The rise of food festivals in the UK.
Britain is undeniably a nation of food lovers. Food has well and truly joined the likes of the football and the weather to become a national obsession. Gone are the dark days where olive oil was thought of as luxurious or people were suspicious of sun-dried tomatoes; Folk will now happily talk enthusiastically and at length about what they have marinated, sautéed, par boiled, and ultimately consumed. And strange as it might seem, people will happily listen.
Unthinkable as it may have been a few short years ago but the final of a baking competition is now not only prime-time television but also national news. Cookery programmes have been filling TV schedules for a number of years now and still attract healthy viewing figures – with the audience enjoying watching the preparation of dishes they are unable to taste. But as many foodies will tell you, cuisine is not just about the taste – It is sensible to take an interest in what you put in your body and the health benefits of eating well are plentiful. Cooking can also be therapeutic and lead to a healthy mind. If the food you buy has been produced locally it can also strengthen the community and support local farmers and businesses directly; with less time spent being transported it can also be at the peak of its quality.
Britons have welcomed the advantages of using good ingredients and eating well and across the country the number of food festivals has increased majorly to reflect this gastronomic cultural shift. Food festivals offer inspiration and ideas to take back to your own kitchen as well as the chance to buy local produce alongside gourmet goods and rarer foodstuffs. With stalls wanting you to sample their fare there is usually the chance for us to indulge in another of our national pastimes – trying to find a freebie. Most food festivals will feature a wide range of edibles but some around the country are very specific. There is The Great British Cucumber Festival in Essex, The National Apple Festival in Kent. There is an Artisan Cheese Fair and a number of Chilli Festivals –and if you can’t decide between a cheese festival and a chilli festival why not visit The Cheese and Chilli Festival in Dorset?
Below is just a taster of the food festivals coming up in 2016.
Bakewell Food Festival, 30th April – 1st May
Eat Cambridge, 7th May (with fringe events until 22nd May)
BBC Good Food Show Summer in The City, 20th – 22nd May
The Great Malvern Food Festival, 30th May
Shrewsbury Food Festival, 25th – 26th June
Cardigan River and Food Festival 2016, 6th August
Bakewell Baking Festival, 13th – 14th August
Clitheroe Food Festival, 13th August
Great British Food Festival, Various Locations – Dates Vary