THE WINTER FAIR
Setting up stall in Ardingley, West Sussex, on 5 & 6 December this celebration of the coldest season should warm your festive cockles. Run in conjunction with the South of England Agricultural Society, the big attraction here is a market featuring over 100 food and drink producers, many of whom are from the local area. Street Food trucks and stalls will also be part of the festivities (vendors range from Fine & Scandi’s hot dogs to Bocaface’s patatas bravas, Sussex Lamb’s burgers and winter cocktails from the Bug Bar), as will live music.
One of three Foodies Festivals taking place this season (the other two are in Edinburgh and London), the Harrogate version runs from 11 to 13 December. From Murray Wilson and Luis Troyano to Rachel Green and Saira Hamilton, a long line-up of guest chefs will be demonstrating techniques and ingredients (don’t overdo it in the Champagne Ski Bar or Artisan Gin Theatre beforehand if you want to make the most of their advice) while an Artisan Christmas Market, with over 150 producers, means culinary stocking fillers are all sewn up. And, with a Street Food Village to graze your way through between events, there’s no danger of going hungry.
THE CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL
Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year but (Easter-aside) it’s also the most cocoa-rich. Whether the festive season traditionally means cups of spiced cocoa after long frosty hikes or a giant tin of Quality Street snaffled on the sofa, we’re guessing yours involves chocolate as much as ours does. So what better excuse to indulge than a visit to The Chocolate Festival? Taking place in Islington from 4 to 6 December, it’s a chance to learn about raw chocolate, make your way through various tastings, perfect a hot chocolate or just buy from some of the best artisan chocolatiers in the UK all under one roof. While you’re in town, you might also want to make your way to the BBC Good Food Festive Fayre, which takes place at Hampton Court the same weekend.
PADSTOW CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
For gourmet gifts a little more exciting than a bottom-of-the-stocking satsuma, Padstow is a safe bet. Alongside a wider Christmas festival that ranges from demos by Nathan Outlaw and Rick Stein to fireworks and carols the small Cornish town plays host to a festive food market from 3 to 6 December. Art and craft are also represented but this is essentially one for foodies: graze on everything from steak and Cornish Blue pasties to Cornish honey marshmallows, local dukkah mixes and artisan breads and pastries.
ABERGAVENNY CHRISTMAS FOOD & DRINK FAIR
Hot on the heels of the town’s main September food festival this annual festive food fair is a seasonal must-do for dedicated food lovers. Taking place on 13 December, full details of this year’s event have yet to be announced but expect over 90 producers selling cheeses, meats, drinks and cakes. Add in Christmas recipe demos, carol singing, family-friendly food classes and a seasonal cocktails workshop by Dominic Jacobs of the Running Horse and you have a recipe for the perfect pre-Crimbo food festival.
Written by Rhiannon Batten
Published October 2015
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