS, SR and NE postcodes.”

For those with a sweet tooth, The Hedgehog Bakery is creating postal treat boxes of six items, including a brownie, a blondie, a rocky road, a slice of tiffin and a cookie, which can be posted nationwide. Burtree Puddings’ new ‘care packages’, which can be delivered throughout the UK, make the perfect gift for family and friends who are self-isolating, and include fabulous sticky puddings, delicious tea loaves and famous flapjack.

Lea Darling of Burtree Puddings said: “I think what Bishop Auckland Food Festival is doing for the traders is fantastic. It is a huge event in our calendar and our most local. We are so sad that it cannot run this year. We, like other traders, are working hard to keep business running with the current coronavirus pandemic putting a stop to all our events we had planned and lots of people stuck at home in isolation.

“We wanted to be able to provide something that people could send to their love ones to put a smile on their face. We have created care packages for one, two or four people and these have a mixture of our delicious puddings, cakes and flapjacks. We have had fantastic feedback so far and really hope we are doing our bit to bring some joy to people who are stuck at home during this difficult time. One customer commented ‘you are bridging a lonely gap in my life with loveliness, it’s at times like this that people like you play an important part in the life of strangers’.”

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “Bishop Auckland Food Festival is the region’s biggest food event and a key date in the foodie calendar. With this year’s festival cancelled, we wanted to make sure we do everything we can to support our fabulous traders.

“Last year more than 29,000 people attended, so we’re hoping that these same people will take advantage of the great initiatives, offers and services traders are working on to help keep their businesses busy during this tough time. I’d encourage everyone who can to order incredible produce, either online or over the phone, to enjoy at home and support our local producers.”