As the summer harvests are collected, Britain starts to prepare for the winter ahead with a whole host of fabulous autumnal food festivals. In honour of British Food Fortnight, which runs from 20 September until 5 October, here’s our top 10 in conjunction with Visit England…
1. Urban Food Festival, London
12 – 28 September
London is a foodie hub and this autumn is celebrating its culinary heritage in the Urban Food Fortnight which runs until 28 September. For two weeks there will be local menus from some of London’s top restaurants, pop-up events, supper clubs in growing spaces and allotments, botanical cocktail nights, foraging walks and urban cookery classes. From street food to indie festivals, there’s something for all to enjoy.
2. Manchester Food Festival
18 – 29 September
The Manchester Food Festival is one of Britain’s biggest urban festivals. It is buzzing with pop-up restaurants, a new wine festival, live street parties and demonstrations as well as a festival of beer! Who needs Oktoberfest?
3. The York Food and Drink Festival, York
19- 28 September
This September follow a taste trail offering samples from delis and restaurants around the historic city of York. The activity spills out through York beginning at the daily specialist market on St Sampson’s Square. In the evening, join an intimate dinner offered by locals in their own homes or have supper in some of the city’s historic buildings such as the Guildhall, Treasurer’s House and Bar Convent.
4. Thame Food Festival, Oxfordshire
Ride into town on an original double decker bus, driven by Ken Bruce from BBC Radio 2, and wind your way through the pretty market town of Thame in the picturesque county of Oxfordshire . Celebrity chefs Raymond Blanc, Adam Simmonds, Sophie Grigson and a fabulous double act from the boy who bakes Edd Kimber and John Waite, will all be highlights at this landmark event in the food calendar.
5. Sweetcorn Fayre, Isle of Wight
27 – 28 September
The Isle of Wight’s annual Sweetcorn Fayre takes place in the craft village of Arreton from 27 – 28 September. Head over to Dinosaur Island to take part in the sweetcorn shindig and witness world record breaking attempts to create the largest sweetcorn fritter.
6. Taste Cumbria
27 – 28 September
Held in the Lake District town of Cockermouth, this festival is a firm favourite with foodies and is loved by famous chefs, from the Hairy Bikers and John Turode to James Martin, Jay Rayner and Simon Rimmer. Always the star of the show, the immense Cumbrian talent, championed by Michelin starred Simon Rogan, is not to be missed this Autumn.
7. Aldeburgh Food Festival, Suffolk
27 September – 12 October
What began as a humble food festival has quickly grown in popularity and has become one of the country’s best. The well-known Aldeburgh Food Festival will return to the Suffolk this autumn in all its glory, with added pinches of new masterclasses, a dedicated zone for all start-up businesses to learn tricks of the trade, and even a bakery festival . There will also be a kid’s only zone for all the little future masterchefs. As usual, the festival will be celebrating and cooking up a concoction of various fringe events to celebrate Suffolk produce, the land and people who produce it.
8. RHS Taste of Autumn, Countrywide
The Taste of Autumn Food Festival is not be missed for horticultural foodies. Taking place across RHS gardens, it features on array of artisan produce and magnificent botany in delightful settings.
Granted a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) for its famed delicacy, Leicestershire’s town of Melton Mowbray hails its eponymous pork pies in a Food and Drink Festival of its own. Held over the 4 and 5 October, the rural capital of food and drink lays down stalls in their hundreds to offer all things edible, drinkable and delectable. Not only can you grab a mouth full of pork pie and cheese but tables are furnished with exotic meats such as ostrich and zebra as well as Iranian culinary dishes – a nod to the area’s bustling multicultural community.
10. Wild Boar Week, Sussex
26 October to 3 November
Shock your senses and head down to Rye in Sussex for Wild Boar Week which pays homage to the town’s local delicacy. Hunted to near extinction in the 17th century, surviving boars continued to breed in Kentish farms leading to dramatic increases in the last 20 years. Curious customers can sample the beasts of Udimore alongside other medieval dishes during the festival.
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