The St Albans Food Festival has started!!

Food and Drink Festival 2013

The 2013 St Albans Food and Drink Festival has started! It will run until Sunday 6th October, and I have some dates for your diary. You can pick up a Festival brochure in the Town Hall Information Centre as well as in many local cafes, bars and restaurants.

FESTIVAL FINALE DAY

The main event is the Festival Finale Day on Sunday 6th October, when St Peters Street will host the largest farmer’s market of the year. Local producers, cafes, restaurants and pubs set up pop-up stalls too, so you can buy breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and stock up on delicious food. The last few years have seen perfect warm Autumn days, with a packed town centre so fingers crossed for another fantastic day, showcasing the best of our local food. The Cookery Demonstration theatre was good fun last year; we have not been told yet who is appearing, but in previous years I have watched demonstrations from Mokoko bartenders and local chefs. Time: 10am-6pm.

CAMRA BEER FESTIVAL

Is on until Sunday! This hugely popular homage to real ale takes place over the weekend at the Alban Arena. You will be able to try up to 350 British real ales (count ’em!), including festival specials. Admission varies but is a max £4 over the weekend and there is packed program of live music and a quiz for true beer experts. Open 11am-11pm.

GOURMET NIGHT

Monday 30th September

You need to be quick to get the last tickets for this fab evening as it is on Monday 30th September. Held at the very smart Poggenpohl showroom on London Road, this is a fantastic opportunity to see the owners and chefs from some of our leading restaurants in action. Ruth Hurren (Darcy’s), Andrei Lussmann (Lussmann’s) and George Fredenham (The Foragers at The Verulam Arms) will be each cooking part of a 3-course dinner that guests will be able to try. Each of these restaurants is at the top of their game and are in the latest edition of the Waitrose Good Food Guide (2014) alongside L’Enclume and The Fat Duck; we are very lucky to have them in our local area. Tommy Forrester is the amazingly talented chef from The Foragers and he will be cooking the main course alongside George. What they cook will be completely dependent on what they forage or catch that day, which sounds intriguing!  Award-winning Independent Flagship Wines will provide welcome drinks. There will also be an auction with proceeds going to the Mayor’s charity “The Living Room”. Tickets are £20 and are available from the Tourist Info Centre. The evening starts at 7 with drinks for a 7.30 start – you won’t want to miss any courses!

FOOD SMILES

Saturday 28th September 1.30-5.30pm

Do you grow your own vegetables and fruit, or would love to know more about how? Allotments in St Albans are hot property, so I know there are devoted growers out there! This is a chance to meet local producers, allotment keepers, farmers and like-minded people and find out more about the national Food Smiles scheme, and how to take part locally.

 

Lower Hall, Dagnall Street Baptist Church

 

FOODIE CUPCAKE CLASS

Wednesday 2nd October 7-9pm

Last year’s Local Gem award-winner Heaven is a Cupcake will be hosting a one-off Cupcake Class at the Jubilee Centre on Catherine Street. You will learn how to make gorgeous cupcakes, and take them home with you. The cost is £30 per person. To book email mail@heavenisacupcake.net.

 

YOUNG CHEF OF THE YEAR

A reminder for any 14-16 year olds out there who are a whizz in the kitchen. This is a wonderful opportunity to get some recognition for your skills. Oaklands College will host the final of the competition on Saturday 5th October, and Young Chefs can cook either a starter, main course or pud. You need to enter before the day for shortlisting: email khaled.hassan@oaklands.ac.uk for more info. Finalists will get to cook in brand-new professional kitchens under the watchful eye of me, Andrei Lussmann and new judge for this year; Johnny Shepherd owner of The Pudding Stop and past finalist of The Great British Bake-off. Even making the final day would be a fab thing to have on your CV. We will have full coverage of the winners in The Herts Advertiser.

 

FOOD WRITING WORKSHOP

New for this year, I am hosting a workshop on Food Writing at Lussmann’s St Albans on Tuesday 1st October 7.30-9.30pm. We will cover food book publishing, writing for newspapers and mags, blogging, and food writing clichés. Email becky.alexander@lycos.com for more info and tickets (£25 to inc. glass of wine).

 

PIES AND SAUSAGES!

The White Hart Tap has a fantastic reputation for good pub food, made properly, from scratch. Up until Finale Day you can pop in there for a home-made pot pie. If you prefer sausages, the Jolly Sailor is again celebrating everything banger with its popular Oktoberfest Ale and Sausage Festival. Many other pubs do a fab job with food too, and are offering good deals during the festival so pick up a brochure for more info.

 

HIGHFIELD PARK APPLE DAY

Sunday 6th October 2-4pm

A lovely annual event to celebrate the apple harvest. Highfield Park has a small but well established orchard with some unusual varieties of apples, and at this event you can buy apples and apple juice, pressed from their own apples. Last year the apple juice sold out on the day, but I hope this year’s bumper harvests mean there is more to go round. There will be music from St Albans CIty Band, artisan food stalls, craft and gift stalls and games for children. It is free to enter.

 

Have a fantastic time everyone! Follow Becky on twitter @thelocalfoodie

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About thelocalfoodie

Food writer for The Herts Advertiser.
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