Great British food festivals FEATURE

The French may think that we're just a nation of 'les rosbifs', but ask any Brit what they think of our cuisine and they'll tell you that we're a world-leader in high quality food. To celebrate and bring together the diversity of cuisine in Britain, food festivals are popping up all across the country. It's enough to make those Gallic chefs choke on their snails.

Great British food festivals

To celebrate the culinary diversity throughout Britain, many towns have established festivals to educate and entertain locals and visitors alike. Listed here are some of the more popular festivals, many of which have established a huge following.

In 1995, the first Ludlow Marches Food and Drink Festival was held in an attempt to draw more customers to the small business in and around the town. The celebration became an annual occurrence in Ludlow Castle and drew more visitors with each year, including many from overseas. The festival takes place in September, featuring demonstrations, workshops, and various forms of entertainment.

The Ludlow Food Festival is an annual celebration of local food, featuring demonstrations, workshops and entertainment.

The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival has been a popular celebration for the past 26 years. The festival isn't only focused on garlic, despite what its name implies, and also aims to highlight other locally grown produce. In addition to the food, there are many types of entertainment, including music, animals, and children's activities. The Garlic Festival takes place during August and is fun and educational for all ages.

Those who are interested in Hampshire food have a great opportunity to learn more about it during the Hampshire Food Festival, held in the summer. Many tours are offered over the course of the festival, and special attention is paid to local producers and growers.

The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival takes place during August, and despite its name it also highlights other locally-grown produce.

Several British celebrity chefs contribute to the Hampshire Food Festival each year, and with over 200,000 visitors in 2011, the event continues to grow.

With the beginning of the oyster dredging season in October comes the Falmouth Oyster Festival, which is above all a celebration of traditional Cornish seafood. The festival features many arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and a large selection of local drinks.

Local produce is also part of the celebrations, and the town's long relationship with the sea is highlighted with an annual boat race. A town parade and other forms of entertainment make the Falmouth Oyster Festival a must-see for children and adults alike.

The Falmouth Oyster Festival features many cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and a large selection of local drinks.

Food lovers, especially those who enjoy cheese, can revel in the Great British Cheese Festival held in Cardiff Castle each year during the month of September. The festival aims to increase awareness of the many types of British Cheese and educate the public on the process of cheese-making. Several markets are included, one of which focuses solely on Welsh produce. Entertainment is always at hand, and some very fun cheese-related events are also included.

A British celebration of fish takes place each August with the Newlyn Fish Festival. The Newlyn seafood celebration showcases all types of fish and brings several seafood cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs. A fish auction is also held, with proceeds benefitting a local charity, and a lugger race has also been implemented. Fun for the children is also included, with activities such as facepainting, contests, and a great model boat display.

Along with entertainment, the annual Chocolate Festival offers opportunities to meet many of Britain's chocolate producers and attend chocolate tastings

December brings with it the Chocolate Festival, which is held annually in London. Along with entertainment, the festival offers opportunities to meet many of Britain's chocolate producers and attend chocolate tastings. A variety of dishes and cocktails made with chocolate are also available to taste and purchase. Additionally, the Chocolate Festival highlights raw chocolate and the many health benefits it offers.

Held in Melton, the Great British Mustard Bash is a recent development by Rosemary Jameson, the owner of a jam business. Rather than focusing only on mustard, the festival includes foods and drinks that are often eaten with mustard, such as sausages and beer. Educational demonstrations and workshops built around mustard are also included.

Each year in September, Leeds offers the World Curry Festival to celebrate the diverse range of Indian food that's made its way onto the British high streets.

In honor of traditional Scottish food, the Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival is held each year in September. The festival includes fish, meats, soup, bread, and much more from Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas. Cooking demonstrations are available for viewing, and many Scottish drinks, including whisky, are purchasable at the bar. Many vendors also have special offers for the duration of the celebrations.

Each year in September, Leeds offers the World Curry Festival. It features curry from all over the world and brings people of many different cultures together. Curry tastings are part of the tradition, and many chefs participate in making the event memorable. There are restaurants of various backgrounds available, and many forms of entertainment for the whole family.

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