The best UK food festivals and events: May 2016

Check out our round-up of the best UK food festivals and events in May 2016, from a wine festival in Cheltenham to a celebration of Zurich in London

Bristol Food Connections


This 10-day festival aims to bring the people of Bristol together over good food. From eating your way through a celebratory banquet to heading along to talks, discussions and workshops hosted by the local community, there’s a vast range of events to tap into. Plus drinks, preserves, fresh produce and street food to buy from local producers. And if you don’t know where to start, follow the festival’s Food Trail and graze a path between Bristol’s best restaurants and cafés (participants will be offering special dishes and deals).

29 April – 7 May, across Bristol       


Cheltenham Wine Festival

A festive environment in which to learn about different wine styles (including organic wines), new grape varieties and niche producers, this gathering of the region’s most discerning vinophiles includes wine merchants, wine tutors and wine event companies (attendees include Great Western Wines, The Champagne Collection, The Grape Escape, Vinotopia and more) and works like a marathon tasting. Buy a Grand Tasting ticket and you’re given a wine glass that you can use to sample as many of the 250+ exhibited wines as you wish. Just be sure to designate a driver!

14 May, Cheltenham Town Football Club


Ludlow Spring Festival

The market town of Ludlow, among the green hills of south Shropshire, is on many a food-minded traveller’s bucket list thanks to its wealth of restaurants, delis, cafes, fish bars and specialist food stores. Time a trip for May and you can enjoy the town’s Spring Festival, too. Described by its organisers as “like a beer festival but better”, while there are plenty of food producers lined up (Forest Pig Charcuterie and Hilltop Honey among them), and food demos to watch, the main attraction here is booze. More than 60 brewers will be exhibiting, bringing 200 barrels of real ale between them, as well as Gun Dog Gin, Halfpenny Green Vineyards’ English wines and local cider brewers.

14 – 15 May, Ludlow


Zürich meets London: A Festival of Two Cities

Just when you thought Borough Market couldn’t get any more appetising, it’s launching a temporary Swiss take-over. Or, at least, a coming together of artisan food producers and chefs from London and its Swiss culinary counterpart, Zurich. If you’re dreaming of the kind of picnics Heidi would approve of (hearty sausages, honey and stylishly wrapped Taucherli chocolates) this five-day market is your best bet without picking up your passport. Part of a wider Festival of Two Cities programme that includes art and film events, the Borough Market bash will include a pop-up version of Zürich’s trendy vegetarian and vegan restaurant, Tibits, serving wakame seaweed salads and superfood plates. Plus a gala dinner inspired by the city’s Dada centenary celebrations, with a gourmet tasting menu by Fabian Spiquel from Zurich’s Michelin starred Maison Manesse.

17 – 21 May, Borough Market, London


The British Asparagus Festival

We Brits love our niche food festivals, and this two-month celebration of asparagus is one of the best of them. Kicking off on St George’s Day with a Great British Asparagus Run (a giant round of asparagus will be carted up and down the country to prestigious British landmarks), the festival’s varied programme also promises an Asparabus coach tour (stopping off at asparagus fields, farm shops and for an asparagus-themed lunch) and, for something more gourmet, asparagus-laced tasting evenings at Eckington Manor, where Masterchef Professional champion Mark Stinchcombe will create a special recipe in honour of the event. The celebration culminates in an Asparafest music and food festival in early June.

23 April – 21 June, Vale of Evesham


Sambal Shiok residency at The Sun & 13 Cantons

Kuala Lumpur-born Mandy Yin is bringing her modern Malaysian street food to a bricks and mortar residency in a cosy pub in Soho. Start with spicy dumplings and crisp Malaysian fried chicken with a light spice mix including cumin, coriander, turmeric and fennel seeds. Big comforting bowls of laksa noodles provide perfect slurping material, while beef rendang has a deep, complex flavour and is served on a pretty platter of accompaniments: crunchy peanuts, half a boiled egg and fresh coriander. The fragrant cardamom chocolate dessert is the perfect dessert with sweet, milky Malaysian coffee.


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Oysters and GIN at Shuck, Borough Market, London: restaurant review