IT’S finally here! The Spring Essex Festival of Food and Drink makes a mouth-watering return this weekend- and the event really does have all the right ingredients for a fantastic family day out.

The extravaganza of all things dining, drinking and culinary expertise will be jam-packed with food and drink demonstrations, exhibitors and themed activities.

It will take place at Chelmsford City Racecourse on Saturday and Sunday, (May 11 and 12), from 10am on both days.

The event will feature 80 food and drink stands serving up mouth-watering produce from all over world as well demonstrations by celebrity and well-known chefs - plus hands-on masterclasses for budding cooks of all ages.

Visitors can pick up seasonal inspiration from local chefs and experts, sample delicious food and drink from producers and get hands on in a masterclass- plus, of course, a lots more.

When it comes to perusing some of the best food and drink around, head straight to the Taste of Anglia Food Pavilion, which champions producers of Artisan food and drink from across the region. There will be some great treats to try, taste and buy including locally made honey, oils and mayonnaise, aperitifs, hand pressed cider and even gourmet treats to take home for your four legged friend!

As a special treat the first 50 youngsters through the gate each day –will receive a voucher for a Free Ice Cream Cone or Tub from Southend’s famous Rossi Ice Cream

As well as being fed and watered, visitors will also be entertained by live music from local soloists, Idreiss Ibrahim on Saturday and Jamie McGuire on Sunday.

There will be a range of free classes for adults and children, including kids pizza making, science classes for 5-12 year olds, craft classes for kids of all ages with a plant based theme and glitter face painting. Wine and beer talks and tastings, chef demonstrations and adult cookery classes will also be on.

Some of the classes have limited places and pre-booking is advisable via On-line bookings close at 5pm today ( Thursday) but if you don’t manage to get your tickets on line, don’t worry, you can buy them on the gate. Some classes may still have places available at the weekend.

A highlight of the festival will be the lively and very entertaining Christian Stevenson – aka DJ BBQ who will be hosting the Wood Fired Chef BBQ stage alongside local BBQ chefs and butchers. This is a real meat feast for all BBQ lovers. You can also get a signed copy of Christian’s latest book – “the Burger Book”.

Cooking expert Natalie Coleman will also be demonstrating her trade mark Scotch Egg recipe which helped her to win the BBC Masterchef title in 2013. Natalie will be on the Professional Chefs stage at 11.30am on Saturday 11th May. It is advisable to arrive in plenty of team to take your seat. Seating is on a first come first served basis.

Adult entry tickets cost from £7 in advance Thereafter tickets can bought on the gate.