If you’re planning on being in Bristol this summer, then you couldn’t have picked a better time. Early signs point to the upcoming summer season as being one of the best for fans of good food, with plenty of events that will likely sell out with record attendance numbers.
Combined with the many new and exciting restaurants opening up in town, these events will help to create a foodie landscape that will allow daring diners to experience another world of food that they never knew existed. Mark your calendar now for the following events as they are sure to be some of the high points of this year’s Bristol summer.
Bristol Food Connections
By far the largest food event of the summer, Food Connections will take place over the course of an entire week, from May 1 to May 9. Celebrating all sides of food culture from nature and gardening to inventive chefs and exotic cuisine, the festival will have everything food-related that can be imagined. Celebrity chefs will be giving cooking demonstrations, farming techniques will be explored, and visitors will have the opportunity to interact with the concept of food like never before.
One of the features this year will be the continued participation of the BBC. Food celebrities like Simon Hopkinson and Lisa Faulkner will be on hand to answer questions and give more insight into what happens behind the scenes on popular BBC food programming. Live television and radio programmes will also bring the message from Bristol to a wider audience.
In total, there will be an impressive 130 events that make up the bulk of the festival’s activities. These events are divided into six main categories: Wellbeing, Get Cooking, Families, Land and Growing, Feasting and Festivities, and Brain Food. One event that’s already getting a decent amount of buzz is the Gastropubs Dinner, a one-night event that highlights the emerging gastropub culture with four of the biggest names in the genre: The Pipe and Glass, The Sportsman, The Hardwick, and The Pony and Trap.
With a price of £70 per ticket, the event may be relatively expensive in comparison to others, but the food being served will surely be some of the best. Other events that will certainly be big hits include the Pickle Shack Community Feast, Chew Valley Sunday Roast, and Supper Sense, a meal served to blindfolded customers to focus their attention on the different tastes they experience.
More than just a celebration of current food trends and tasty bites, Food Connections also recognises the tremendous work being done by local Bristol farmers and restaurateurs to support the growing sustainable food movement. This radical change in the idea of food is quite strong in Bristol and can be seen in the many independent butchers, bakers, and bloggers as well as the dynamic farmers’ markets that are making it possible for everyday consumers to enjoy true farm-to-table meals and make direct connections with those that are growing the food they eat.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
In what may appear to be a somewhat weird connection, another food event worth visiting could possibly be the UK & Ireland Tour’s Bristol stop, which will run from August 6 to August 9. While the UKIPT obviously focuses on the game of poker, there could be a food element that any foodie worth their salt will want to take part of. The official announcement hasn’t been made, but the rumor is that the All-In Kitchen, which premiered at the UKIPT London stop, might show up in Bristol as well.
What is the All-In Kitchen you may ask? A huge hit in London, the premise is relatively simple. To bring a new audience to the game, PokerStars (the tour organizer) will team up with a local restaurant to offer an option that’s a sure bet for anyone interested in gourmet food. At the hosting restaurant, diners will play three hands of poker that will determine the price of their meal, which could be £10, £5, or completely free. Your price will be determined by how many chips you have accumulated after the three hands have been played.
Looking at the London menu, it’s easy to see why it was such a hit. Dishes like King Crab Thermidor and Scallops with Bacon Marmalade and Salt-Baked Swede are a steal at a maximum price of £10. With the possibility of eating for free, it seems like an easy decision. If you’re planning on going out for dinner anyway, then stopping by for a few hands of poker before eating could net you one heck of a great deal. The best thing is that you don’t even need to be a poker pro – anything can happen in three hands and the promotion is more designed to introduce poker to those who have never played the game before. Bolstered by this and other ongoing programmes of introductory events created by PokerStars, the number of British poker players continues to expand with the game being one of the most popular pastimes in the country.
Even if you don’t play at the All-In Kitchen (or if, sadly, it doesn’t pop-up in Bristol this year), a visit to The Restaurant and Bar at Rainbow Casino is another great option for top-level food in a gambling environment.
Back To Basics
At the beginning of the summer, Love Food Festival’s event at Kings Weston House in North Bristol may be a sleepier choice with an absolute ton of value for those looking to learn more about the food they eat on a regular basis. With equal focus on local children and adults, the goal of the Love Food Festival is to bring more awareness of the basics of food consumption in the Bristol area.
Kings Weston House is spectacular enough for a visit anytime, but the Love Food Festival gives the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. With more than 28 acres of land, the Grade 1 Georgian mansion has sprawling fields to explore as well as numerous buildings in addition to the main house. The Brewhouse and Shirehampton Lodge are two of the highlights, but a visitor will find visiting the Kings Weston House an all-day affair, made even that much better with gourmet food being an integral part.
Attended by teachers, farmers, chefs, and others involved in the food industry, Love Food Fest has an educational angle that is bound to inspire each and every attendee. Festival-goers will have the chance to taste food as well as learn about the process by which that food ends up on their table through the use of storytelling, art, and discussions with local experts. By understanding better the connection between food suppliers and the end eater, a person will be better equipped to make intelligent decisions when facing the enormous selection presented by massive supermarkets and grocery stores.
Whatever your food fancy, there’s sure to be an event in Bristol this summer to meet your particular tastes. It’s no secret that Bristol is quickly becoming a major foodie stop in the U.K., with a wide diversity of cuisine and a slow food movement that is inspiring other parts of the country to stop and take notice. Stay tuned to these pages to learn more about upcoming food events and how you can savour the many different tastes of Bristol.