Looking for food festivals to visit in October? Here’s our round-up of the best food festivals taking place this month, from an oyster festival in Cornwall to lively Oktoberfest celebrations in London. Check out all of October’s foodie events, here…
Oktoberfest at Flat Iron Square
Join traders at this buzzy foodie hub for a four-day, beer-fuelled celebration this October. There will be plenty of Bavarian fun – live music, fancy dress and flowing beers. Guest beers will include lagers and pilsners from Germany’s Dortmunder Union Vier as well as Oktoberfest specials from British breweries Gypsy Hill, Camden Hell’s and Four Pour. Currywurst traders will join Flat Iron Square’s street food collective especially for the event.
The beer hall will be kitted out with Bavarian flags, long wooden tables and benches to allow plenty of dancing, singing and drinking games (beer pong or beer-fuelled giant jenga, anyone?).
Turkey-cooking dominates December, lamb takes centre stage in April and, over recent years, goat has taken over October. As the annual month-long celebration of goat meat returns, try goats milk rosewater kulfi or spit-roast goat at pop-up events in London, Bristol, Manchester and Cornwall. New for this year, events will also be taking place across the pond at Huertas in New York’s East Village and Claro in Brooklyn.
This month-long festival highlights London’s thriving restaurant scene. There are two parts to the event – one being the special festival menus that many of London’s most exciting restaurants will be offering in conjunction with bookatable.com. The other is a wide range of restaurant experiences (think restaurant-hopping tours or ‘Eat Film’ cinema screenings).
To celebrate Slow Food’s Food for Change campaign, 100 Relais & Châteaux properties will be serving menus that focus on hyper-local produce (and reflect the surrounding environment and local heritage) over the first (long) weekend of October.
In the UK and Ireland, five properties are taking part. Hampshire’s Chewton Glen will be serving vegetarian dishes made using produce from the New Forest (expect mushroom served with goat’s curd, confit eggs produced on nearby Flambard’s Farm and garden herb gnocchi).
In Cornwall, Idle Rocks chef, Guy Owen, will be creating a feast using foraged elderberries and damons, collected in woodlands six miles away.
In North Wales, guests of Palé Hall’s Gareth Stevenson can enjoy organic Rhug Estate lamb and Tyddn Teg celeriac with cobnuts and garden herbs.
In Dorset’s Summer Lodge, Steven Titman will be showcasing line-caught mackerel with wasabi aioli made with produce from the Dorset Watercress Company.
And in Co. Kerry’s Sheen Falls Lodge, diners with chef Cormac McCreary can try pine panacotta and verbena financier, made with pine and verbena found in the hotel’s grounds.
If you’re an Italophile you’ll want to put this British celebration of Italy’s food and drink in your diary. A three-day festival at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls, it pairs chef demos (Matteo Riganelli, Marco Scarparo and Piero Amico among this year’s line-up) with a chance to buy direct from from a range of Italian producers; try olive oils made in Palermo and grappa produced 30 minutes from Udine.
A porridge-making championship in the Cairngorms? We’re in! This annual festival, now in its 25th year, attracts oat-lovers from around the world to the village of Carrbridge this month. Participants will compete for the title of champion porridge-maker and there are strict rules: porridge can only be made from untreated oatmeal, water and salt.
Expect bagpipes, local produce (including some of the region’s finest whiskies), and plenty of opportunities for taste-testing. And, if you can’t make it to Carrbridge but your daily breakfast could do with upping its game, take a look at some of the exotic porridge recipes on the championship’s website (anyone for sticky toffee, or Bakewell tart?).
Head to Buckinghamshire’s Peterley Manor Farm for a weekend of chef masterclasses, workshops and local artisan food shopping. Try lemon and ginger marmalade from Larkins Larder, sourdough loaves from Baker’s Dozen and small batch gins from Campfire Gin. If you have family in tow, make a day of it joining one of the hands-on workshops for children, from seed-sowing to Swedish bun-making. On both the Friday and Saturday nights, chef Atul Kochhar will be cooking an Indian supper club feast including tandoori chicken, bombay aloo, dal makhani and bhapa doi – a baked yogurt dessert.
Whether you’re a newbie or a know-it-all when it comes to seafood, head to Falmouth Oyster Festival and you won’t be disappointed by the seafood on offer. Meet top chefs from the area (including Masterchef: The Professionals’ Dale McIntosh and Mark Devonshire of the Cornwall College), enjoy a full programme of live music, including the annual Grand Oyster Draw and Parade, or crack and slurp as fast as you can in the shucking competition.
England’s smallest city will be celebrating Somerset’s finest produce in a big way during this family-friendly, one-day festival. Graze your way around the artisan market, trying sourdough bread from Lievito Bakery and fresh pasta from Bristol-based Little Hollows Pasta, or grab dim sum from Ah-Ma’s in the street food section.
Other activities include the Charlie Bigham Discovery Zone where food education will be the focus. Or, if you fancy trying to break a world record, join in with the making of the largest recorded dish of sauerkraut (made using over 300 kilos of cabbage, no less).
If you want to track down some of the South West’s finest produce, Dartmouth Food Festival isn’t a bad place to start. From small-batch peanut butter made by Cliptop Kitchen to Salcombe’s hand distilled gins, it is a showcase of some of the region’s best ingredients, and finest restaurants.
As well as the exhibitors, the not-for-profit festival will see James Whetlor of Cabrito Goat talking to Peter Greig of Pipers Farm about whether there’s a way in which meat-eating can be good for both humans and the environment, while Freddy Bird and Mitch Tonks will be discussing how customers shape and influence restaurants.
Fresh from celebrating pie season across the pond, Dominique Ansel is bringing pie night to London for the first time this year. Taking place on two evenings, the event is a true culinary celebration of autumn’s riches, with a feast of ten sweet and savoury pies. Expect ale-braised steak and rock oyster; tarragon-poached chicken and ham hock with honey roasted celeriac as well as classic lemon meringue and salted caramel apple.
Head to Norfolk at the end of the month for this celebration of local restaurants. Over 12 days, restaurants across the county will be offering special lunch and dinner deals; head to the Dabbling Duck in Massingham for a seasonal menu, or the Titchwell Manor Hotel for fine-dining.
A festival within a festival, Norwich will be hosting its own restaurant week at the same time, offering special deals such as two courses for £12 at St Andrews Brew House and three courses for £23 at modern bistro and wine bar, Bishop’s Dining Room.