10 food and drink festivals to visit in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 09:14 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:14 24 April 2018

St Albans Food & Drink Festival (photo: Stephanie Belton)

St Albans Food & Drink Festival (photo: Stephanie Belton)

Stephanie Belton

Whether its sweet, savoury, saucy or spicy you love, you’ll be spoilt for choice at the county’s food and drink festivals this year. Here’s our guide to the tastiest

• World Food Festival

May 12, Welwyn GC town centre

Celebrating food from around the world, more than 30 stalls will be creating delicious dishes from across the continents from India to Italy and China to the Caribbean in the heart of Welwyn GC on Howardsgate.

See live cooking by local chefs plus demonstrations by students and staff at Oaklands College hospitality and catering department and buy produce in the world food market on Wigmores South. Belly dancing, Asian drumming and Anglo-Cuban band Swanvesta Social Club will provide the suitably global soundtrack.

A great opportunity to try something different.

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Hertfordshire County Show,

May 26-27, The Showground, Redbourn

The huge Hertfordshire County Show is many things – but a big part of its attraction is the brilliant food and drink on offer.

With whole marquees including Made in Hertfordshire and the Food Hall dedicated to lip-smacking produce, show favourites returning to the Eat and Drink Hertfordshire area, a street food section and The Oak Tree Eatery, the organisers of the show which attracts 35,000 people are focussing more than ever on celebrating the county’s rich food and drink scene.

Drink highlights to look out for are the Pimms teapot, McMullen’s Steam Engine pop-up pub, a champagne horsebox and Farr Brew’s teepee. And don’t forget to enjoy local made ice-cream from Dawlicious.

With more than 400 trade stands, animals galore, and 70 hours of family entertainment, it’s one not to miss.

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Letchworth Food & Drink Festival, May 26-27

Letchworth town centre

The streets of the garden city will be lined with artisan food and drink producers for this weekend festival. Along Leys Avenue and Eastcheap will be more than 80 food and drink producers to get your taste buds tingling, and for a taste tour of a selection, join the food and drink trail.

Head to the kitchen demonstration area for tips, advice and tastings from local restaurants plus North Herts College catering students passing on their knowledge – previous demonstrations have included sorbet making and cake decoration.

Live music and a children’s fair make for a fun day out.

Great British Food Festival

July 21-22, Knebworth House

Top TV chefs and experts from some of the best restaurants in Herts will be offering advice and tips while cooking up delicious dishes at this major food festival in Knebworth Park.

A highlight is the Challenge Stage offering a range of activities including a foraging talk and walk, a ‘cake-off’, drinks talks and tastings, and several Men V Food challenges (heat, meat and choc!). Young chefs will enjoy the children’s cookery classes. The Artisan Market will be packed with deliciousness.

Tickets include entrance to the park and gardens.

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Hatfield Food Festival

July 28-29, Hatfield House

Set in the parkland of Hatfield House, visitors can watch demonstrations from top chefs including TV favourite and author Rosemary Shrager, The Baker Brothers, and last year’s Great British Bake Off winner, Sophie Faldo. There are free masterclasses and taster session for those wanting a hands-on experience, while kids can have a go too at the new cookery and food lab sessions.

There’s something for all tastes with foraging walks, a ‘BBQ theatre’, an innovative ‘social kitchen’ and children’s games. Street food and local producers abound. We recommend those with a sweet tooth head straight for the chocolate tastings!

For a break from all the temptations head to the Health and Wellbeing Area.

Benington Chilli Festival

August 25-27, Benington Lordship, Benington

Come worship the fiery pepper in the lovely lakeside grounds of Benington Lordship. Spice up your cooking with inspirations from over 60 independent traders selling everything and anything made using chilli, including sauces, cheese and even chocolate.

Chilli plants will also be for sale and knowledgeable growers will advise on the different varieties. Street stalls around the grounds will have everything from spicy sausages and Mexican burritos to Caribbean curries.

If you’re really game, enter the chilli eating competition, it’s not for the faint hearted but great fun to watch with a cool beer.

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Cassiobury Park Food & Drink Festival

August 26-27, Cassiobury Park, Watford

This is a real country festival offering not only food-food-glorious-food but celebrating the countryside too. Enjoy cookery demonstrations and talks from local chefs alongside exhibitions of rural craft.

More than 50 producers from butchers and bakers to cheesemakers will be selling their wares, and don’t forget to save room for the mouth-watering dishes available. Italian chef and ethno-botanist Claudio Bincoletto will return for an in-depth walk and talk on foraging, while dog agility classes and motorcycle stunt teams offer an action-packed diversion from the tasty stalls.

• Eat Your Hert Out

September 15-16, Abel Smith School, Hertford

This new festival promises a weekend of top-notch food and drink. Bringing together a crop of Herts’ independent restaurants and gastropubs, visitors will be able to try a variety of signature dishes from around the county, enjoy fine wines, craft beers and ales and even a gin cocktail or two. There will be demonstrations by Great British Bake Off finalist Ian Cumming, plus live music and children’s entertainment.

The festival is the brainchild of James Dowling, MD and buyer at Hertford-based wine wholesaler Wine2Trade, who felt that ‘we need to really shout about our amazing independent food and drink scene.’ We second that.

Buy your tickets now!

St Albans Food & Drink Festival

September 26-October 8, St Albans, various venues

This festival celebrates the wide range of artisan food and drink producers and outlets in St Albans and the surrounding area.

It kicks off with CAMRA’s beer and cider festival at Alban Arena from September 26-29, followed by Street Feastival – a street food and drinks party with more than 100 stalls around St Peter’s Street, on September 30. A week-long calendar of events follows with foodie workshops, tastings, pop-up restaurants, curry nights and cooking demos at venues across the city. Last year’s event included a Ready Steady St Albans competition with chefs from local restaurants battling it out.

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Hertford Food & Drink Festival

October 12-14, various venues

The whole town comes together for this three-day celebration of great food and drink. Friday is all about restaurant offers, workshops and festival menus at venues across Hertford. Last year saw wine and cheese pairing classes, baking with beer, and kids’ cookery workshops.

On Saturday there are live demonstrations and taster classes by national and local chefs in Parliament Square, plus The Hertford Gin Club will host a gin festival at Mudlarks Garden Café,

On Sunday, the castle is the setting for Hertford Castle Beer and World Food Festival, where you can take a foodie trip around the globe and sample beers and wine sourced from Hertfordshire and surrounding counties while enjoying live music.

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