Spring is here (so we’re told) and with it comes our pick of the coming month’s foodie festivals…
Alchemy Festival – Flavours of India
Date 12th-21st April 2013
Location Southbank Centre Square, London
This vibrant festival celebrates the diversity of the Indian culinary spectrum, and also sets out to challenge preconceived ideas about what Indian cuisine is. Here you’ll find top chefs demonstrating its Michelin-star potential, alongside the best examples of authentic regional street food. Look out for Dosa Deli, The Peckish Peacock, Bhangra Burger, Brindian and Café Spice Namaste amongst many others.
The Alchemy Festival will take you far beyond Brick Lane, and will offer a world of entertainment all within Southbank Centre Square. Fashion, jewellery, arts and crafts are all at visitors’ fingertips, as well as cooking demos, beer and curry pairing, Carrom playing and henna artists. Look forward to performances from Susheela Raman, Hariharan, Anoushka Shankar, as well as circus and aerial shows from the Daksha Sheth Dance Company, and plenty of rising stars thrown into the mix, too.
East of England Food Festival
Date 13th-14th April 2013
Location Knebworth House, Hertfordshire
Now in its fourth year, the East of England Food Festival is a fine foodie event held in Hertfordshire’s stunning Knebworth House. Expect arts and crafts aplenty, as well as delicious foods and cookery demonstrations from the likes of multi-award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. Open from 10am until 5pm, this festival will also offer wine and beer tasting sessions. Tickets also include entrance to the gardens, park, dinosaur trail and adventure playground – all of which adds up to a day out in itself.
Porthleven Food & Music Festival
Date 20th April 2013
Location Porthleven Harbour, Cornwall
This quaint Cornish fishing town is home to the charming Portleven Food & Music Festival. With its 80-odd stalls and numerous other attractions, it has attracted over 10,000 visitors in the past and this year looks set to be no different. In the chefs’ theatre this year, you’ll find chefs such as Antony Worrall Thompson and Jack Stein demonstrating their superb skills. Given that this year’s festival theme is ‘sourced from the sea’, chosen in celebration of the role of the sea in the town’s heritage, you can expect lots of lovely seafood masterpieces. Then there’s the music. On the Salt Cellar stage, the likes of Polly Money, and Moonlet and The Love Monks will be playing for your listening pleasure. Meanwhile on the Lime Kiln stage, you’ll discover The Oggymen and also Lily and Meg amongst others, and in the main marquee, aural treats will include rockabilly band The Coyotes. There’s loads on for youngsters too, including music and dance performances, theatre workshops, bouncy castles and stalls.
London Coffee Festival
Date 25th-28th April 2013
Location The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
Coffee addicts in the capital would be mad to miss this. World-class barista demonstrations, a cutting edge lab running a programme of interactive workshops, talks, theatre and ethical debates, and lots more. All the experts will be in attendance, sharing their knowledge of coffee art and coffee science no less, as well as all the latest brewing techniques, and tips on setting up your own coffee shop. Visitors can sample what a brew from the 1930s or 1940s would have tasted like and learn about the history of the espresso machine thanks to La Cimbali, the world’s largest manufacturer of espresso and cappuccino machines (also the lead partner of the festival). The Make Decent Coffee Lounge (does exactly what it says on the tin), the UK barista championships and The Roastery are sure to entertain too. And don’t worry, you won’t go hungry, with cracking street food on offer and an artisan market offering gourmet nibbles. Music from Tom Moon, Larissa Eddie, Kadija Kamara and others will provide the perfect soundtrack, and there will be art inspired by hit 90s TV series Twin Peaks, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink
Date 26th-28th April 2013
Location Exeter Castle & Northernhay Gardens, Exeter
Taking place over three days, the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is a popular event with a top line-up of chefs including Michael Caines MBE, Nathan Outlaw, Lesley Waters, Sam Moody and Mat Follas. Very much a family event, the festival encourages mini foodies in The Little Cookies area – where bake-off competitions and workshops will be taking place. Children will also have the opportunity to meet author Michael Morpurgo, who is founder of the official festival charity Farms for City Children, on Friday 26th April between 2pm and 4pm. He’ll be giving out signed book plates and talking to visitors in the activity area. Pop-up restaurants, an allotment competition, cream teas and ‘fresh at the festival’ – which will showcase brand new exhibitors – all add to the draw of this event. Offerings after dark include chef demos and live music from local artists such as Adam Isaac, Leigh Coleman, and Mama Stone’s house band. Of course, the real stars of the show can be found in the food and drink pavilions. Here, over 100 farmers, fishermen, cheesemakers, winemakers, brewers, cidermakers, and artisan producers will be displaying their wares.