Festivals celebrating tasty food and delicious drinks have been sprouting up across the UK over the past few years. More than 100 food-focussed events are scheduled to take place across the UK in 2014, and although filling bellies is the main priority, these family-centred festivals also feature a wide range of entertainment to keep the kids amused and all manner of live music to soak up while you pig out. In our new PAAM volunteer management software blog, we bring you a mere drop in the beer froth of Britain’s best foodie festivals.
Kendal Festival of Food, 29th to 30th March 2014
Kicking off this year’s menu of tasty treats is the Kendal Festival of Food. Taking place over the weekend of the 29-30 March in the heart of the Lake District, this foodie frenzy will play host to more than 80 producer stalls showcasing sumptuous food from the north of England. Guest stars will include CBBC’s ‘food adventurer’, writer and presenter Stefan Gates, who will host two live shows on the Saturday in the Elephant Yard. Sunday will feature the Meringue Girls who, as you might deduce from the name, will be teaching audiences the secrets behind the perfect meringue.
As well as their finest food, Kendal will be putting on a good spread of fun for all the family in the form of music, street entertainment, art, workshops and of course cookery demonstrations from fresh new talent and world-class chefs. This year also sees the return of the Brewery Vat’s Bar Beer Festival, where visitors can wash down the yummies with a wide range of locally produced ales and ciders.
The Great British Food Festival, 3rd to 5th May 2014
Taking place at the beautiful Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, the three-day Great British Food Festival will allow visitors to browse more than 100 stalls piled high with sumptuous local fare. This celebration of the best of British will also host workshops for all ages, including junior cookery classes, chef demos and artisan talks, cake-offs and the hugely popular Men v Food Challenges, where huge hungry fellas exert themselves in a range of food scoffing trials.
Devizes Food & Drink Festival, 17th 25th May 2014
Centered on the historic Market Place and Corn Exchange, the Devizes Food & Drink Festival marks its 10th anniversary this year. The Grand Market Fair will take place on 17th May, when organisers promise there will be something for everyone thanks to their amazing line-up of exhibitors and dishes from around the globe.
Already confirmed for the Cookery Masterclass Demonstrations are Italian culinary expert Valentina Harris and Daily Telegraph food columnist Xanthe Clay, with more famous names still to be announced. The week-long celebration of all things delish will also encompass The Famous Foodie Quiz, Tea Tasting Around the World, An Evening of Food & Wine in the historic Cheese Hall, Bangers, Mash & a Pint, a 10th anniversary Gala Cocktail Evening and a Children’s Sports and Healthy Eating Fun Day.
The South of England Food & Drink Festival, 25th May 2014
Set in the rustic charm of the Robins Building, the Hay Bale Bar and the South of England Showground in Ardingly, this year’s South of England Food & Drink Festival will showcase…yep, you guessed it! Visitors are invited to peruse the stalls of artisan products, growers and farmers and sample a superb range of quick and simple dishes from the Street Food vendors. As well as tickling the taste buds, the event will feature live demonstrations from chefs and suppliers in the aptly named Masterclass Marquee.
Also on tap will be beer and wine tasting events as well as a cocktail mixology class, so sit back and enjoy a tasty beverage in the Hay Bale Bar while listening to live folk, jazz and swing music performed by the best of the local talent. Kids are also invited to learn about healthy ethical eating through a range of playful cooking lessons in the Children’s Zone.
Flavours of Summer 2014, 7th to 8th June 2014
Now in its third year, Flavours of Summer will once again take place in the picturesque surroundings of Henham Park’s walled garden on 7th and 8th June. The weekend promises the perfect day out for anyone keen on great food and drink sourced from local producers. Dozens of stalls and stands will be serving up hearty feasts while a host of top chefs show off their skills at the Cookery Theatre.
The organisers have also put together a superb line-up of performers to keep the whole family entertained. Younger visitors will be able to sample goodies and try their hands at creating their own specialities with professional chefs and food experts at the Little Cookies’ Cookery Theatre.
Taste of London, 19th 22nd June 2014
Last year was the 10th anniversary for this Regents Park food and drink extravaganza, but it doesn’t look like anyone at Taste of London 2014 is planning on slacking off. This year the festival will celebrate the menus of more than 40 restaurants from around the capital, and some of the country’s best artisan brands will also be in attendance for four days of eating, drinking and general merrymaking.
Dotted around the Regents Park site will be music stages, art and craft stalls and all manner of outdoor entertainment. As well as recipes from the great British table and beyond, Taste will also be celebrating the best wines and beers from across the globe. Although the final line-up is still to be confirmed, 2014 is sure to feature big-name chefs from some of London’s most famous eating establishments.
Upton Food and Beer Festival, 27th to 29th June 2014
The Upton FAB Festival (we see what they did there!) is a brand new event that marries two wonderful things: great food and real ale. The three-day festival, which will take place in the stunning town of Upton on Severn, celebrates the best produce from the surrounding counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Not just a paradise for foodies and families, FAB has been specially timed to compliment the world famous Upton Jazz Festival, which takes place over the same weekend.
Among the top local chefs showing off their skills will be Rayeesa Asghar Sandys, who will demonstrate how to prepare authentic home cooked Indian cuisine; Darren Bale, an award-winning cook who specialises in local and seasonal ingredients; and Tom Court, who knows everything there is to know about fish! Also on offer over the weekend will be more than 100 ales and 50 ciders and perries, all of which are brewed within the three counties. Bottoms up!
2014 Essex Festival of Food and Drink, 19th 20th July 2014
Disturbing the peaceful surroundings of Cressing Temple Barns for another year, the Essex Festival of Food and Drink is one of Britain’s largest. This year it’ll see more than 120 exhibitors erecting their stalls in this historic location, and no doubt the odd D-list celebrity and their accompanying camera crew. As well as workshops, cookery theatres, chef demonstrations, baking competitions and kids cooking classes, visitors are invited to grab a glass of their favourite tipple and enjoy live music in the fabulous food court.
The line-up of food-related celebrity guests includes Ruby Tandoh, the much-loved finalist of the 2013 Great British Bake Off, who will be judging the not-to-be missed Great Essex Baking competition. Tony Singh from the BBC’s The Incredible Spicemen is also due to show off his skills gleaned from 22 years in the restaurant business, while last year’s National Chef of the Year, Haydon Groves, will be preparing some of the dishes that won him the prestigious accolade.