Like big name chefs, barbecues, and the best of British food? Then you’ll love these festivals happening around the UK this summer.
Taste of London – 13–17 June
London’s biggest restaurant-slash-food festival makes a return to Regent’s Park. Already a real who’s-who of London’s restaurant arena, guest appearances from Magnus Nilsson – behind the remote and much pilgrimaged Faviken, Sean Gray – who heads up the kitchen at the revolutionary Momofuku Ko, and Niklas Ekstedt – the bloke who helped make live fire cooking cool again, will show London, as great as it is, still has some tasty things to learn. Expect a knock-out restaurant line-up too – this year’s attendees include Bombay Bustle, Freak Scene, and Duddell’s.
Wilderness – 2-5 August
A festival ostensibly about ‘music’ – whatever that is – the beauty of Wilderness is that it’s not really about headliners and line-ups. Rather, it concerns the discovery or rediscovery of the joys of, well, the wilderness (did you know the countryside isn’t just one big festival space?). Still, we can appreciate a good list when we see one – Café Murano, Som Saa, and Smokestak are just a few who feature.
The Big Feastival – 24-26 August
Welcome to Alex James’ Cotswolds farm. Where, once a year, the likes of Raymond Blanc, Pierre Koffmann, Ashley Palmer-Watts, and Gizzi Erskine come to cook in a field alongside some of the best street food traders the UK has to offer. Believe it or not, food isn’t the main attraction. But we know our audience, so rest assured that Basement Jaxx, Paloma Faith, and Professor Green will provide little more than the backing tracks to your abundant feast.
Meatopia – 31 August-2 September
The mass barbecue fest wherein masters of meat, smoke, and fire (and some veg too) congregate to do what they do best returns for its fifth year. We could reel off some of the chefs taking part, but in the end it won’t matter – the best food here, you’ll find, isn’t necessarily served up by the biggest names. Emphasis should rather be placed on the fact it’s a festival where no thought is spared, from the research that goes into every dish, to the sustainability and provenance of the wood burning under the grills.
British Street Food Awards Final – 21-22 September
Throughout the summer, several dozen street food traders battle it out across five festival heats to see who’s top dog in their respective part of the UK. Then, it all culminates in this – a grand final in London, where traders earmarked as their region’s best are pitted together, each vying for the title of Britain’s best. The winners – as judged by Benares’ Atul Kochhar, and you the public – go on to the European awards in Berlin for a chance at ultimate street food glory.
Aldeburgh Food Festival – 29-30 September
Suffolk has an impressive larder of sausages, freshwater oysters, seafood, and Sutton Hoo chickens. The likes of which Aldeburgh Food Festival is proud to show off, enlisting the help of top chefs (in the past these have included Thomasina Miers, Sabrina Ghayour, and Tim Siadatan) to help them do it. Not a bad way to close out the British summer, eh?
Looking for a food festival near you? Search for your local area on Food Festival Finder.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.