Oysters, Cherries and Liquorice
Seasonal Foods and Food Festivals in July
While May and June are my favourite months - when England is at its most beautiful - July is the height of the season where the food festivals are concerned.
You can't move for fresh, tasty produce. The holiday season is in full swing and - mostly - the weather is good enough for al fresco breakfasts, picnic lunches and dinner outside.
I begin to get serious about jams, vinegars and herb oils.
And fruit-topped cakes and simple fresh puddings are hardly ever out of my mind or off the menu.
July is a month to enjoy really good food all across the country. And along with all of the bounty, it's also official ice cream month.
And July is also festival month. Music festivals, history festivals, village fetes and food festivals take place all over the country. If your waistline can handle it, you could attend a different one every day of the month.
The Chertsey Black Cherry Fair
I love cherries - sour, deep red Morello cherries the best - but there never seem to be enough of them in England. Either the season is too short or I'm never where the cherries are. If you feel similarly, try visiting the town of Chertsey in Surrey, which hosts a Black Cherry Fair that reaches back into the 15th century and celebrates the tasty red fruit, raising funds for local charities in the process.
Oswestry Food & Drink Festival
By comparison, the Oswestry Food & Drink Festival isn't ancient. It was dreamed up three years ago by a bunch of people who are truly passionate about food and their home town.Unlike other food festivals, which are held in large gardens or open green spaces, this festival takes your right into the middle of town. So go along to the Oswestry Food & Drink Festival and enjoy all that wonderful Shropshire food.
Whitstable Oyster Festival
The Whitstable Oyster Festival draws more than just oyster lovers to this small town on the south-east coast of England. But oysters is what it's really all about. Highlights of the oyster festival include the Landing of the Oysters ceremony and the Oyster parade. But if you love art and traditional entertainment, then you won't be disappointed either.
Nantwich International Cheese Show
I love cheese and English cheeses, wonderful to begin with, are getting better and better (and more numerous) each year. The Nantwich International Cheese Show - which has been running for more than 100 years - is on my list for this year. It's a trade show, but open to the public on July 29th, and while it covers cheeses from all over the world, I'm particularly looking forward to exploring the English cheeses ... traditional and new.
Pontefract Liquorice Festival
If you love liquorice, don't miss the Liquorice Festival in England's liquorice capital, Pontefract. Taking place all over the town, there's more food than you can shake a stick at. And much more than Pontefract Cakes, too. You can sample liquorice pork pies, cheese, bread, beer, bacon and even liquorice ice cream. Not really one for me, but if you've eaten your way around it, please let me know how it was!