Food Festival tempts voters with Stay or Leave Brownies

Ballot papers have been replaced by Brownies at Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival where voters are being encouraged to vote to stay or leave – with cake.

Festival trader Gemma Lewis, of Dark Matters Chocolate Brownies (, has captioned her highly sought-after confections with ‘In’, ‘Out’ and ‘?’ in honour of the EU referendum.

Gemma,  from Parkstone, said: “The referendum is the issue of the moment and I for one have become completely caught up in the campaign’s highs lows and twists and turns.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve been speaking to my customers about it and while many seem to know which way they will vote, some are still unsure and some are just completely fed up with the whole thing!

“I thought I would bring a little respectful levity to the situation by asking people to vote with a Brownie and I’ve got to say people have really got into the spirit of it.”

Gemma set up Dark Matters in 2013 and this will be her fourth year as a trader at the annual Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival (

This year’s festival runs until June 26, and as always offers food from around the world, along with local produce and nightly music from its hub in Bournemouth Square.

Gemma continued: “People have been either amused or confused when they see the Referendum Brownies.

“But I’ve got to say that so far the ‘In’ Brownies are selling much faster than the ‘Outs’.

She said: “I’m not jumping on a soap box, this is just a little fun, but I will be voting to remain because I genuinely view myself as a European.

“I also have a small business which relies completely on Belgian chocolate and I’m told by my suppliers that their prices will rise if we leave the union, which will obviously impact on my customers.”

Patrick Marmion, Founder of the Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival, said: “It’s fitting that the referendum should coincide with the festival.

“While this is a celebration of great food, drink and music from the south coast of England, many of our traders either originate from other parts of Europe or, like Gemma, rely on it for their fabulous ingredients.”