THOUSANDS welcomed the heat at a carnival of food this weekend – despite the wind and rain.

After a three-year absence, The Lakes Chilli Fest was back on the menu on Saturday and Sunday with more than 80 producers from across the country attending the event at Dalemain Mansion, near Penrith.

Festival orgainser Mark Deakin said: “It went really well and everyone had a good time which is very encouraging.

“I think chilli festivals are very popular because the vibe is a bit different to other festivals and markets.

“We were astounded by the amount of people who came – a couple of thousand each day.”

On offer at the celebration of all things spicy was everything from tapas and Mexican street food to crepes, churros and chilli beers.

“It’s definitely on for next year and it might be back to the Lakes for good,” added Mr Deakin.