Guide to Scotland's Festivals 2015: food festival round-up

Guide to Scotland's Festivals 2015: food festival round-up

Crail Food Festival

Craft Beer Rising, Foodies Festival, GastroFest and more fly the flag for Scotland in the official Year of Food and Drink

2015 is Scotland’s official Year of Food & Drink. Keith Smith finds celebrations of everything from tea to tatties as he takes a look at some of the country’s finest festivals

Stick a pin in the map of Scotland, and chances are you won’t be far off finding one of the many food and drink festivals that take place across the nation. We’re rightly proud of our produce, and what better way to demonstrate that than by throwing a party?

Burns Night is a good start to the year, with events taking place throughout the country including The Big Burns Supper (Jan) and food events taking place as part of Alloway 1759 (Jan). Crail Food Festival (Jun) is a terrific way to delve deeper into life in this picturesque wee fishing village. As well as all the usual demonstrations, displays and markets, visitors can discover hidden delights on foraging walks and participate in the Crail Food Trail, a magical mystery-esque tour of its pubs, cafés and restaurants, with plenty of sustenance provided en route.

St Andrews Food and Drink Festival (Nov) is a series of events featuring the very best produce, chefs and suppliers from Fife. Restaurants, cafés and shops stage all manner of tastings, demos and talks, and you can expect an array of specially-created dishes, menus and dinners. A more far-flung festival – like Islay Festival of Music and Malt (May) is a good excuse to venture off the mainland, and take in a friendly festival that is big on paying homage to fine whiskies.

Scotland’s national drink is no stranger to having a shindig or six held in its honour with a heap of events across the year, including Spirit of Stirling (May) and Nip Festival (Apr), formerly Inverness Whisky Festival, with lots of local venues taking part in the celebrations.
Inverness, Bogbain Farm specifically, is also home to Brew at the Bog (May), while other ale festivals to look out for include Craft Beer Rising (Sep) and The Greater Grampian Beer Festival (May), now in its 29th year.

If you’re after a festivals paying tribute to a single foodstuffs, look no further than Perth Festival of Chocolate (Nov) which usually coincides with the switch-on of Perth’s Christmas lights. There’s a number of other quirky food-inspired festivals too, none more so than the Edinburgh International Science Festival’s GastroFest (Apr), a fascinating insight into what we put into our bodies. New for 2015, Children’s Food Festival (Jun) allows kids (and big kids alike) to discover more about where our food comes from, how to eat healthily and to find out more about careers in the industry from a plethora of experts happy to share their knowledge.

With a history stretching back to 1822, the Royal Highland Show (Jun) is perhaps the biggest event on the food and drink calendar, a three-day celebration of food, farming and the countryside which attracts around 180,000 visitors each year to Ingliston.

Dundee Flower and Food Festival (Sep) first branched out into food in the mid-90s, and now has over 60 stalls, as well as a plethora of demonstrations, talks and interactive sessions on everything from food tech to growing your own veg.

Lastly, Foodies Festival (Aug) takes place at Inverleith Park in Edinburgh and is a weekend-long event which boasts top celebrity chefs, an impressive cooking theatre line-up and more street food stalls than you can shake a satay stick at. Tuck in.

See visitscotland.com/events for further details.

Big Burns Supper

Stars from across the country congregate as Dumfries celebrates the birth of the Bard with a vast selection of dance, theatre, visual arts, live art and comedy, turning Burns' Night into a festival of contemporary arts.

Spiegeltent, Dumfries

Fri 25 Jan 2019

£32.50 (Students free) / 01387 271820

Burns Night Live

  • 21:15 – 02:00

Sat 26 Jan 2019

£7.50–£12.50 / 01387 271820

Family Roller Disco

  • 09:30

Sun 27 Jan 2019

£18.50 / 01387 271820

Hans Like a German

  • 19:30

Fri 1 Feb 2019

£12.50 / 01387 271820

With Craig Charles Funk and Soul.

Craig Charles Funk and Soul.

  • 01:00 (Saturday morning)

Various venues: Dumfries

Thu 24 Jan 2019

Times & prices vary / 01387 271820

Fri 25 Jan 2019

Times & prices vary / 01387 271820

Sat 26 Jan 2019

Times & prices vary / 01387 271820

…and 8 more dates until 3 Feb 2019

Dundee Flower & Food Festival

A delicious staple in the Dundee calendar, with food and drink tastings, chef demonstrations, live music and competitions. Guests in 2016 include The Incredible Spicemen, Jean Christophe Novelli and The Beechgrove Garden's Carole Baxter.

Camperdown Country Park, Dundee

Fri 6 Sep 2019

Times & prices to be confirmed / 01382 433815

Sat 7 Sep 2019

Times & prices to be confirmed / 01382 433815

Sun 8 Sep 2019

Times & prices to be confirmed / 01382 433815

Foodies Festival

Michelin starred and award-winning chefs cook up a storm at this year's festival dedicated to epicureans, as well as offerings from local producers and workshops for food lovers young and old.

Canon Hill Park, Birmingham

Fri 21 Jun 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free) / 0121 442 4226

Sat 22 Jun 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free) / 0121 442 4226

Sun 23 Jun 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free) / 0121 442 4226

The Downs, Bristol

Fri 10 May 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free)

Sat 11 May 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free)

Sun 12 May 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free)

Hove Lawns, Brighton

Sat 4 May 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free)

Sun 5 May 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free)

Mon 6 May 2019

£5–£38 (£17; Children free)

Also at:

Islay Festival of Music and Malt

The Islay Festival, or 'Fèis Ìle' as it's called in Gaelic, celebrates 35 years in 2019. The fest offers distillery tours, loads of live music, a food fair, golf and bowling competitions and even Gaelic lessons for those who want to embrace the culture of the most famous island in the world of whisky.

Various venues: Isle of Islay, Isle Of Islay

Fri 24 May 2019

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed

Sat 25 May 2019

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed

Sun 26 May 2019

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed

…and 6 more dates until 1 Jun 2019

The Royal Highland Show

Part agricultural show, part food festival, part family fun day out, with everything from motor, equine and craft programmes to food and drink and children's activities.

Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh

Thu 20 Jun 2019

Times vary / £8–£24 / 0131 335 6200

Fri 21 Jun 2019

Times vary / £8–£24 / 0131 335 6200

Sat 22 Jun 2019

Times vary / £8–£24 / 0131 335 6200

Sun 23 Jun 2019

Times vary / £8–£24 / 0131 335 6200

GastroFest

Science and gastronomy converge at this foodie mini-fest organised by Edinburgh International Science Festival. Food producers, chefs and mixologists help sciencey types explore the experiences of taste, disgust, pleasure and other aspects of consumption through demos, workshops, exhibitions and discussions.

Brew at the Bog

A day of great music and great beer with BrewDog, the coolest craft beer label on the block, and Bogbain Farm, which was voted Scotland's Best Unusual Venue at the Scottish Event Awards. 2016's line-up included Idlewild and C Duncan.

Nip Festival

Formerly known as the Inverness Whisky Festival, this event now celebrates craft spirits including gin, vodka and whisky. Expect plenty of distilleries, talks, masterclasses, food, live music and demonstrations throughout the city.

Crail Food Festival

A weekend of food and drink events in the coastal village of Crail, with plenty of sampling as well as food demonstrations and talks from independent producers across Fife. There will also be music events, children's activities and indoor and outdoor markets.

Spirit of Stirling Whisky Festival

The festival returns with even more whiskies on offer for the nationwide Whisky Month celebration, offering drams from all the whisky regions along with masterclasses. In 2016 the festival returns by popular demand to the Albert Halls venue, and to celebrate its fifth birthday, tickets are at the original 2012 price.

Scotland's Outdoor Festival of Chocolate

Scotland's first outdoor chocolate festival, celebrating the cocoa bean in all its facets. There are stalls selling all manner of chocolate goodies and chef demonstrations.

Craft Beer Rising

Beer festivals have come a long way in the last few years. Among the most progressive is the Craft Beer Rising outfit, who are based in Londong but have been travelling up to Scotland for a couple of years, finding a rich seam of collaboration with Drygate Brewing. Over two days in early September they’ll help showcase…

Children’s Food Festival

Traders and producers with an interest in children’s health and diet come together for this brand new festival, which kicks off as part of Scotland's Year of Food & Drink.

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