Top food & drink events this Spring

Kirsty Page
by Kirsty Page  |  09 May 2011  |   0 comments

Find out about the best food and drink festivals coming up this year!

Top food & drink events this Spring

MAY 

8-15 May, Brick Lane Curry Festival, Brick Lane, London

The East End of London has long been associated with curries.  The Brick Lane Curry Festival kicks off in conjunction with the Baishaki Mela (Bangladeshi New Year) so celebration is the order of the day.

Brick Lane will be transformed into an al fresco dining experience with up to 40 participating restaurants.  London’s famous Lane will be lined with tables, chairs and stalls for visitors to soak up the party atmosphere and enjoy the delicious food.

Throughout the festival, restaurants will introduce a special festival menu featuring unique dishes from all over the country.

Website: Brick Lane Curry Festival

11-13 May, Balmoral Show, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ireland’s largest agricultural and food show showcases hundreds of local producers with plenty of opportunities to try and buy top quality food.

As well as all the tasty treats on offer, there is heaps of entertainment such as sheepdog duck herding and a kid’s farm.

Website: Balmoral Show

14-15 May, Loch Fyne Food Fair, Nr Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Cairndow

It’s a big year for the Loch Fyne Food Fair as it celebrates its 21st birthday.  Inside the food tent will be an array of fine Scottish produce sold by the producers themselves - so any questions , ask away.  As well as Loch Fyne Oysters own sea food stands there will be the very best venison, cakes, preserves and ice creams on sale with ales supplies by Fyne Ales and specially selected wines from Europe and Australia.  

Website: Loch Fyne Food Fair 

20-22 May, Foodies Festival, Tatton Park, Cheshire

The setting could hardly be more beautiful for the Manchester edition of Foodies Festival 2011.  Tatton Park is a glorious location in which to sample equally impressive food and drink.  Meet Michelin starred chefs, taste, sample and buy beautiful local food and try hands-on food and drink master classes led by industry experts.

There will be live music and entertainment to accompany the food and drink and with activities for the kids, it’s a great family day out.

Website: Foodies Festival

20-29 May, Islay Festival of Malt and Music, Across Islay

Founded in 1984 and still going strong, this festival on the Isle of Islay is a celebration of the culture and heritage of this beautiful Scottish Island.  Since 2000, the festival has been run in conjunction with the distilleries if Islay and Jura and Port Ellen Maltings.  Each distillery has its own open day and this year there is a special food event to complement the first class drinks that are on offer.  Non edible activities include Gaelic lessons, ceilidhs and much more.

Website: Islay Festival of Malt and Music 

21 - 22 May, Bath Coffee Festival. Bath Recreation Ground, Bath

If you’re a coffee lover, then there are probably fewer places you would rather be than at a festival dedicated to the queen of caffeine.  In the beautiful west county city of Bath, you can experience a weekend of expert sessions and demonstrations from top chefs, award winning baristas and experts from the world of coffee.  At the coffee academy you can gain hands on experience in a number of exciting workshops and have the chance to speak to the experts.  There will also be stalls selling everything from yoghurt to fudge and everything in between.

Website: Bath Coffee Festival 

21 - 22 May, Malton Food Lovers Festival, Malton, Yorkshire

The Malton Food Lovers Festival started in 2009 as a one day celebration and has evolved into a three day food and drink extravaganza.  Tom Parker Bowles is among the line up of celebrities and is joined by culinary stars like Brian Turner CBE, Rosemary Shrager and Yorkshire’s culinary ambassador, chef Andrew Pern.  Come along to sample some tasty grub washed down with top notch local brews and pick up some valuable tips to take back to the kitchen.

Website: Malton Food Lover's Festival 

21-22 May, Derbyshire Food and Drink Festival, Hardwick Hall, Chesterfield

More than 100 food stalls will be set up in the grounds of this 16th-century stately home with ample opportunity to talk to local producers and try new and exciting food.

There will be cookery demonstrations from the likes of Simon Rimmer as well as a host of activities and arts and craft stalls.

Website: Derbyshire Food and Drink Festival

23-28 May, Cambridge CAMRA Beer Festival, Jesus Green, Cambridge

Britain’s oldest beer festival set up camp in the university town back in 1974.  More than 32,000 people are fed and watered over the six days washing down quality ales with delicious English cheeses and meat.

There are more than 170 real ales to sample as well as foreign beers, ciders, English wines and mead.  The CAMRA cheese counter offers a range of dine cheeses made by small, independent producers.

Website: Cambridge Beer Festival

27-29 May, VegfestUK, Bristol

Europe’s biggest veggie food event, VegfestUK,  is coming to Bristol.  All the food, drink and produce is 100% plant-based and the show is stacked full of info on all aspects of the veggie lifestyle.

There will be cookery demos from some of the UK’s most accomplished cooks, over 100 stalls and caterers and a great musical backdrop to top it all off.

There are cookery classes suitable for kids where they can learn to make great, healthy plant-nased dishes that are simple, nutritious and cheap.  And what makes all this even better? It’s all free!!

Website: VegfestUK

28-29 May, Alfresco Twilight Party and Walking Food Festival, Swinton Park, North Yorkshire

What better way to work up an appetite than going on a foodie themed walk? Taking in the beautiful Yorkshire landscape, the Alfresco Twilight Party and Walking Food Festival includes guided tours of all the wild, edible food within the grounds, alfresco kitchens and cooking demonstrations in the gourmet retail marquee.  The focus is on quality Yorkshire produce with the demonstrations using ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the surrounding Swinton Estate.  After all that exercise, you can indulge in some revelry the next night at the Alfresco Twilight Party, guilt free of course.

Website: Alfresco Twilight Party and Walking Food Festival 

28-30 May, Foodies Festival, Hampton Court, London

The setting could hardly be more beautiful for the London edition of Foodies Festival 2011.  Hampton Court is a glorious location in which to sample equally impressive food and drink.  Meet Michelin starred chefs, taste, sample and buy beautiful local food and try hands-on food and drink master classes led by industry experts.

There will be live music and entertainment to accompany the food and drink and with activities for the kids, it’s a great family day out.

Website: Foodies Festival

28 May - 5 June, 3 Harbours Seafood Festival, Port Seaton, Preston Pans and Cockenzie

Now in its second year, the 3 Harbours Seafood Festival celebrates East Lothian’s fishing heritage, showcasing the very best fish the area has to offer.   There will be stalls selling everything from freshly caught seafood and delicious dishes to fishing tackle and handicrafts.  Children can take part in the many workshops available, all relating to the sea and seafood in a bid to keep the fishing culture alive.

Website: 3 Harbours Spring Festival 

30 May, Festival of Nettles, Scottish Crannog Centre, Loch Tay, Perthshire

Who knew nettles could have so many uses? Enjoy a day of nettle fibre processing and spinning, textile art and all kinds of nettle food and drink.  Don’t panic though, you won’t be getting stung all day, it just promises to be some good old fashioned fun.

Website: Festival of Nettles 

JUNE

1-5 June, Eat Reading, Reading

This four day food extravaganza features stalls from local restaurants serving ‘street food’ versions of their dishes, live cookery demonstrations as well as the final of Reading Steady Cook.

The event kicks off with a charity lunch, enlisting the help of some world renowned chefs.  Alan Murchison, award winning chef and owner of Reading’s Michelin starred L’Ortolan restaurant will be lending a hand, as well as Martyn Watkins, executive chef at the Hilton Reading.

All proceeds from the tickets will be distributed between children’s charities with at least 50% going towards Reading based charities.  For more info, contact lucy@theholloways.me.uk

Website: Eat Reading

4 June, Taste of Grampian, Thainstone Centre, Inverurie

This one day food and drink festival is a great day out for all the family. Visitors can discover and sample the wide range of high quality food and drink products from Grampian in the north east of Scotland.  Local producers invite you to taste and buy the finest smoked salmon, mouth-watering shortbread, delicious ice-cream, sumptuous prime roast beef, creamy fudge and maybe a dram or two of the best Scottish whiskies from local distilleries plus much more.

The festival programme also includes music, children's entertainment, arts and crafts, cookery competitions and demonstrations from local and celebrity chefs.

Website: Taste of Grampian

4-5 June, Thistly Cross Beer and Cider Festival, Bellhaven Fruit Farm, East Lothian

A weekend of traditional music, a ceilidh and the opportunity to taste locally made beer and cider.  The emphasis at the festival is on beer produced in Scottish microbreweries with additional guest beers from England.

Website: Thistly Cross Beer and Cider Festival

4-11 June, Orkney Wine Festival, Across Orkney

An informal celebration of good wine, good food and the matching of the two. Now in its fifth year, Scotland’s only wine festival features leading international winemakers introducing their wines at events from informal tastings to five course dinners at leading local restaurants.

Website: The Long Ship

9-12 June, Taste of Dublin, Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

Taste of Dublin is back for its sixth year and is the perfect opportunity for you to dine your way around the capital’s top restaurants, sample the best local food and pick up tips from world famous chefs.

Michelin starred, Chapter One, is among the restaurants that will be dishing up grub alongside establishments such as Jaipur, The Saddle Room and Dylan.

Mix with top chefs including Gino D’Acampo, Rachel Allen and Atul Kochhar and you’ve got yourself a full on foodie extravaganza.

Website: Taste of Dublin

11-12 June, Nigel’s Fantastic Food Show, Ewood Park, Blackburn

Nigel Haworth is returning for a second year to host a two day foodie extravaganza.  The Fantastic Food Show promises to be an example of real northern hospitality, which means you’ll be leaving with a smile on your face!

The Cookery Theatre is the place to go to pick up handy tips with the likes of Simon Rimmer and Niger himself showing what they’re made of.

There are plenty of local producers keen to answer your questions and show off what they’ve got, so if the cupboard are looking a bit bare, this is a great place to stock up.

Website: Nigel’s Fantastic Food Show

12 June, Open Farm Sunday, nationwide

A unique chance to have a nose around a working farm and meet those who produce your food and taste the results of their labour. Various activities are planned on this family-friendly day including walks, rides and mini farmer’s markets.

Website: Open Farm Sunday

15-19 June, BBC Good Food Summer Show, NEC Birmingham

Delicious food and drink, inspiring cookery demos and recipe inspiration is the order for the day at the BBC Good Food Summer Show.

The Producer’s Village is choc a bloc with small, speciality producers who specialise in local and seasonal produce.  The Summer Kitchen has a top line up of celebrity chefs including James Martin and Rachel Allen, keen to show off the skills and hopefully teach you a nifty trick or two.

John Torode and Greg Wallace of Masterchef fame will be there and there is a special Grow Your Own section for people keen to start producing their own fruit and veg.

Website: BBC Good Food Summer Show

16-18 June, Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA)Scottish Real Ale Festival, Adams House, Edinburgh

The festival is the largest in the UK to exclusively stock beers from the 50 or so brewers in Scotland.  With over 150 different beers on offer, the annual competition from The Society of Independent Brewers Scotland the crowing of the Champion Beer of Scotland.

Website: CAMRA Real Ale Festivals

16 - 19 June, Taste of London, Regent’s Park, London

Right in the heart of the capital, some of the country’s best chefs and produce come together in a food fest that will tickle the taste buds and get the creative juices running.  You will have the unique opportunity to dine from 40 of London’s top restaurants, try and buy from 200 top quality food and drink producers and see the pros demonstrate their skills live on stage.  2011 will see the addition of ‘The Secret Garden’, an exclusive area where visitors will have the chance to take part in Q&A sessions with chefs while feasting on canapés and champagne. 

Website: Taste of London

17-26 June, EAT! NewcastleGateshead, various venues, Newcastle Gateshead

EAT! NewcastleGateshead is back and promises to satisfy all your culinary needs.  The Big EAT! Weekend takes place over the streets and squares of NewcastleGateshead with a huge celebration of North East food and drink.

This year features a brand spanking new Chocolate Festival as well as popular event, Cakebook, where a giant, edible map of the North East and Yorkshire will be made!

Website: EAT! NEwcastleGateshead

18-19 June, A Taste of Twickenham, Twickenham

Brand new this year, the second weekend of the Twickenham Festival is being turned into a foodie paradise.  A Taste of Twickenham will feature stalls from local restaurants as well as food producers such as Laverstoke Park Farm and Teddington Cheese.

Also introduced this year and available throughout the festival (11-19 June) is a special Festival Menu.  Cafes, pubs and restaurants will offer unique menus that will be available lunchtimes and evenings so you can enjoy the best food Twickenham has to offer.

Website: A Taste of Twickenham

23-26 June, Royal Highland Show, Ingliston, Edinburgh

A celebration of Scottish farming, food and rural life. Fabulous food and drink are one of the highlights of the show attracting foodies from near and far.  Over 100 Scottish food and drink exhibitors will attend alongside gourmet suppliers from across the UK.  There are also cookery demonstrations and produce competitions with plenty of opportunities to sample along the way.

Website: Royal Highland Show

24-26 June, Foodies Festival, Bristol Harbourside, Bristol

Head down to the Bristol Harbousride for the Bristol edition of the Foodies Festival 2011.  Meet Michelin starred chefs, taste, sample and buy beautiful local food and try hands-on food and drink master classes led by industry experts.

There will be live music and entertainment to accompany the food and drink and with activities for the kids, it’s a great family day out.

Website: Foodies Festival

25 June-3 July, Pembrokeshire Fish Week, Pembrokeshire coast, Wales

The 2011 festival is jam packed with over 250 events including mackerel fishing, kayaking courses and river walks.  One of the highlights is sure to be ‘Cook your Catch’ where Mark Hix, Valentine Warner, Mitch Tonks, Bryn Williams and Anthony Evans will all have to whip up a tasty treat from whatever they managed to source in the ocean earlier that day – whatever it may be!

Website: Pembrokeshire Fish Week

JULY

1-31 July, Hampshire Food Festival, Hampshire

This is the mother of all food festivals, lasting for an entire month! You better get ready for some serious eating.

Farmers, producers, restaurants and cookery schools showcase the best local food and drink during the Hampshire Food Festival.  Held at various location across Hampshire, there is something to suit everyone and you can come along for just one day or make an appearance for all 31 of them!

Anthony Worrall Thompson and Atul Kochhar are just two of the chefs who will be dishing up scrumptious food throughout the festival so make sure you pop down and experience the very best Hampshire has to offer.

Website: Hampshire Food Festival

2-3 July, The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy, Near Banff

The great traditions of the Grampian region's superb raw materials from the land and sea have become an increasingly important element of this maritime event. The Food Fayre features the very best suppliers and there are ongoing cookery demonstrations.  Across the whole festival high quality catering is available to suit every taste and pocket.

Website: The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival

2-3 July, Tarbert Seafood Festival, Tarbert

Featuring local and well known chefs displaying their culinary talents, live seafood cookery demonstrations and a market that stretches around this natural harbour, this is a weekend full of entertainment and fun for all the family.

Website: Tarbert Seafood Festival

9 July, Mortimer Country Food Fair, Brampton Bryan

2011 sees the fourth annual Mortimer Country Food Fair.  It has come a long way since its humble beginnings back in 2008 and now has over 50 stalls, a purpose-built demonstration kitchen and a vast selection of local food and drink.

Local author, John Lewis-Stempel, gave the themes for this year’s festival, Wild Food.  The Welsh Marches provide a wealth of wild food which will be celebrated in all its diversity.  Sam Bruce will be there with his Scrummy Bites, the Cottage Herbery will be there with their award-winning herbs and plants and there will be beers from the Ludlow Brewery to quench your thirst.

Website: Mortimer Country Food Fair

9 - 10 July, Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth Waterfront, Dorset

With fish sustainability being a hot topic in the food world, the Dorset Seafood Festival is the perfect place to come and get up to scratch on current seafood issues and above all, celebrate the very best the ocean has to offer.  Expect plenty of inspiration for new and exciting recipes, many of which use less well know species of fish in an effort to diversify our eating habits.  There are special activities for kids too making it the perfect day out for the whole family.

Website: Dorset Seafood Festival

9 - 10 July, Chilli Fest UK, Shoreham by the Sea

This year marks the very first Chilli Fest UK, an exciting new venture that celebrates chillies in their mildest and hottest form.  Independent chilli traders and growers from all over the UK will be there if you need to stock up on plants or seeds and there will be plenty to try whether it’s chilli salsa, chocolate or chutney or the more unusual chilli beer, ice cream and cocktails.

Website:  Chilli Fest UK 

21-24 July, Flavour of Shetland, Victoria Pier, Lerwick

Flavour of Shetland is a major outdoor event showcasing some of the very best food, drink, music, craft and culture in Shetland. Enjoy some true local hospitality with the sound of traditional and contemporary music and taste the very best of Shetland food and drink.  This year the event will take place around the Tall Ships Race.

Website: Flavour of Shetland

23 - 29 July, Whitstable Oyster Festival, Whitstable Harbour, Kent

The Whitstable Oyster Festivalis a celebration of Whitstable’s long history as a gourmet oyster centre and is run to coincide with the oyster dredger’s holiday on St James’ Day (25 July). The celebrations start with the ceremonial ‘Landing of the Oysters’ and the colourful Oyster Parade followed by the historic ‘Blessing of the Water’s ceremony’ later in the week.  The main event, however, is the EPICentre Food Fair with a variety of stalls featuring over 50 local producers specialising in local Kentish produce.   If you are a serious oyster fan you can try your hand at the fiercely competitive oyster eating competition...

Website: Whitstable Oyster Festival

29-31 July, Foodies Festival, Battersea Park, London

Head down to the Capital for the second London edition of the Foodies Festival 2011.  Meet Michelin starred chefs, taste, sample and buy beautiful local food and try hands-on food and drink master classes led by industry experts.  All this set in the beautiful grounds of Battersea Park, what more could you want?

There will be live music and entertainment to accompany the food and drink and with activities for the kids, it’s a great family day out.

Website: Foodies Festival

31 July-1 August, Turriff Show, Turriff, Aberdeenshire

Turriff Show is the largest annual event to be held in Aberdeenshire. The show is now regarded as one of the main methods for the promotion of agriculture and the food industry in the north east of Scotland.  This is a great opportunity to taste food from the area with a renowned Food Fayre.

Website: Tuffiff Show

August

13-14 August, Arbroath Seafest, Arbroath

Arbroath Seafest is an annual festival of the sea held along Arbroath’s seafront and centred around the town’s traditional harbour and new marina. Foodies will be attracted by the opportunity to taste local specialities like the world-famous Arbroath Smokie.

Website: Arbroath Seafest

27-29 August, Foodies Festival, South Parks, Oxford

Head to Oxford for the last instalment in the Foodies Festival programme, 2011.  Meet Michelin starred chefs, taste, sample and buy beautiful local food and try hands-on food and drink master classes led by industry experts.  All this set in the beautiful grounds of South Parks, what more could you want?

There will be live music and entertainment to accompany the food and drink and with activities for the kids, it’s a great family day out.

Website: Foodies Festival

27-29 August, Foodies Festival, South Parks, Oxford

Head to Oxford for the last instalment in the Foodies Festival programme, 2011.  Meet Michelin starred chefs, taste, sample and buy beautiful local food and try hands-on food and drink master classes led by industry experts.  All this set in the beautiful grounds of South Parks, what more could you want?

There will be live music and entertainment to accompany the food and drink and with activities for the kids, it’s a great family day out.

Website: Foodies Festival

29 August, Anthony Worrall Thompson Barbecue, Greyhound Pub, Nr Henley on Thames

Anthony Worrall Thompson is King of the barbecues and will be holding a barbecue and boules extravaganza at The Greyhound Pub near Henley on Thames.

Expect more than just burgers and sausages, Anthony Worrall Thompson is going all out and roasting a whole pig.  Yum.

Website: The Greyhound Pub

29 August, Jeremy’s BBQ and beer garden event, Jeremy’s Restaurant, West Sussex

Tucked away beyond a cobbled courtyard is Jeremy’s Restaurant.  The August bank holiday sees them team up with the Fallen Angel Brewery to offer a unique beer and food event that is set to tickle your tastebuds.

Tickets are £30 per person and include an arrival canapé and coffee.  For reservations call 01444 441102 or email reservations@jeremysrestauarnt.com

Website: Jeremy’s Restaurant

Also worth your attention:

Eating for our Planet

Foodfest Fever

Thanks to Amy Davies for the photograph.

Reporting by Kirsty Page.