With Edinburgh Fringe, International, Art and TV festivals soon to start in August, there’s also a number of food festivals to whet your appetite this summer too. Kicking off today is Assembly Food Festival (19-28 July) in Assembly George Square Gardens, and followed in a couple of weeks with Foodies Festival in Inverleith Park (2-4 August).
Celebrating its fifth year, this festival has doubled its schedule this year. It always marks the start of my exciting summer of festival reviewing and cleverly utilises the venues which have recently hosted the Jazz & Blues Festival including Assembly’s very own Spiegeltent Palais du Variété, the Piccolo Tent, The Treehouse plus a selection of street food vendors and bars. If the sun’s shining, there really is no better place to hang out.
The free and non-ticketed festival welcomes visitors of all ages to George Square Gardens, with stallholders offering everything from Alandas Gelato and Fish & Chips (East Lothian) to Jarvis Pickle (Berwickshire) known for their savoury pies; tagines and hummus from Chick & Pea street food (Edinburgh); FacePlant Foods from Glasgow, who recently took places in Scotland’s British Street Food Award Finals selling their vegan goods; and Edinburgh’s Mana Poke with their super fresh and vibrant Hawaiian street food .
Adding to the line-up is Fox Hat, a BBQ experience like no other, serving the finest meat and produce with a true nose-to-tail philosophy. Their communal and collaborative way of cooking has won the hearts of many foodies across Scotland.
Rounding off the five new producers is the Edinburgh social enterprise community café, Punjabi Junction. Punjabi Junction offers a blend of traditional Punjab and home-cooked cuisines, whilst supporting women from Edinburgh minority ethnic backgrounds.
Quenching thirsts throughout are a selection popular drinks brands, including Fyne Ales from Argyll; Edinburgh’s Pickering’s Gin serving up their award-winning gin in their miniature Japanese airport fire engine, EnGINe 47. They will be keeping festival goers refreshed with their range of cocktails as well as the classic Pickering’s gin and tonic.
A recipe for some exciting food demonstrations
Over the past five years, Assembly Festival has hosted top industry figures such as Carina Contini, Shirley Spear, Tom Lewis, Guy Grieve and Neil Forbes. This year is no exception and five of Edinburgh’s top chefs are gearing up to showcase their culinary flair next weekend.
The exciting line-up of free, non-ticketed chef demonstrations include the very charming, private events chef Barry Bryson from Cater Edinburgh (Friday, 26th July – 6pm); Carina Contini (Saturday, 27th July – 1 pm) will be cooking up a menu with authentic Italian-inspired alfresco recipes; Scott Smith from Edinburgh Restaurant of the Year, Fhior on Broughton Street will be championing sustainable Scottish fish and offering his top tips on the best ways to barbeque fish outdoors this summer alongside Lewis Lowrie of Lowrie Fish Merchants (Saturday, 27th July – 2pm); former MasterChef Professionals winner, Derek Johnstone from Borthwick Castle at Gorebridge, Midlothian, will be rediscovering some of Scotland’s lost ingredients and reinventing them in a modern and fresh way (Sunday, 28th – 1pm); and finally, Jérôme Henry, Chef Proprietor of the award-winning Le Roi Fou on Forth Street, who will be joining Barry Bryson in a second one-hour cooking demonstration. Festival-goers will get a glimpse into their social kitchen, whilst they create a fresh summer menu in real time with a hyper-local flavour (Sunday, 28th – 2pm)
Enjoying a panoramic view of George Square Gardens from a specially equipped treetop kitchen, each chef will be offering a rare one-hour insight into their own unique food style and inspiration, as well as sharing some of their top cooking tips.
With quality Scottish food at the heart of it, this festival is a fantastic introduction for visitors to see just a soupçon of what Scotland’s larder has to offer.
Fancy a huge celebration of top chefs, tasty food, delicious drinks and live music?
The UK’s biggest food festival, returns to Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park to 2, 3, 4 August. Celebrating its 15th year, and with top chefs, masterclasses, live music and of course loads of delicious food, Foodies Festival is not to be missed.
Great British Menu’s 2019 Champion of Champions Lorna McNee will be preparing tantalising dishes using great, local produce. Trained by the late, two Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie, Lorna will be showcasing her talent in her Chef’s Theatre debut. Be sure not to miss MasterChef 2019 finalist Jilly McCord as the Edinburgh-local also visits the Chef’s Theatre. Top Edinburgh chef’s appearing at the festival are Ally McGrath of Osso Restaurant and Great British Menu, Neil Forbes of Café St. Honore, Daniel Ashmore of The Pompadour by the Galvin Brothers, Barry Bryson of Cater Edinburgh and Mark Greenaway of Grazing, who’ll all be sharing their tips and tricks for all the amateur foodies out there.
Meanwhile, for the sweet tooth’s out there, Aisha Elani of Honeycomb & Co. will be serving up some delicious cakes and sweet treats in the Cake & Bake theatre. Jump on the growing trend of veganism and enjoy some plant-based goodies from Grace Hall of Bootsy Bakes. Amy Lormier will be sharing some Scottish Granny favourites – with some new twists! And prepare to be amazed by Charlotte White’s Cake and Cabaret demo!
After all that, it’ll be time to quench your thirst in the Drinks theatre. Share a glass with The Scotsman wine columnist Rose Murray Brown, who will be sharing all of her wine expertise in talks across the weekend. Diana Thompson of Wine Events Scotland will be leading the tastings of the weekend, so be prepared to find your new favourite wine, champagne or gin.
I hope to see you there.
Assembly Food Festival
Keep up to date with Edinburgh Food Festival 2019 at www.edfoodfest.com and on social media Facebook (www.facebook.com/EdFoodFest), Instagram (@edfoodfest, #EdFoodFest19) and Twitter(@EdFoodFest, #EdFoodFest19).
Keep up to date with Foodies Festival and Buy Tickets at www.foodiesfestival.com and on social media – Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Foodiesfestival/), Instagram (@foodiesfestival) and Twitter (@foodiesfestival)