Five great boutique food festivals in the UK

When it comes to the country’s food festivals biggest isn’t always best, as these five events show. From bands and burgers to midsummer the Scandi way, read on for festivals that will satisfy your inner hedonist as well as your hunger pangs.

Scandinavian Midsummer Feast

Where? Harptree Court, Somerset


When? 20 & 21 June

Move over Scandi noir. Apparently we don’t want to dress like the stars of Nordic crime dramas so much as eat like them these days. For an atmospheric primer on food and food culture in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, start with this weekend taster. Baker and food writer Trine Hahnemann, Michelin-starred fire pit chef Niklas Ekstedt and others will be on hand to give cooking, baking and preserving demos, spirits tastings and lessons in the ultimate gravadlax while the feast itself encompasses whole roasted lamb, summer salads and Danish cake table. You can even get into the spirit by joining a floral head-dress workshop.

Great Cornish Food Festival

Where? Truro

When? 25 – 27 September

Sounding slightly grander than it is (in essence this is a one-marquee affair), the Great Cornish Food Festival nevertheless has one great selling point: you can find a veritable feast of genuinely local producers (60 of ‘em) under one roof. From Rodda’s clotted cream to Deli Farm Charcuterie’s Cornish salami you’ll find it all here, though not Cap’n Poldark plying a stall of pies sadly. Chins up though; Nathan Outlaw will be giving a masterclass over the course of the weekend.

Leeds Feast

Where? The Tetley, Leeds

When? 22 & 23 May

The closing weekend of Leeds Indie Food Festival sees this celebration of street food, music and gastronomic musing take over The Tetley. In association with Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen, Leeds Feast has lined up a weekend of stomach-rumbin’ street food (Crabbie ShackYakumama and local heros Fu-Schnikens among the stalls), craft beer (Kirkstall BreweryNorthern Monk Brew Co and many more), cocktails and family fun. Supper clubs, talks, book launches and panel events covering independent food and drink are also part of the plan, alongside a pop-up from Harrogate’s fabulous Norse restaurant.

Running On Empty

Where? Across Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

When? 23 to 25 May

One of the quirkiest events taking place as part of Scotland’s 2015 Year of Food & Drink campaign, this collision between cooks and artists sees the owners of a café and pop-up restaurant join forces with a local artists’ collective to set off through the region in a cooking oil-fuelled black cab setting up stall as a pop-up café at various locations throughout the southwest of Scotland. Part of the annual Spring Fling arts festival, locally inspired menus range from a seafood barbecue on the beach to afternoon tea in an artist’s studio. Find out where they’ll be when by clicking here.

Smoked & Uncut

Where? Dorset, Hampshire & Somerset

When? June to September


Four one-day festivals taking place at the three Pig hotels and the slightly fancier Limewood hotel across four afternoons this summer, Smoked & Uncut promises local bands, blankets and hay bales as well as gourmet food stalls, local ciders and ales and the odd glass or two of Nyetimber sparkling wine. How very civilised.

This week we celebrate Yorkshire Day with web editor Alex Crossley (who also happens to be from Yorkshire!). Alex returns to her home county to explore the independent food scene in Leeds including a lesson in British charcuterie from Friends of Ham as well as matching speciality coffee with Yorkshire-made sweet treats at North Star.

olive magazine podcast ep63 – Leeds independent food scene special