The best UK food festivals and pop-ups: April 2016

Check out our round-up of the best UK food festivals and events in April 2016, from a cheese festival in Melton Mowbray to the buzz at London Coffee Festival

The London Coffee Festival


New-wave coffee shops are popping up across the country as Brits become ever-more artisan coffee-obsessed. Get involved in the trend by kicking off UK Coffee Week at the London Coffee Festival. Based at Shoreditch’s Truman Brewery this is set to be densely packed with hand-crafted coffee producers and expert baristas. Sip on espresso martinis, espresso-infused Old Fashioneds, and other coffee-based cocktails at La Marzocco’s True Artisan Café or Volcano Coffee Works Nitro Cold Brew Bar. Watch the heated Coffee Masters Competition or try an interactive coffee-pairing menu at The House of Coffee & Co. Can’t make it to Shoreditch? At designated coffee zones across the capital you can enjoy live DJs, coffee cocktails and espresso master classes.   

7 – 10 April, London 


Artisan Cheese Festival 

A whole weekend dedicated to cheese is promised at this Melton Mowbray event. Over 50 cheesemakers from across the country will gather in an old cattle market offering visitors the chance to try farmhouse cheddars, British blues and Somerset Brie. A Cheese Theatre will host masterclasses, including chef David Ferguson’s tips on cooking with cheese and an insight into Britain’s favourite blue courtesy of the Stilton Cheesemakers’ Association. There will be plenty of food on offer besides cheese – craft beers and cider, gin and wine, chutneys and cakes, and, of course, Melton Mowbray pork pies – with a ukelele band and Morris dancers on hand for entertainment.  

30 April – 1 May, Leicestershire


Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink

Held in the courtyard and gardens of the city’s iconic castle, this Devon festival celebrates producers, chefs and independent businesses from the South West. Graze on snacks from Truly Treats, Tom’s Pies and Portlebay Popcorn, then head to the cookery theatre for masterclasses and head-to-head cook-offs before taking part in pizza- and sausage-making classes. Festivities continue into the evening with a fringe music festival, Festival After Dark Music Festivals (21 – 23 April). Enjoy live music while you graze on street food and drink local brews from Ashridge Cider, Exeter Brewery and Luscombe Drinks.

22 – 24 April, Exeter


Porthleven Food Festival   

A seaside food festival at its best, Porthleven will showcase food and chefs from the local area with a series of cook-offs and workshops. The weekend will see the harbour come alive with craft food and street food stalls. Many of the best-known local chefs will be participating, including Rick Stein, set to host a seafood master class. Local music and a film festival will be sure to keep you entertained mid-snacking.   

16 – 17 April, Porthleven, Cornwall


Brighton Foodies Festival

Every year Brighton’s food scene seems to burn ever brighter so it’s little surprise that one of the country’s biggest food festivals should touch down in the East Sussex city. Setting up stall in Hove Lawns over the Bank Holiday weekend this vast culinary gathering promises dedicated Beer and Wine Theatres (expect tastings and food-pairing workshops) and a specialist Chilli Food Market for spice-lovers. New this year, a Tasting Theatre will also demonstrate trends such as raw food, Japanese soul and vegan cooking, while hands-on events range from oyster-shucking and mushroom foraging to bee-keeping. There’s plenty of eating to be done, too. Pop-up restaurants include those from the Galvin Brothers, Sam’s of Brighton and The Breakfast Club.

30 April – 2 May, Brighton


Icelandic residency at Carousel, London

Iceland is the place to be this year for foodie travel but, if you can’t get over there, local chef Gísli Matthías Auðunsson is bringing his contemporary Icelandic cooking to London, with a 12-day residency at Carousel in Marylebone. Gísli uses the best local produce to bring the country’s culinary traditions to life and his eight-course menu at Carousel will introduce you to some surprising Icelandic flavours. Think double-smoked lamb with buttermilk and nutmeg, Arctic char smoked in sheep’s dung (yes, that’s right!) and skyr with oats and sorrel.

29 March – 9 April carousel-london.com.

ITALOT Adam Rawson Sardinian pop-up at Palm 2, Clapton

Adam Rawson, former head chef of Pachamama and YBF Chef of 2015, has been travelling the best foodie destinations such as the Basque Country, Morocco and Croatia, to bring back inspiration for his tasting menus at pop-ups across London. His next venture, ITALOT, at Palm 2 in Clapton, is all about Sardinian food and produce. This menu focuses on the sea: charred langoustine with rosemary smoked aubergine and lardo; smoked roe, tomato and green olive baby gnocchi; and baby squid with black chickpeas, raisins and balsamic.

Smoked pork belly adds a bit of meat to the menu with myrtle leaf and pine nut pesto. If that’s not enough to tempt you, there will be two desserts ­– Sardinian biscuit with apricot and milk ice cream, and pecorino semi freddo with pretty strawberry and nasturtium. Typical Sardinian wines and the local myrtle berry liqueur will accompany this eight-course menu. 

15 April adamrawsonlondon.com

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