Over the next four months, hundreds of food festivals will be taking place across the UK, from tiny village fetes to the behemoths BBC Good Food shows. Food festivals have gone from strength to strength in recent years, and for good reason:
- They’re an age-inclusive celebration of something we all need, love and obsess over.
- They let us dip our tastebuds into tantalising cuisines from around the world, or experience local culinary delights and delicacies.
- They inspire us, bringing better food into our lives, our minds and our kitchens.
Times are changing; a festival doesn’t just bring to mind teenagers escaping from their parents for a weekend of warm beer, cramped nights in tents and mud. 52% of 21-31 year olds would rather go to a food festival than a music festival, according to Knorr’s presentation at the London Millennial 20/20 Conference in April. Food festivals are in, but with so many to choose from, which should you get tickets for?
We’ve done the legwork and put together a list of our top 10 UK food festivals for 2016. There’s one for everyone, from the family focused to the chilli fiend, so whatever tickles your tastebuds there’ll be a festival for you!
Take a look at the map below to see if there’s one happening near you, and read on to find out why each has made our top 10!
1. Mhor Food Festival (27-29 May)
Home to The Great Scottish Feast, this festival sits inside Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park in Scotland. Maybe it’s the natural beauty of it’s location, or the quirky mix of food, theatre and music, but there’s something quite special about this hidden gem.
Best for: a real escape
2. Asparafest (4-5 June)
Asparafest is an odd but quintessentially English collection of events and eccentrics, all united in their passion for the green vegetable spear. Highlights include benevolent mascot Gus the Asparagus Man, the world’s only Asparamancer, the famous asparagus auctions and an asparagus eating competition. There’s also an opportunity to indulge in a wide range of “asparaphenalia” including asparagus ice cream, soap, jam, cakes and sausages.
Best for: traditional British silliness
3. The BBC Good Food Festival (27-29 Aug)
The BBC Good Food shows are behemoths of the UK’s Food Festival circuit, with top names, huge turnouts and a massive range of quality food experiences to enjoy. Now in its third year, the BBC Good Food Festival stands out for being young and fresh. And because it takes place in the stunning surroundings of Hampton Court Palace!
Best for: a day trip out of London
4. Grillstock (2-3 July)
With the slogan “meat, music and mayhem”, this boisterous barbecue blitz is definitely suited to some more than others. Taking inspiration from the passionate celebration of smokehouse flavours in the USA, Grillstock humms with an enthusiasm that it’s impossible not to get caught up in.
Best for: meat sweats
5. Port Eliot Festival (28-31 July)
Another gorgeous blend of sound and sustenance, Port Eliot Food Festival is The Big Feastival’s hip cousin. Mark Hix is billed alongside Erol Alkan and Sara Pascoe – a truly eclectic escape to one of the UK’s most picturesque locations.
Best for: a little bit of everything
6. Chilli Fiesta (5-7 Aug)
The UK’s biggest chilli festival! Chilli Fiesta bring you three days of capsicum-related carnage. Not for the faint-hearted (or faint-stomached!).
Best for: feeling the burn
7. Yum Festival of Food and Drink (7-8 Aug)
The aptly named ‘Yum’ Festival in Hull is both a celebration of food and of Hull itself. With local food stalls, demonstrations from expert chefs and kid friendly activities, Yum makes for a delicious family day out!
Best for: family fun
8. The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival (20-21 Aug)
This festival really does what it says on the tin. It’s the best place on earth for all things garlic, and we mean all. ‘Garlicked’ items available at this surprisingly large celebration of the “stinking rose” include: fudge, popcorn, scones, mushrooms, sweetcorn and popcorn and even garlic ice cream!
Best for: the French, vampire slayers and all other garlic enthusiasts
(Worst for: dates)
9. The Big Feastival (26-28 Aug)
Alex James meets Jamie Oliver, music meets food. The Big Feastival is the flagbearer for taking food festivals into the young, modern mainstream. For better or worse, the only festival on our list where you’ll be able to watch Tinie Tempah while trying tempura.
Best for: dinner and dancing
10. Abergavenny Food Festival (17-18 Sept)
One of the UK’s best loved food festivals, located in the idyllic market town of Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. Coupling a commitment to showcasing some of the best Welsh produce with appearances from the culinary icons such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Hemsley + Hemsley, this much-loved festival has something for everyone.
Best for: the classic food festival experience
If you can’t make any of these festivals, don’t worry! You can get great quality ingredients for delicious dinners delivered to your door in your next Gousto box.
Take a look at our menu HERE.