One of the reasons why St Albans is in the Top 10 of Places to Live in the UK are our amazing local pubs and food scene. We are very lucky to have thriving markets, local producers and independent businesses, making sure we are spoilt for good food and places to eat it. Each year we celebrate this at the 2014 St Albans & Harpenden Food & Drink Festival which this year runs from Wednesday 24 September to Monday 6 October.
You can now pick up a program of events in the St Albans Information Centre and at cafes, pubs and restaurants all over the local area; inside you will find all the events along with special deals for eating out locally.
We start the Festival with the Harpenden Street Food Festival on Sunday 28 September (10-4). Alongside the Farmers’ Market there will be an extra 25 foodie stalls and a demonstration Cookery Theatre on Church Green (11.30-4) where you can watch local chefs, for free, throughout the day, showing you how they work their magic.
The Old Cock Inn in Harpenden is holding events over the whole opening weekend (Friday 26th – Sunday 28th Sept), starting with a Tea Party for Macmillan in their garden. Yummy Mummy cakes will be donating cakes to buy and you can enjoy a cup of tea (10-4). People are also invited to bring along photos of their loved ones to be placed on the memory board. There will be a disco from 8pm. On Saturday they are hosting a BBQ and Band, from 7pm. On Sunday the Old Cock is also hosting a Paella Party in the garden from 12, with live music from 2pm.
That Little Place won Best Restaurant in the Awards last year, waving the flag for Harpenden, and they are hosting two events this year. The Mini Local Beer & Cheese Festival is on Monday 29th September from 6pm with beers from four local brewers: Alehouse, Brewery of Bob, That Little Brewery, and Verulam (Tickets £20 from That Little Place, 01582 768925). For wine-lovers, Tuesday night will be a Wine-Tasting Dinner co-hosted by neighbour Rollings Wine. Three courses, with six wines will be available for £40 a head. (Tickets £40 from Rollings 01582 769538.)
I will focus on St Albans events next time, but the key date for your diaries is Sunday 5th October, for the St Albans Street Food Festival which takes place on St Peter’s Street from 11-6. There will be pop-up restaurants, stalls, Cookery Kitchen and music and for every year so far it has had blazing sunshine, so well worth keeping the day free. The event will be officially opened by Reverend Ann Hollinghurst and St Peter’s Church Choir.
Voting for the Food & Drink Festival Awards has now ended and votes are being checked and counted by the judges. The winners will be announced at St Michael’s Manor on Monday 6th October, as the finale to the Festival.
The CAMRA St Albans Beer and Cider Festival runs from Wednesday 24 September – Saturday 27 October at the Alban Arena. You can try up to 350 different British real ales and try to work out which will win Festival Beer. A St Albans institution (www.stalbansbeerfestival.com).