Sunday, 3 December 2017

Edinburgh Christmas Foodies Festival.*

edinburgh christmas foodies festival

Last week I got to indulge in two of my favourite things - eating and blogging - when I was invited along to the Edinburgh Christmas Foodies Festival. The Foodies Festival is in its tenth year and is the UK's biggest celebration of food, drink and wellbeing. The festival travels to ten different locations throughout the year, and over a weekend showcases a host of local and national brands, demonstrations by well-known chefs and bakers, and masterclasses in how to find the perfect tipple to complement your culinary creations.

edinburgh christmas foodies festival

I've never been to a Foodies Festival before, so I was unsure what exactly to expect. The first thing that struck me was how big it was! There were two huge rooms of stands packed full of unique and exciting products. There were also various 'Theatres' where chefs, cooks, bakers and sommeliers were giving demonstrations and hosting workshops: the Chefs' Theatre, the Cake and Bake Theatre (a personal favourite), the Drinks Theatre, the Festive Workshop and the Elf Cookery School for children to get involved! There was a lot going on but everything was well organised and well signposted to ensure no-one missed out.

edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival

My favourite part of the festival was walking around the stalls. I loved getting to see the huge array of foods, drinks and homeware available, and it was really clear that each of these businesses was a passion project for their owner. I loved the emphasis on local businesses and it always feels so much more special to buy directly from the people who lovingly craft something than to shop for anonymous brands in a supermarket. Plus look how beautifully packaged and displayed the products were! So many excellent Christmas gift ideas!

edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival

It did feel like there were perhaps maybe more drinks stands than there were foods but I was not complaining at all - especially when I tried a gorgeous Kendal Mint Cake liqueur! There was also the most unique non-alcoholic spirits like the one above - they served the samples for this with garden peas in the shot glasses! Where else can you try things as unusual as that?! Whenever he could, my husband got stuck straight into the food samples and was having the time of his life.

edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival

I loved that the whole vibe was so relaxed; there was a little tearoom to sit and chill out and there were even massage stations for those who needed some extra TLC. We also really enjoyed the entertainment in the Artisan Market; there was live music which really added to the atmosphere - especially the 1930/40s style trio singing Christmas songs.

edinburgh christmas foodies festival

We took in a couple of the demonstrations, including the talk with Kaori Simpson, the chef and owner of Harajuku Kitchen in Edinburgh - a restaurant that was named the UK's Best Japanese Restaurant at the 2016 Asian Curry Awards. Kaori was also recently named Oriental Chef of the Year, so it was so exciting to learn from someone at the absolute top of her game. 

edinburgh christmas foodies festival

We also stopped along to the Cake and Bake theatre to hear from Larah Bross of Bross Bagels. After 11 years of living in Edinburgh and missing the Canadian bagels she'd grown up loving in Montreal, she opened the first traditional bagel shop in the city. As you may know, while I struggle with cooking I'm not too bad at baking, so I loved the opportunity to get some inspiration for my next attempts - not that I'll be opening my own shop anytime soon!

edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival

My only gripe with the festival is that it didn't feel especially Christmas-focused. While there were a few stalls who had cracked out the decorations, the majority would probably have the exact same set-up in the summer festival. The demonstrations at the various Theatres had a couple of Christmassy inclusions (particularly at the Cake and Bake Theatre), and there was a Festive Workshop but this seemed predominately focused on drinks tastings. The only area that seemed to go fully-fledged festive was the Elf Cookery School for children. I would've been straight into that gingerbread man decorating if I wasn't slightly past the age restrictions...! However this didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the day much at all - I still found some amazing new products that I will definitely be putting on my Christmas list, and learnt a lot of new tips and tricks to (hopefully) improve my holiday cooking experiments!

edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival

By the time we left, the festival was extremely busy. It was really cheering to see that so many people are interested in supporting small and local businesses, and discovering some amazing new food and drink experiences while they're at it. Overall we had a really excellent day sampling lots of treats and meeting incredible, passionate business owners. There's definitely something for everyone here, and I can't wait for the next one.

edinburgh christmas foodies festival
edinburgh christmas foodies festival

The Foodies Festival will be returning starting from next May, so check the website here to see when it'll be near you. For all my Edinburgh folks, it's back next August 3rd-5th in Inverleith Park - see you there!

Have you ever been to the Foodies Festival, or will you be checking it out next year?
*I was invited to the Foodies Festival and provided with two free tickets - all opinions are my own and are 100% honest as always!
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7 comments

  1. This looks amazing! I love wandering round stalls like that and seeing all the different foods. Looks like you had a good time :)

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  2. Oh my goodness! This looks incredible! I love festivals like this! :D

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  3. I love festivals like this - I've just been to our Bath Christmas Market last week and the Frome Cheese Show earlier this year. I think it's such a great way for small artisan businesses to showcase what they do and for the public at large to be able to sample things. It looks like you had a great time - I'm sure they would have let you decorate the gingerbread if you'd asked, haha! And, as always, your photographs are FABULOUS! X

    Lisa | www.lisasnotebook.com

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  4. “Sorry the photos are a bit crap” - Girl what planet are you on, these photos are stunning! I would give my right arm to be able to produce photos like this, you have such a natural eye for how to capture a good photo. This sounds like my dream day out, you’re incredibly lucky! The cheese and the cupcakes made my mouth water. I don’t drink at all so all the drinks stalls would be lost on me but I love the sound of it all the same. I’d definitely stop off to have a massage as well! Fab post 💖

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  5. I've never been to a food festival but boy do I want to! I definitely want to try the kendal mint cake liquor, that sounds yummy!

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  6. This looks incredible! Drooling over those cupcakes! It sounds like a really fun day out, although it would be nice if they had Christmassed up a little bit more. I just love a good Christmas stall :')
    Imogen’s Typewriter. <3

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  7. Ahh this looks so amazing! I’d be all over a fab foodie festival! We have small ones down here but they’re nowhere near as exciting as this! Sounds like such fun!

    Claudia xo

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