St Albans Food and Drink Festival returns

St Albans Beekeepers will be appearing at the Food and Drink Festival.

St Albans Beekeepers will be appearing at the Food and Drink Festival. - Credit: Archant

Herts Ad food columnist Becky Alexander takes a look at some of the highlights of this year’s St Albans Food and Drink Festival...

The St Albans Food and Drink Festival gets better each year and I love that so many of our indies take part, organising special events for us - it makes St Albans a more interesting place to live. With so many challenges facing our pubs and indies at the moment, let's celebrate and support the festival - a full programme can be found at the Museum + Gallery and online at Enjoy St Albans.

The Street Feastival is Sunday September 29 on St Peter's Street. As ever, it is free to attend, and there is always a buzzy atmosphere, with cooking demos from local chefs on the main kitchen stage, live music, pop-up restaurants and plenty of street food to buy. The Great Northern Pub are bringing a bus, so look out for that. The Feastival is open 12 noon-6pm.

The 'fringe' events look particularly good this year, with some great collaborations. I plan to go to the Pints and Pizza night at the Beer Shop on London Road (September 26, 6-9pm) where Peddling Pizza will be outside on the new terrace selling Neapolitan-style pizza to go with the excellent range of beers. No advance booking needed.

Have you tried funky new Zero Sushi on George Street yet? They are holding a Sushi Masterclass on September 26 (7-9pm) so pop in there to book.

I love the sound of the 'Bar Bee Q' at George Street Canteen on September 27. It's going to be a BBQ with a twist - it's all about the honey! All the dishes will be made using their own honey from the hives in the garden. Neighbours Suckerpunch and Naughts and Crosses will be mixing up honey-based cocktails and mocktails and the beekeepers, Steve and Michael, will tell you all about their honey journey and will be around to answer any questions. Tickets are £29.95 per person and includes a two-course meal with a salad and one cocktail to start you off. (6-10.30pm).

Buongiorno Italia and Cellar Doors are joining forces for a Prosecco Masterclass on September 27. Prosecco expert Flávio Geretto, will take you through six different styles of Prosecco from Prosecco DOC 'Il Fresco' to Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, with antipasti from Buongiorno Italia to keep you vaguely sober. Tickets are £28 per person.

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Over 18s are invited to a Chocolate Lock-In on September 25 at Hotel Chocolat. As one of just 10 VIP attendees, you'll be greeted with a glass of Prosecco before the chocolate tasting, with the theme The Darker the Better! Tickets are £10 (and if you buy something you get that back) so get in there quickly.

Chocolate is also on the menu at the Plough & Harrow in Harpenden on October 1. You will sample seven wines alongside truffles, milk and dark chocolates with varying intensities of flavour, depending where the cocoa beans were harvested and how the chocolate was made. And you'll finish with chocolate cake. Tickets are £27.50 per person.

Fleetville Larder will be showing food-themed films throughout the festival, such as Bottleshock (not seen that one) and A Private Function, and these always sell out so book soon. A lovely chance to try their excellent range of British and European cheeses too.

One of our secret gems is the FoodSmiles vegetable farm tucked away on Hammonds End Lane in Harpenden. If you haven't been yet, head there on September 28 (2-4pm) to take a tour. FoodSmiles. The 30-plus members grow food together using raised beds, poly-tunnels, rainwater harvesting, composting and solar power, and then share the harvest; it's a great way to find out what we can grow in our local climate. Refreshments are available. It's free and no need to book.

There are many more events including a Beer Talk with Roger Protz at Lussmanns, wine tasting, cake decorating at Cositas, a vegan food fair and cookery lessons. Pick up a leaflet and make the most of it!