BALLANTRAE'S hugely popular Festival of Food and Drink festival is back this year after last year's absence.

Ayrshire's award winning event is being held on Saturday June 8 to Sunday June 9 from 11am to 5pm. It will feature some of the finest chefs and food producers from the South of Scotland and further afield, showcasing their skills and products in the heart of an area renowned for its high quality food production and natural beauty.

The festival took a break last year but is now returning for its fourth instalment. This year's edition is brought by a sub-group of The Ballantrae Trust which will be supported by dedicated volunteers, as well as sponsors and partners.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the delights of a huge selection of produce from more than 40 stalls - including street food, local food and drink and a celebration of World Gin Day on the Saturday, which includes the exclusive release of Ballantrae’s own gin.

Festival Organiser, Mhairi McKenna said: “After a hiatus of a year, the Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink returns in 2019, bigger and better than ever. This year the event will be held over 2 days to give a greater opportunity for everyone to enjoy what the festival has to offer.

"While we will be focusing on local producers and chefs, we will also feature some notable names from further afield, including chef Robert Owen-Brown of BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Kitchen Cabinet’ and The Hinchcliffe Arms in Hebden Bridge who will be bringing his ‘hog roast’ and also showing off his skills in the demonstration kitchen.

"We will be releasing the first bottling of Ballantrae Gin to tie in with World Gin Day on 8th June. Chris Saunders of The Gin Show will be conducting tutored tastings, bringing to life his collection of over 100 gins.

"We look forward to welcoming everyone - locals and visitors to Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink 2019.”

An exciting line-up of cooking demonstrations, talks and tasting sessions are included in the ticket price (£4 with accompanied children free) with live music throughout the day. A weekend ticket is also available, but must be purchased in advance via the website Food foraging expeditions are £5 if purchased on-line, in advance.

There’s a kite making workshop at the festival and nearby Craigiemains Garden Centre has a play area and a miniature train to entertain the children.