Celebrating English Food
Visiting food festivals must rank amongst some of my favourite things to do in England. And that is despite having a dislike for crowds.
I love the variety of food on offer, the number of small, local producers who arrive with cheeses, breads, sausages, pasta sauces, spicy dressings, spice mixes, wines, ciders, cakes or pies so delicious that you ask yourself why you were not bulk-buying your supplies from them already!
You can really feel the passion and enthusiasm these people have for the food they produce. You can taste their products, too.
England has food festivals to suit all tastes. Some are general, celebrating English food or the produce of one county or region.
Along with their 'featured' food or product, these events also showcase other local producers and crafts. Cookery and craft demonstrations are popular and entertainment and celebrations play a large role.
Just make sure you arrive hungry!
Food Festivals Throughout the Year
I like my food seasonal. There were no costly imports when I grew up. Fruit and vegetables were eaten when they were ripe. If we had a glut, we preserved as much as we could, making jam or compote or pickles and sauces.
Besides, fruit and vegetables are not the only foods that taste better in their proper season. Cheeses vary greatly in taste and sometimes even in looks depending on the month they were made. The availability of locally caught fish and shellfish will vary throughout the year and as for game ...
And this is where food festivals come really into their own. They celebrate what's good and ready and at its best. They celebrate the work of local artisan producers. And - fortunately - every year there are a few more than the year before.
So pick your month from the selection below and see which English foods are particularly good that month, what's worth checking out and where the best food shows and festivals are being held!
Oysters, Leeks and Toffee
Pancakes and Marmalade
Chocolate, Scallops and Rice Pudding
Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns
Watercress, Asparagus and Herbs
Oysters, Cherries and Liquorice
Garlic, Chillies and Gooseberries
Plums, Cider and Cheeses
Apples, Crumbles and Pumpkins
Bonfire Night, Beer Festivals and Steamed Pudding
All things Christmas
Share Your Food Festival Experience!
Have you eaten your way round a food festival? If so, tell us what you liked (or didn't)! Or have you discovered a festival that's not listed on these pages? Tell us about it!
What Others Have Tried and Tasted
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Alresford Watercress Festival 2009
If you visit Alresford, Hampshire early enough in the morning on Sunday, 17th May 2009, you may see some very strange-looking people in the street. …
Norfolk Food and Drink Festival Not rated yet
The EDP Adnams Norfolk Food & Drink Festival 2012 runs from Saturday 1st September to Sunday 7th October and is the largest event of its kind in the UK. …
The Oswestry Food & Drink Festival 2009 - Oswestry, Shropshire Not rated yet
The Oswestry Food & Drink Festival started in 2007 as an idea - wouldn't it be good if we could bring the marvellous local food & drink producers right …
Pancake Day Celebrations 2009 Not rated yet
Pancake Day used to be the last indulgent day before the long days of Lent, when fasting and religious observance would set people on the way to Easter. …
The English Asparagus Festival
Eat your way around the Vale of Evesham on the aspargus trail and check out the famous asparagus auction. The asparagus festival is a month-long celebration of the famous, tasty 'grass' ...
The West Dean Chilli Festival
If you like it hot, you should head to West Dean in August. Chillies of all colours, shapes and fieriness, plus a multitude of tasty things to do with them.
The Whitstable Oyster Festival
This one's ancient and modern all at once. Celebrating a food that was beloved by the Romans and has been fished and eaten ever since, it's also a celebration of Whitstable and the joys of the seaside.