Crayfish parties are raucous events where Swedes come together to celebrate the crayfish season with schnapps, Swedish drinking songs, hats and, of course, plenty of crayfish. Scandinavian restaurant, Aquavit, will be celebrating in style on Thursday 7 September, with a traditional al fresco party outside the restaurant in St James’s Market. Sit at long communal tables, pop on a hat and a bib and swot up on lyrics from the song booklet before tucking into two dozen crayfish and a selection of carefully curated aquavits.
If you can’t make this date, Aquavit will be offering a dedicated crayfish menu (choose between a dozen or two dozen, or go for a delicious crayfish tart) throughout September. Pair with an aquavit or two from London’s largest collection of the spirit. Skål!
London’s number-one immersive dining experience, Gingerline, has teamed up with Sipsmith (read Sipsmith’s ultimate guide to gin here) to create a series of mysterious, gin-fuelled evenings in secret locations. Part of the magic of Gingerline is that they don’t give away too many details, but the evening at Juniper Manor includes immersive performances, elaborate settings (look out for the swan fountain) and a four-course dinner paired with Sipsmith cocktails. From £18 for bar entry, or from £52.50 for the full experience.
Festival No. 6 has one of the most striking settings of all this summer’s events. Taking place over the second weekend in September in Portmeirion, a small costal village in Snowdonia that looks like something transplanted from the Amalfi Coast – and was famously the backdrop to cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner (hence that No.6) – the whole village will come alive with music, food, drink and performances. It prides itself on being a festival like no other and with a line up including The Flaming Lips, Jarvis Cocker, The Cribs and Kate Tempest it may well live up to the hype. The food line-up is just as impressive. Check out Churros Bros for a taste of Madrid, indulge in a proper pie (wish a side of mash of course) or head to Dinner at Clough’s for a Michelin-starred feast.
The Good Life Experience promises just that. Good music, good talks, good craft and, most importantly, good food. Founded by four friends in 2014 it takes place on Gladstones’ Farm in North Wales, and along with archery, bushcraft and dancing, you’ll find chefs Anna Jones, Gill Mellor and Thomasina Miers cooking up a feast. At the end of the day, sit around the campfire and enjoy a beer and a BBQ for that feel-good festival vibe.
Fantastic British Food Festivals is heading to Kent this month to set up camp in the grounds of Leeds Castle. The beautiful gardens around this 900 year-old stronghold provide the perfect backdrop for live music and foodie stalls. Reza Mahammad will be wowing the audience with Indian dishes in the demonstration kitchen, while the Silk Street Jazz Band will be entertaining guests all day long with their tunes. And if you have children in tow, keep them entertained with garden games and a dedicated storyteller.
Liverpool’s Sefton Park will turn into a foodie playground in the middle of the month, with a weekend of chef demonstrations, masterclasses and pop-up versions of some of Liverpool’s best bars and restaurants. This year the festival celebrates its 10th birthday, and Simon Rimmer will be cooking up a feast to mark the occasion. Buy from local food producers in The Market (look out for Mac in a Box and The Doughnut Guy), head to the local talent tent to see the city’s new chefs demonstrating their best dishes or get a caffeine fix at the event’s coffee festival within a festival (try coffees from across the world or catch the Neighbourhood Coffee masterclass).
A must for meat-eaters, Meatopia is chiefly concerned with how to cook various meats over an open flame and many of the demo dishes being showcased here have been created exclusively for the event. Try smoky barbecued delights from one of our favourite Middle Eastern and North African restaurants, Berber & Q, or taste one of the best burgers in town from Patty & Bun. Highlights include Olia Hercules’ edible demo and, for the first year, they’re allowing vegetables into the festival with Yotam Ottolenghi persuading meat lovers to the vegetable cause.
If you want to up the heat this summer, head over to the Holker Chilli Fest to get your spice fix. This two-day festival brings together chilli companies from around the UK. There’ll be chutney, ketchup and pork scratchings, all laced with chilli of course, and if you want to get more involved, there’s a requisite chilli-eating competition.
Music may take centre stage at this day of fun in the city but plans also include a chef demo stage, a food village and free cookery lessons at the John Lewis cookery school. Join 2017 MasterChef winner Saliha Mahmood Ahmed for a demo before heading to the street food stalls to fill up on burgers, pies and street food from around the globe.
Join chefs such as Time Anderson, Jordan Bourke, José Pizarro and Georgina Hayden as they descend upon the riverside shops and galleries of Snape Maltings, just west of Aldeburgh, for this produce-rich food festival. Over 90 Suffolk food and drink producers will gather to showcase organic vegetables, sourdough breads, ciders and more. They’ll be a vast array of masterclasses and a chance for new food producers to show off their produce in the stand-up area.
In the past few years, over-fishing on the South West coast has meant that the once healthy oyster stocks have disappeared. After five years of work, local volunteers have brought the stock levels back and to celebrate, are hosting a festival dedicated to the molluscs. Porlock Weir will host a weekend of events including chef demonstrations, and local restaurants will serve oyster based dishes. There will be live music and if you fancy getting your hands dirty, take part in the crabbing competition. Get there early on the Saturday though as the Oyster Queen is being announced.
Thame food festival is back and ready for another weekend of chef demonstrations, artisan producers and a botanical gin garden. Day one will be dedicated to live demonstrations from Shelina Permalloo, Richard Bertinet and Benoit Blin, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth, then day two is for you. On the Sunday, the demonstration stage will be taken over by Bake Off competitors Jane Devonshire and Chetna Makan. Why not take part in the Big Thame Bake if you think your cake can rival that of Chetna’s? If after all that food you need something to quench your thirst, head over to the pop up pub or gin garden. You’ll be able to try craft beers from local breweries and a variety of gins.
Guernsey food festival is back for the third year, with ten days of live food shows, food challenges and food markets selling locally produced cheese, crab, fruit liqueur and gin. There’ll be two special weeks taking place celebrating cocktails and afternoon tea, too. Guernsey’s cocktail bars will be offering special cocktails made with on-island produce including Blackdown Artisan spirits and Wheadon’s Gin. On the 19 September, there’ll be a battle of the islands, with chefs from Guernsey and Jersey battling it out to make the best dish.
The Chinese Food Festival is back for the third year for an exploration of all things Chinese. With a food fair serving everything from noodles to Taiwanese fried chicken to traditional soups, there is plenty on offer to tickle your taste buds. Learn how to make authentic dumplings in one of the events cooking classes or taste your way around China with a six course tasting meal (advance booking required).