For food loving families, one of the best days out can be a trip to a food festival. Whether you want to sample some local produce, or try something new from a foreign land, there are plenty of options and kids are usually catered for too, with sweet treats in abundance and fun activities to take part in. The UK hosts a huge variety of food and drinks festivals every year and visitors to these are spoiled for choice. A great example of a family-friendly food festival is Milford-on-Sea Food Week, which takes place in early April and features themed food events along with fun cooking classes for children. Another great feature of this festival is that many of the one hundred plus events are free. Also in April is the BBC Good Food Show at the Bluewater Shopping Centre. Featuring several celebrity guests, this year will see TV favourites Gino D’Acampo and James Martin demonstrating some of their favourite recipes.
Malton Food Festival
This festival near York began in 2009 and has grown in leaps and bounds. Originally a one-day event, it is now spread over two days with Yorkshire’s finest food and drink. Thirsty parents might want to visit the beer festival which runs at the same time. Last year the beer festival supplied more than 3,000 pints and the Taste Trail, much like a food treasure hunt, was extremely popular as well. Celebrity food patrons in 2012 include food writer Tom Parker Bowles and TV chef Antonio Carlucci.
The festival is geared towards family entertainment; there is live music and over a hundred stalls with food such as home baked bread, fresh local fruit and vegetables, frozen yoghurt, stone baked Yorkshire pizzas and venison burgers. Cookery demonstrations occur throughout the weekend and the Army Kitchen includes a Scimitar Tank and the Yorkshire Regimental Band. The Mayoral Cook Off promises to be as hotly contested as in 2011 and the Mayor of Norton will be defending his title. Guests in York hotels will have a great time at this festival.
Ludlow and the Big Cheese
The Ludlow Food Festival is held during the second weekend in September in Ludlow Castle. It features more than 160 stalls exhibiting local Shropshire food and drink. Local butchers compete for the Festival Sausage of the Year award and the pudding tasting features more than 300 samples to try out. The Great British Cheese Festival in Cardiff Castle in September will introduce you to a few cheeses you are likely to have not tasted before. This is Britain’s biggest cheese market and features demonstrations, master classes and tutorials on cheese making and the best way to eat it.
The Isle of Wight hosts a Garlic Festival in August and features garlic flavored sausages, beer and even ice cream! Don’t worry though, there are many dishes without garlic as well. Other entertainment includes magic shows, live bands, strongmen and stunt artists. The Manchester Food and Drink Festival at the beginning of October sees the streets filled with fairs, competitions and demonstrations, with a huge food market in St. Anne’s Square.
The Harvest Festival in Suffolk and Oxfordshire in September has at least ten celebrity chefs, such as Valentine Warner and chocolate expert, Paul Young, doing demonstrations. Live music is supplied by musicians such as KT Tunstall and Eliza Doolittle.
These are but a small number of the great food festivals throughout the UK. Others include the Taste of London in Regent’s Park in June, the Great British Beer Festival in London in August, the Cornwall Food and Drink Festival in Truro in September, hot chilli festivals such as the Great Dorset Chilli Festival and the West Dean Chilli Fiesta, both in August and the Exmoor Food Festival in Devon in October.