Our seventh annual St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival, organised by the St Albans City and District Council, came to a close this week, ending with an awards ceremony held at the lovely Lakeside Restaurant in St Michael’s Manor Hotel. The Festival brought together and showcased some of our very best restaurants, cafés, bars, local producers, pubs, takeaways and family-friendly venues – and also welcomed some of the district’s newcomers into the vibrant and ever-growing food and drink-filled local landscape. The Festival event calendar was packed, with events ranging from delicious wine and beer tastings, a paella afternoon in a Harpenden pub, and charity events galore thanks to a Mayoral Tasting Evening supported by many local chefs, and a very relaxed Macmillan Tea Party.
Sunday saw many of our local foodie businesses, as part of the twelve day-long Festival, take over St Peter’s Street for the Festival Finale, offering hungry crowds a taste of some of the very good things on offer around the City. The sun was shining and the centre of St Albans packed with families.
Some of my favourites from the day included lobster rolls from newcomer Phil Thompson at Thompson@Darcy’s, the ‘St Albans Burger’ by The Snug Bar, and pulled pork rolls courtesy of Kashu Street Food. Cupcakes and sweet treats a plenty were on show, too, from local favourites including Heaven is a Cupcake, The Bakehouse and more. I loved the focal point of the live kitchen, with food demonstrations taking place throughout the day, and the fully seated ‘pop-up’ in the city centre enthusiastically hosted by local restaurateur Andrei Lussmann and his team from Lussmanns Fish and Grill – find out more about the Best Local Restaurant category winner in my piece, here. Neighbouring Harpenden, too, enjoyed its share of the spotlight, with a very entertaining and lively ‘street food’ festival the Sunday before, with their own Godfrey’s Fish and Chips taking home the Best Takeaway award for 2014.
Here’s a full list of the Food Festival 2014 Awards Winners with links to their websites so you can explore them for yourselves. Hopefully they will inspire you to visit here soon!
St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival Award Winners 2014
Best Independent Food/Drink Shop
Best Local Producer
Best Local Restaurant
Most Family Friendly Venue
Festival brochure in hand, I enjoyed visiting some of my favourite places to eat within St Albans and there are also plenty of new places to explore, which I’ll be writing about very soon in my new series Lunch@ – watch this space!
The beautiful Roman city of St Albans is always worth a visit, but if you’re looking for a specific reason, I’d highly recommend a visit to our growing Christmas Markets, held for their second year in the grounds of the Cathedral and Abbey of St Albans, from 27th November to 21st December. I’ll be there with my rum hot chocolate in hand!