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An Overview of the Nation’s Various Food Festivals.

Posted Aug 18 2010 5:23am

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By : Monika Nolte   From:

You don’t have to look very far to find festivals celebrating British food and drink. So why not check out what festivals are happening where you’re holidaying this year? That way you can combine a week or weekend away with a festival that let’s you delight in wonderful food, free tastings, and all sorts of entertainment as well.

So many of our towns, large and small, are now promoting the food and drink being produced locally and what a wonderful way to find things you may never have tasted before or producers you didn’t know existed. Since we are thinking more about food miles and the carbon footprints we each leave, buying what is produced locally can make a significant contribution to reducing those food miles and at the same time putting fresher, tastier food on your table. Besides buying locally also helps to keep our food culture alive and it keeps local people employed, producing the food and drink we can be proud to call British!

Speaking of keeping our food culture alive, did you know that there is a pancake race that’s been run on Shrove Tuesday every year since 1445? In 1950, it became an international event between the ladies (in traditional “housewifes” garb which includes skirt, apron and scarf!) of Olney, England and the town of Liberal, Kansas in America.

And, if you have nothing better to do around May Day, be in the town of Stilton to try your hand at cheese rolling. Perhaps you’ll even get to join the ranks of the “Stilton Cheese Rolling Champions!

In different parts of the country, there are wine (Brackley, Sheffield, Devon and London), whisky (Speyside, Scotland) and beer (Birmingham, London, Paisley) festivals. Then there are festivals for fish (Pembrokeshire, Edinburgh and many others), scallops (Sussex), oysters (Loch Fyne, Scotland and Whitstable) herring (Clovelly, Devon), rhubarb (Wakefield), herbs (West Sussex), garlic (Isle of Wight), mushroom (Aberfoyle, Scotland) and asparagus (Worcestershire). You’ll also find festivals celebrating the taste of towns and regions as well as neighbourhoods in London. And don’t forget the seasonal festivals for fairs such as the St. Nicholas Fayre in York and the Taste of Christmas in London.

While many of these festivals are one day affairs, there are some like the BBC Excellent Food Summer Show in Birmingham that go on for several days. Most festivals will have tastings along with cooking demonstrations, some with well known chefs or experts on wine and spirits. So besides tasting lots of excellent food and drink, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up tips from the experts, attend master classes, delight in the live “cook-offs” and maybe even show how well you can cook. Many of these festivals have special events to show children how to cook food so they can be healthy for their lifetimes. With the economy as it is, no doubt this years there will be greater emphasis on how to eat well and not break the bank!

Don’t miss out on the freshest, locally grown or produced food you can find, because wherever you are – whether on holiday or not – sometime during the year, there will be a food and drinks festival somewhere near you.

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