The great food festival weekend

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Last year's Abergavenny Food Festival

For some reason, Autumn is the time when food festivals seem to be everywhere. The number of people visiting them is growing and towns, cities and villages are developing this sure-fire way to attract more visitors. And this weekend, there is a range from which to choose.

If you are in France then the whole country joins together to celebrate their cuisine in their annual ‘Fete de la Gastronomie’ which starts today. This year it lasts three days instead of the usual one. In 2012 150,000 professionals organised 3,800 events. This year there even more.

In the UK, it is the Abergavenny Food Festival that may be the biggest visitor attraction. The fanfare feast last night heralded the start of this attraction but it really gets started on Saturday despite the draw of Rick Stein and Pete Brown on Friday. With over 200 stands, cuisines from many different lands and a celebration of Welsh foods, is it any wonder that this festival just grows and grows in this small Monmouthshire town? Tens of thousands will be making the trip across the Severn to join the fun including me.

The Dutch are having an even longer food festival in Rotterdam. Theirs – called the World Food Festival – runs for five weeks and opened two days ago. Although the emphasis is on food from around the world enabling you to try a variety of cuisines including their own, there is a serious element as well as they discuss food and health and sustainable foods.

The York Food & Drink Festival starts properly today and runs for ten days. During that time there will be over 275 organised events including everything from a mad hatters tea party to Lebanese wine-tasting and the science of Georgian cooking which sounds like that old BBC 2 series with Sue Perkins and Giles Coren. To round it off there will be live music most evenings.

In Bognor Regis it is time for The Big Bite Artisan Food Festivalwhich brings together the very best food producers from the local area and West Sussex. In London on Barnes Green there is a smaller festival but, even then, 80 local producers will be at the Barnes Food Fair. To the east of Barnes, the Malaysian Cultural Week is on the south bank of the Thames with any variety of Malay food there for the tasting. Down in the west country, the Plymouth Seafood Festival there will be an obvious bias to the food that will be sampled and talked about, all boosted by a parade on the Saturday. This is all part of a wider tourist attraction – Plymouth’s new Ocean City Festival.

One of the biggest attractions is the Sheffield Food Festival which will be held at different venues in the city. The organisers will be hoping that more than the 184,000 people who attended last year will turn up in 2013. In Gloucestershire, the Tetbury Food & Drink Festival takes place which, once again, will be a celebration of the very best food and drink that the area has to offer. In Northwich, the Cheshire Food Festival takes place and, just over the border, Mold has its food fair. Alnwick will be hoping that last year’s record 35,000 visitor total will be beaten this weekend at it’s food fair. and the same thought will be held by the organisers of the Lincolnshire Food Festival 2013 which this year is in Cleethorpes.

This list is not complete by any means. You’d be unlucky if there isn’t a food show somwehere near you this weekend

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