Best festivals for . . . FOOD AND DRINK FANS

Us Scots will use any excuse for a wee rammy, and with eating and drinking playing such a crucial part in a good knees-up, it’s little wonder some bright spark thought to combine the two. Keith Smith picks ve food & drink festivals to watch out for this summer.


B ack at Inverleith Park for the third year in a row, 2014’s Foodies Festival will be the biggest ever, with an abundance of additions a real ale and cider ‘farm’, vintage tea and kitchen tent, and a spicy food market complete with a daily chilli-eating contest alongside established activities such as restaurant pop-ups, a dedicated drinks theatre and hourly cooking demos from local luminaries Craig Sandle and Mark Greenaway, plus Masterchef: The Professionals contestants Adam Handling and Scott Davies.

‘It’s about a third larger this year,’ says founder Sue Hitchen. ‘One reason is that our Street Food Avenue has more than doubled in size, from 15 vendors to over 30. There’s been a surge of Scots starting up street food businesses, selling everything from Vietnamese steamed buns to Argentinian steak. What’s great is that they’re using local produce to recreate the exotic dishes that they’ve discovered either on their own travels, or had passed down through the generations via the adventures of other family members.’ Another basis for the expansion is the new Ibiza chill-out area. With a driftwood beach and cocktail bar, visitors can relax Café Mambo-style, with DJs spinning tunes all day long to help create the Balearic Isles feel.

The theme of internationalism carries over to the Children’s Theatre too, with wee ones able to learn more about what people eat in Mexico, Thailand and Italy. ‘The aim’s not just to introduce them to cooking, but to get them tasting and experimenting with cuisines new to them, to try and show the variety and versatility of foods from around the world.’ All in all, it’s a i tting focus given that it was the diversity of the Edinburgh Festival that was the inspiration behind the i rst Foodies Festival nine years ago. ‘With all those international l avours coming together in the capital for a month,’ explains Hitchen, ‘I felt there was a place for an outdoor food festival that rel ected that, with some international l avours of its own.’

Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, Fri 8–Sun 10 Aug.


Having championed local food and drink since 1990, the lineup again includes a number of Food from Argyll producers, like Winston Churchill Venison and Fyne Ales, plus, of course, those famed oysters. New for this year is the Whisky Connections tent, with demonstrations and talks examining the relationship between whisky and what we eat, while come the evening, Ondine’s Roy Brett oversees a Celtic Cook-off, with chefs from six competing territories vying for top prize. Fields next to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Cairndow, Sat 17 & Sun 18 May. A weekend dedicated to the best produce Fife has to offer, with the added bonus of exploring some of the East Neuk’s crannies via the Crail Food Trail, with events taking place at various venues across the village. Activities include food art, cooking demos and a dedicated sampling area, along with a confectionery hall for sweetie i ends. Sunday sees the action extend to the harbour, a i tting spot to tuck into some of the crab, lobster and smoked i sh from the stalls Various venues, Crail, Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jun.

SAVOUR: UNITED FLAVOURS OF EDINBURGH The latest in a string of attention- grabbing events at Summerhall is this imaginative afternoon of food discovery, featuring some of Edinburgh’s foodie favourites including Edinburgh Larder, Union of Genius and the Hanging Bat. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore a ‘virtual menu’, attend a pudding banquet, and delve into the delights of Queen Margaret University’s Beer Lab, all interspersed with some social history plus a taste or two, naturally. Summerhall, Edinburgh, Sun 15 Jun.

SCOTTISH FOOD & DRINK FORTNIGHT Less a festival, more a whole series of different food and drink-related activities across Scotland aimed at showcasing the country’s natural larder and the talents of its producers, chefs and suppliers. Last year’s effort boasted more than 300 different events, with even more planned for 2014. Expect the programme to range from the familiar in-store tastings, farmers’ markets to the weird and wonderful, including food-themed exhibitions, fungi foraging days and sourdough culture exchanges. Various venues, Sat 6—Sun 21 Sep.

15 May–12 Jun 2014 THE LIST 19