Looking for food festivals to visit in March? Here’s our round-up of the best food festivals taking place this month, from a celebration of pasties in Cornwall, to the first ever dal festival in Bristol. Check out all of the events, here
World Pasty Championships
Join a celebration of all things Cornish at the iconic Eden Project, where amateurs and professional bakers are invited to submit their best attempt at a traditional Cornish pasty, or their own twist on the classic beef, onion, potato and turnip recipe.
There are two categories in the running: the classic Cornish pasty, and an ‘open savoury’ category (think pasties with more creative fillings such as bacon, brie and chutney; and beef, pork, mozzarella and parmesan). If you don’t want to enter yourself, go along for the eating instead, filling up on the delicious (and no doubt beautifully crimped) bakes before sitting back to enjoy a line-up of live music and comedy.
To celebrate the start of Great British Pie Week, Calum Franklin of Holborn Dining Room is taking over the kitchen at Sparrow for a night of pies. A cocktail inspired by Sparrow’s apple pie recipe will get the night kicked off in appropriate style before guests sit down to a main of dry aged mutton with wild garlic and morels wrapped in butter puff pastry. A black sesame, banana and passion fruit pudding (encased in a biscuit crust, of course) will end the night of pastry on a sweet note.
Spitalfields cocktail bar, Discount Suit Company, is hosting a series of special monthly walks in collaboration with local tour company ‘London Walks’ – best known for their Jack the Ripper tours around the East End, which incorporate fascinating local anecdotes about the area’s warren of streets, as well as their more macabre history.
Starting at the Discount Suit Company bar (housed within a former suit tailor’s workshop – hence the name) the tours start with your choice of cocktail from the current menu – maybe a Rum Clipper (a concoction of dark rum, spiced liqueur, absinthe, black tea, pomegranate, apple and lime) or a Pinger (whiskey, orange, menthe, salt and chocolate bitters) before heading out to explore the backstreets of Whitechapel.
In London, RAW WINEsets up stall on for one weekend in March. A celebration of natural wines, more than 150 artisan growers from across the world will be available to chat to – and taste with – all in one place. Along with wine, there’ll be sake, cider and spirits on offer from makers in Sweden, Poland and Cornwall.
Following on from the success of last year’s food weekends, Bowhouse market, just outside Anstruther, in Fife, is opening its doors for three weekends this spring. The market promotes and supports local food and drink businesses; expect producer stalls packed with the region’s finest fish, meat, veg and bread, cookery demos and a dedicated street food market (previous events have played host to the Fizz Buz mobile prosecco van, Flahute Coffee Company, beers from St Andrews Brewing Co. and The Crepe Shack).
Anyone with a pulse – or an interest in them – should put Bristol in their diary this month; the food-obsessed city is an apt choice to host the first ever British Dal Festival. A free event wrapping the city in a comforting culinary hug, one of the highlights will be a Dal Trail around the city’s restaurants, cafes and markets; venues will serve their favourite dals with the winning recipe announced at the end of the week.
Other initiatives include an online recipe bank collated by community organisation 91 Ways, and the planting of pulses in The Bearpit roundabout by volunteers from Incredible Edible. Local chefs will be demonstrating various dal dishes at Bristol Farmers’ Market and the celebrations will finish at Paintworks on 25 March with street food, market stalls, children’s activities and music to celebrate the humble pea, bean and lentil.
This year’s GastroFest, part of Edinburgh International Science Festival, expertly combines food and the science behind it through events such as ‘Baking in Space’ (Great British Bake-Off finalist and aerospace engineer Andrew Smyth will be connecting our everyday baking endeavors with space engineering), ‘Should we give up meat to save the planet?’, ‘The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating’ and ‘The £1 Meal’.
If you’re looking for an excuse to indulge while you do your learning ‘Science and the Spirit of Scotland’ provides an in-depth look at the making and blending (and, of course, tasting) of whisky, and ‘Cheeseology 3.0’ will explore the science behind texture development in cheese, which can only be properly understood, we feel, through tasting.
In celebration of St David’s Day, Perilla’s Adam Wood and Gethin Davies of Portland are hosting a three-night supper club, inspired by rural South Wales. Coracle (meaning a small fishing boat used in Wales) is a five course set menu inspired by childhood fishing trips on the River Teifi. Dishes include Welsh mutton and nettle broth; short rib, grilled onions and marrow; and traditional Welsh snacks like laverbread and lard.
Eat and Drink Festival returns to London’s Olympia this month with a two week-long residency. The focus this year is on modern cuisine, street food and mixology, with live demos and talks including Rosemary Shrager on patisserie, Theo Randall on the tricks of authentic Italian cooking, Arun Kapil on clever spicing and Celebrity Masterchef winner Angelica Bell on what inspires her own cooking.
During the event’s late-night Thursday openings there will be a chance to enjoy a tipple in one of the festival’s Champagne bars, as well as shopping from over 100 independent producer stalls (look out for Flapjackery and CLAW).