Normally there is only one place to be for watercress lovers each May – Hampshire’s ‘Capital of Watercress’.
But for the second year running, the annual Watercress Festival, staged in the Georgian town of Alresford – also known as the UK’s capital of watercress farming – has had to be cancelled because of Covid.
But for 2021, the one-day festival has gone virtual… and been extended into a Watercress Week.
Featuring online events, including a virtual walking tour of Alresford and an insight into watercress-based drinks, the online celebration will also offer recipe ideas and a chance to shop from regular traders who would normally be at the Festival.
After last year’s event was cancelled, organisers had hoped to deliver a smaller “live” festival, but despite their best efforts, the Festival was impossible to deliver safely.
So, instead, Watercress Week will be taking place 17 – 23 May, as the first, and hopefully last, virtual event.
Organisers hope to see visitors back in the streets of Alresford for the 2022 Festival, on 15 May, 2022, but in the meantime, for this year there will be plenty of watercress themed events and activities for virtual festival-goers.
Events include chefs demonstrating watercress dishes, a chance to learn how to make a Watercress Festival signature cocktail with local watercress gin, a talk about the many wonders of watercress, and even a walking tour of Alresford, visiting a couple of watercress beds on the way, all from the comfort of your sofa.
Some of the events require advance registration, and all sessions will be available to view on the Watercress Festival YouTube page.
Completing the line-up, is a shopping page, with websites of some of the Festival’s regular traders, and a recipe section featuring a selection of tried and tested dishes, from vegan watercress and broccoli patties to chocolate, orange and watercress brownies.
For full details, visit www.watercressfestival.org
For general tourist information about Hampshire, and for the latest updates on what’s open, see www.visit-hampshire.co.uk