A feastival of fun and flavours 4 Sep 2019
It’s really exciting to be part of the upcoming 12th annual St Albans Food and Drink festival, which runs between the 23 September and 6 October.
As a relative newcomer to the St Albans food scene, it’s great to see plenty of new food and drink businesses opening up. At Fleetville Larder, we are known for our wide range of cheeses, but Hertfordshire doesn’t produce much cheese due to the lack of dairy farms.
However, the county has plenty of other exceptional food and drink products to be proud of, many of which we stock at Fleetville Larder. These include some or our favourite local producers, such as Dizzy Bee Granola and snack bars, jams and chutneys from Virginia’s Kitchen, Dolce Forno bread, Tiki Tonga Coffee, beers from both Farr Brew and Mad Squirrel, and spirits from Campfire Gin and Blackbridge distillery.
Economically though, we are in uncertain times. The food and drink sector is one where nothing can be taken for granted, as some of the recent closures of seemingly successful local businesses can show.
The Save our Pubs campaign has been working hard to bring wider attention to the plight of pubs affected by recent increases in business rates. Shop local also promotes the benefits of giving your custom to local independent business, to keep the diversity of our city. Similarly, businesses need to offer the best product and services they can, hopefully which the food and drink festival can highlight.
The Food and Drink Awards dinner is a night that gives everyone in the industry a chance to catch up and celebrate together and see which of the publicly voted finalists has the honour of picking up the awards.
The two jewels in the festival crown are undoubtably the CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival (25-28 September), and the unmissable St Albans Feastival (12-6pm on 29 September) in St Peter’s Street.
The four-day Beer and Cider Festival, which takes place in the Alban Arena, has always been a delight, offering hundreds of brews, as would be expected given the City is the spiritual home of CAMRA.
St Albans Feastival continues to grow in popularity and brings thousands into the City centre. There’s plenty to see and do, including food stalls, street theatre and pop-up bars and restaurants from some of our favourite local independents.
These are the two biggest events, but for me, the most exciting thing that highlights our thriving food scene are some of the great local collaborations that have been organised.
These include: the award-winning Peddling Pizza will be at The Beer Shop on 26 September; Bar Bee Q at George Street Canteen with dishes prepared using Canteen’s very own honey, washed down with cocktails from Suckerpunch and Naughts and Crosses; The Great Northern pub is hosting a pop-up restaurant for Taste of Vietnam on 30 September; and at Fleetville Larder, we are teaming up with Flagship Wines for a cheese and wine tasting on 4 October, where we will be highlighting Spanish matches.
Also, at the Fleetville Larder, we will be repeating our Foodie Film Nights which were really popular last year. Movies with a food or drink theme being shown this year are Chef, A Private Function and Bottleshock – drop us a line to book.
Look out for various cooking classes, chocolate tastings, the George Street Gin and Jazz street party, and the St Albans Vegan Market. Detail for all these and more can be found at enjoystalbans.com/foodanddrink.
By Ed Bevin, owner, Fleetville Larder
This article first appeared in the Herts Advertiser on behalf of the St Albans Visitor Partnership on 29th August 2019.