The festival has started! The famous and legendary CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival started yesterday at the Alban Arena and is sure to be hugely popular, especially over the coming weekend. There are events almost every day for two weeks, leading to the St Albans Street Festival on Sunday 5th October and the Food and Drink Festival Awards on Monday 6th October, held at St Michael’s Manor. You can find foraging, tea parties, barbecues, paella parties, cocktail classes, apple bobbing, mini beer festivals, chocolate, wine, food history and how to grow-your-own. There is something for everyone.
To find out about all the events, look out for the blue and yellow brochure around St Albans and Harpenden – the Visitor Centre at St Albans Town Hall should also have a supply. Here are some of the highlights:
This Sunday is the very first Harpenden Street Food Festival, taking place alongside the Farmers’ Market. Look out for the Cookery Theatre on Church Green where you will find local chefs demonstrating their signature dishes. Street entertainment and plenty of locally produced food should make for a lovely day out.
Next Thursday (2 Oct) is The St Albans Mayor’s Charity Tasting Evening at the stylish Poggenpohl showroom on London Road, St Albans. While you have a glass of Prosecco (from Flagship Wines) chefs from three award-winning, independent restaurants each cook a course, which is then served for everyone to try. This year the starter will be cooked by Andrei Lussmann (Lussmann’s), the main course by George Fredenham (The Foragers) and the pud by Alec Goodhand (That Little Place). Tickets are £20 and it is a fun evening, with lots of friendly chat from the chefs. All proceeds go to the Mayor’s Charity, which this year is The Dream Foundation.
The Mayor of St Albans is keeping very busy, for the next evening (3 Oct) he is hosting The Mayor’s Charity ‘Wines of the World’ Tasting Event, which takes place in the beautiful vaulted Abbot’s Kitchen (St Albans Cathedral). David Gill, a Master of Wine with over 30 years’ experience will take you through a guided tasting to show you how you can ‘drink better for less’. Tickets are £15 and can be bought at the Cathedral or Tourist Centre.
St Peter’s Apple Day (Saturday 4th October 11-2) takes place in the churchyard and is a lovely event for the whole family. You can try some of the heritage-variety apples that grow in the grounds, have a go at apple bobbing, and buy apple cakes, toffee apples and juices. Ciders and beers will be provided by neighbour The Blacksmiths Arms.
Highfield Park Apple Day (Sunday 5th October 2-4) is a popular annual event held in the park near Charters Health Club. Near the apple trees you can try apple juicing and visit the ‘apple cafe’ for apple juice and homemade apple cakes. There will be craft stalls and activities for the whole family. You can also buy heritage-variety apples and their famous apple juice which often sells out!
The St Albans Street Food Festival is the same day on Sunday 5th October on and around St Peter’s Street and will be packed with food stalls and pop-up kitchens. Look out for the Lussmann’s pop-up restaurant outside the Town Hall, and the Cookery Theatre in Market Place. It will be open from 11-6 – later than previous years, as it has always been so busy and popular. The sun has also always shined so far!
The last event of the festival – The Food and Drink Awards Evening on Monday 6th October is held at St Michael’s Manor, Fishpool Street. Mokoko and Flagship Wines provide welcome drinks and over a delicious 3-course dinner we will find out who has won the prestigious awards. Tickets (£35) sell fast for this lively and unpredictable event!
For info and tickets for all these events and many more visit http://www.enjoystalbans.com/foodanddrinkfestival or pop into the St Albans Visitor Centre.