Bristol Food Connections is the largest food festival Bristol has ever seen with more than 200 events happening across the city.
It might even be too big. Too sprawling. But its ambition cannot be doubted, as organisers hope to make Bristol for food what Hay-on-Wye is for books or Edinburgh for comedy.
And among the myriad of Food Connections events there will certainly be something to tickle everyone’s taste buds.
The festival kicks off tomorrow with the prestigious BBC Food & Farming Awards at St George’s hosted by Sheila Dillon and Valentine Warner, with a special award for a Bristol food hero alongside appearances from the likes of Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry.
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion forms part of the festival this year, its tipis returning to Queen Square for 18 days of tapas, live music and fine dining.
The biggest Food Connections events will take place over the Bank Holiday weekend, with a producers market in the Lloyds Amphitheatre; a pop-up pizzeria manned by Napoli’s top pizza chefs on College Green; and a 500-seat BBC theatre in Waterfront Square which will see Clare Balding, Richard Bacon, Jay Rayner and many more broadcasting live from the festival across the BBC radio networks.
But it’s elsewhere that sees some of the most interesting activities.
These include a showcase of the best street food from St Paul’s at Lakota; a foraging walk in Windmill Hill; an open day at the Sikh temple in St George; pop-up markets in Barton Hill, Hengrove and Knowle West; food stalls on the walkway over the M32 in Easton (below); and growing vegetables in Southmead.
More than 50 restaurants, cafes, shops, street food vendors, pop-ups and bakeries all over the city will offer special dishes, produce, deals, menus, tastings and events over the course of the festival as part of a special food trail all included on a free map.
Here are a few more highlights:
- Tapas and stories in sound from Mi Casa and In the Dark at The Big Chill
- Mitch Tonks cooking dinner at Hart’s Bakery
- Jack Adair Bevan from The Ethicurean teaching how to make vermouth at No. 1 Harbourside
- Tasting with your ears at the Tobacco Factory bar
- The relationship between science and food with a talk by a professor of physics from Bristol University
- Beer and food pairing with BrewDog and Source
- A Lebanese feast at Souk Kitchen
- Maison Paradiso at Kings Weston House
- A street food festival in Millennium Square
- Panel discussions on making a career out eating and drinking at At-Bristol
For those with children of a young age, there will also be CBeebies stars Rastamouse (below), Mr Bloom and Katy Ashworth.
Photo by Jon Craig