This summer it's all about food festivals. Local produce, revered chefs and artisan products - what's not to like? Here's Grazia's top 10 festivals to visit this summer.
1. The Big Feastival (31st Aug-1st Sept, Alex James' Farm, Oxfordshire)
This is waaay more than just a food festival. Set on Alex James' farm in the Cotswolds, the 2-day party will also hold host to some huge names in the music world (think Basement Jaxx, Rizzle Kicks and Lianne La Havas) as well as showcasing a vast array of the UK’s top street foods. It’s even raising money for Jamie Oliver’s very own charity, The Better Food Foundation.
2. Taste of London (20-23rd June, Regents Park, London)
If you want a real insight into London’s restaurant scene, Taste of London is the place to be. With 40 of London’s hottest restaurants featured and more Michelin starred chefs that you can shake a stick at, this place has serious foodie credentials. With restaurants like Gaucho, Le Gavroche and Lima on site, there's a cuisine for everyone. PLUS there's over 200 artisan producers and premium brands showcasing their best food and drink products.
3. Grillstock Manchester (June 8-9th, Albert Square, Manchester)
With a slogan like ‘Meat.Music.Mayhem’ this is one festival we're seriously excited about. Grillstock is all about the BBQ, with some real American roots music to match. With BBQ classics such as 18-hour smoked lamb, pulled pork and a truckload of daily specials, you won’t be disappointed. The weekend will also feature 24 teams competing for the coveted Weber King Of The Grill 2012 trophy as well as chilli, ribs, and hot wing eating contests. Can you handle the heat?
4. Galway Oyster Festival (26-29th Sept, Galway, Ireland)
Not just about the oysters - if you’re a lover of anything seafood-y, this is the place to be. The festival kicks off with a ball on the opening night before the world oyster opening championships the next day. Expect live music, celebrity guests and incredible seafood at the international food village. The weekend finishes off with a masquerade ball and tribal ‘feast off’ featuring the descendants of the 14 tribes of Galway.
5. Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival (14-16th June, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire)
Live music, great food and talks on everything from wine and real ale to nutrition. Highlights of the festival include the Kitchen Theatre, where top local chefs are joined by TV duo Two Greedy Italians to showcase local food with demonstrations of innovative cooking and tasting sessions of local ales.
The Big Cheese (26-28th July, Caerphilly, Wales)
Trust us when we say that despite the name, cheese isn't the half of this festival. There's a funfair, re-enactment displays and one of the biggest festival food & drink marquees in Wales - not forgetting the great cheese race of course.
7. Liverpool Food and Drink Festival (7-8th September, Sefton Park, Liverpool)
Enjoy themed dining areas, a beer festival, champagne bars and several music stages. The festival holds host to 160 local chefs serving up a feast of best local produces to the hungry public. The festival also includes The Liverpool Food and Drink Awards with the winners being announced at the prestigious award ceremony.
8. Real Street Food Festival (23-26th August, Southbank, London)
Street food is affordable, fresh, well-sourced and seriously having a moment. Just at well then that the Real Street Food Festival boasts free entry and some of the best food you’ll find around London.. Combining the multiculturalism of London’s street food scene with the ethos and philosophy of great food, the festival features real, passionate vendors in one of London’s most iconic riverside locations.
9. Dorset Seafood Festival (13-14th July, Weymouth, Dorset)
Situated in the picturesque Weymouth Harbour, the festival plays host to over 90 stalls, celebrity chefs and some seriously tempting seafood menus. The festival is non-profit and all earnings go to The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen with last year’s donation totalling £12,540.
10. The Great British Food Festival (June - Sept, Various Locations)
This isn’t just one festival; it tours around the country from June-September. With a junior chef’s academy, arts and crafts, and story time to keep the kids amused, the adults can enjoy all the festival has to offer. With demos, cake offs, live music and Man vs. Food challenges this place is full of things to do. Make sure to check out the local produce stalls and fantastic food vendors.