Food Festival is on the way!

Local foodies – get your diaries ready. The 5th St Albans Food and Drink Festival is almost here and there are some key events I am sure you won’t want to miss.

Starting in reverse order, the Food Festival Finale day is held on Sunday 7th October in St Albans town centre, with food stalls and live demonstrations all day. It starts at 10am and continues until about 5pm or when the food runs out! We have had excellent weather in previous years and the festival has been packed, so come out to meet your local producers, independent pubs, cafes, restaurants, and local chefs and have a fantastic day out.

And back to the beginning! The Festival starts on the 26th with the legendary CAMRA St Albans Beer Festival at the Alban Arena. From then on there is a packed program of events including a Foraging Walk, The Great St Albans Cake-Off, Poggenpohl Gourmet Night in aid of Grove House, Young Chef of the Year Competition, and of course the hotly contested Food and Drink Awards. For details of all events and special offers, pick up a brochure in the Town Hall information centre and at restaurants and cafes around the town centre. I will be giving you more information each week in The Herts Advertiser so I hope you get to as many events as you can. Most of the events sold out early last year so please do book ahead. At the Festival launch party on Monday Mayor Eileen Harris said that she thought many people tend to stick to their favourite restaurants and cafes and that she was sure the festival would inspire people to discover new places. Personally I like to try everywhere new, but if you are a stickler for your old haunts, why not try somewhere new as well?


The highlight of the Festival is always the Awards, when we get a chance to say “well done” to our fantastic local restaurants, cafes, pubs, producers and independents. Over 200 foodie businesses were nominated and making shortlists of six was a tough job, especially in the Best Pub category, as we, quite simply, have the best pubs in the country. A panel of locals sifted through all the information sent in, and now the voting is up to you. If you feel strongly about where you get your coffee from, who makes the perfect gin and tonic, or have a favourite restaurant that is always brilliant with your children, then vote for them at

There are some past winners on the shortlist, and rightly so, and also some new names, all of whom are proving to be exceptional in their chosen field, so I hope you discover something new to enjoy. Many people are surprised by the variety of food produced locally and this is well represented this year, including a local fruit farm (Hawkswick) and for the first time the excellent Hedges Farm. Some of the local gems might be new to you, precisely because they tend to small, independent companies, and we are lucky to have them all in our midst.

As in previous years you can also nominate for the Kate D’Arcy award for exceptional customer service. This was established to remember Kate, co-owner of Darcy’s, who was a hugely popular St Albans woman, who loved the hospitality industry. Kate knew the importance of great customer service, so if you know someone who makes your shopping, drinking or eating out experience memorable, then why not show your thanks with a nomination?. Last year Sean Hughes won from The Boot, and was a very popular choice. The awards will be announced on Thursday 4th October at the Awards ceremony at St Michael’s Manor. I hope to see you there!

St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards Shortlist

To vote for your favourites go to:

Best Local Producer

Hedges Farm

Carpenters Nursery

Childwickbury Goats Cheese

Hawkswick Lodge Farm

Redbournbury Mill

That Little Brewery


Local Gem

The Local Kitchen

Dixies Cupcakery

Heaven is a Cupcake

Jays Delicatessen

Sweet Lily

The Pudding Stop


Best Local Restaurant




The Foragers at the Verulam Arms

The Lake at St Michael’s Manor


Veer Dhara


Best Bar

Bar 62


The Black Lion Inn

The Peahen

The Slug and Lettuce

The Snug Bar


Best Pub


The Blacksmiths Arms, St Albans

The White Hart Tap

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

The Cricketers, Redbourn

The Boot

The Holly Bush, Potters Crouch


Best Local Café

Bakehouse St Albans

The Blueberry Café, Harpenden

Inn on the Park

Secret Garden Cafe

Soko Coffee

The Abbot’s Kitchen


Most Family Friendly Venue

Bakehouse St Albans

Inn on the Park


Secret Garden Cafe

The Abbot’s Kitchen

The Blue Anchor




About thelocalfoodie

Food writer for The Herts Advertiser.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s